The previously underserved arts community of Yadkin County is putting itself on the map.
After a successful four-year capital campaign, the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center will open in conjunction with the Yadkin Arts Council’s 34th annual Harvest Festival in downtown Yadkinville on Saturday, Sept. 18.
Although Yadkinville is only a 30-minute drive from Winston-Salem, most people know it only as an exit off U.S. 421, a popular route up to the mountains. When Yadkin County residents voted “no” many years ago to railroads coming through town they literally pulled the plug on the region’s economic development. All that is about to change.
John Willingham the council’s president and “force majeure” behind the center’s development put it this way: “This Center provides opportunities for its citizens, artists and audiences, and offers a place to gather, view art, eventually see a show. It will attract cultural tourists visiting the region’s wineries and travelers en route to the mountain areas, most importantly, it’s an anchor for the redevelopment of downtown Yadkinville, drawing ancillary businesses such as restaurants, retail shops and B&B’s.”
The Cultural Center is multi-functional. It houses a gallery, classrooms, a café, a bay of working artist studios, a courtyard plaza with fountains and mosaics and a performance theater.
Scheduled for completion next year the performing arts theater will seat 192 people. The capital campaign to complete the theater has been dubbed Phase II – Raise the Curtain. An additional $800,000 is needed. A generous quarter million dollar donation made this spring by Marion and Jewell Welborn of Boonville assured the theater’s future.
Painter Jan Atkins of Mt. Airy is at work on a large outdoor mural adjacent to Uptown Wine and Gallery facing the courtyard plaza. Mosaics have been placed in whimsical areas with the Center itself, and the glass tower entry to the gallery is a shimmering salute to art.
The Center gallery is hosting the remarkable photo-journal exhibit “The Yadkin River Story” by Christine Rucker and Phoebe Zerwick. The exhibit runs through Nov. 1.
This year’s Harvest Festival has been greatly expanded to honor old-time harvest festivals. Four streets will be closed to accommodate a loop of foot traffic between the festival avenues and the Cultural Center. Artisans and craftsmen will demonstrate their skills. Quilt Making: The Art of The Quilter exhibit fills up the classrooms. Basket and textile weaving, egg carving, bee- keeping and a farmers market are new this year. Entries are encouraged for the blue ribbon food competitions and entry forms can be downloaded from the website. Live music will wrap around both venues, including the popular Kari Sickenberger Band with members of Pole Cat Creek and a drum circle with Tam Tam Mandigue.
Food and non-food vendors, artisans and food competitor entries are accepted up to Sept. 10 with no late fee. Visit the website yadkinarts.org for information and entry forms. The festivities begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m., including a midday “Yadkin Idol” competition.
For further information on the Festival and Grand Opening phone The Yadkin Arts Council at 336-679-2941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cultural Center is located at 226 E. Main St., Yadkinville, 27055.