WAXHAW – Participating in an open studio art tour has always been a dream for Waxhaw potter and painter Lambeth Marshall.
That dream will become a reality this weekend, as she joins about 30 local artists for the first-ever Waxhaw Area Artists Open Studio Tour.
The three-day event kicks off Friday, May 2, with a Sneak Preview Night from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Waxhaw Woman’s Club, 200 E. South Main St. The evening will include refreshments and a silent auction to benefit the Waxhaw Arts Council.
Artists from Waxhaw, Weddington, Marvin, Wesley Chapel and Mineral Springs will open their home studios to the public on Saturday, May 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 4, from noon to 5 p.m. People will have the chance to visit more than two dozen locations and meet the artists, see their studios and view and purchase artwork. Artists of all mediums will be featured.
“It’s always been my dream, being an artist,” Marshall said. “When I moved to Waxhaw 30 years ago, I knew we had all these artists tucked back on these little streets. When the Waxhaw Arts Council started, they really came out of the woodwork … They needed a way to get the word out (about their work).”
Marshall and several other area artists first discussed hosting a studio tour about 20 years ago but never pursued the event until after the Waxhaw Arts Council was formed about four years ago. The tour has officially been in the works for about a year, and though it’s been a challenge organizing such a large-scale event, Marshall said the payoff will be well worth the work.
Organizers patterned the tour after the popular Art Safari event in Weaverville and the Asheville area’s annual River Arts District Studio Stroll.
“There are these little towns outside of Asheville that have studio tours where you visit with the artists, drive (to their studios) to see their work,” Marshall said. “… (But) you don’t have to go to Asheville to see good art.”
Marvin artist Verna Witt, who focuses primarily on pottery, is looking forward to sharing her work with the public. Witt retired from the textile industry, and a handful of her unique works reflect her experience in the industry – including clay handbags with belt buckles and clothing with zippers.
“(I’m excited) for new people to come and see my work. It’s acknowledgement for the community to understand there are a lot of artists in the community and to realize we have a very strong artistic foundation here in the area,” Witt said.
Witt also is looking forward to giving people a tour of her studio, discussing her experiences as an artist and encouraging others to exercise their own creativity and appreciate art.
“There are no restrictions in art … no wrong answers with art,” she said. “Probably the coolest thing about art is how it affects you. What I feel personally (about a piece of work) could be totally different than how you see it based on your background. We’re both looking at it the way we want to look at it.”
Organizers also plan to host a fall tour in November. Find more information including brochures and maps at www.waxhawarts.wordpress.com, or find the Waxhaw Arts Council on Facebook.