Feature Articles

December 2013

Toe River Arts Council Offers 20th Year of Studio Tours in Mitchell and Yancey Counties, NC - Dec. 6-8, 2013

They say things get better with age. And after two decades, and almost 40 tours, “they” are right. Join the Toe River Arts Council in their 20th year of Studio Tours in Mitchell and Yancey Counties, NC, Dec. 6-8, 2013. The Toe River Studio Tour is one of the largest and longest running studio tours in the country; you will find craftspeople and artists in nearly every medium, many tops in their field—from clay to glass, fiber to paper, 2 and 3-dimensional work, soap to candles, jewelry, metal, recycled and waiting to be used.

The tour is a free, self-guided trip that will lead you to some unique places in our community that is situated between Mt. Mitchell and Roan Mountain. What better way to spend a weekend than to meander along the bright yellow lines in the road looking for the red and white studio tour signs, witnessing cerulean blue skies, dusted white peaks, and noticing the slight nip on the tip of your nose as you open the car door, and the smell of fires blazing in the clear, fresh air. Meet the artists, see where they create and where they live. Our small towns also offer an array of galleries, studios, and other quaint businesses you won’t want to miss. It’s a weekend of visual magic.

The Toe River Studio Tour happens just twice a year - the first weekend in June, the first weekend in December, when the weather’s not too hot nor too cold and the rain and snow seem to take time off, at least for part of the weekend. The Tour lasts three days. In case you want a head start and a first look, it begins Friday at noon. Studios are cleaned and open, usually with snacks and a smile. It closes at 4pm when visitors are invited over to the Spruce Pine TRAC Gallery where, from 5 to 7pm, they can meet the participating artists, see a sample or two of their work, enjoy a glass of wine, and some refreshments. The exhibit is set up geographically, so plans can be made and routes outlined for the next two days.

After the reception, visitors are invited upstairs to the TRAC Arts Resource Center (ARC) for a special performance by Michael Reno Harrell, who will kick off the Tour and the holiday season with his award-winning songs and stories.

The tour continues both Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. On Sunday, you’ll leave, senses filled with the smells and sounds of the season and back seat filled with holiday gifts for you, your friends and family. There are over 75 places to stay in the area, from a couple of motels to bed and breakfast inns to cabins in the woods for two to ten.

To take the tour all you need is the comprehensive 44-page guide, which you can pick up at either TRAC Gallery or at stores and businesses around the region. It lists all the participants, their art (with a representative image), directions and contact information, and five maps that will lead you right to their doors.

Come spend a weekend in the mountains. “Do the Tour!” Experience what makes folks want to come back again and again, what makes those premier artists call this region home, and why aging is a good thing in studio tours.

TRAC is a non-profit organization founded in 1976 to promote the arts in Mitchell and Yancey Counties.

For more information about the Arts Council’s programs and to get more information about the Holiday Studio Tour, visit (www.toeriverarts.org), call 828/682-7215 (Burnsville) or 828/765-0520 (Spruce Pine). For tickets to Michael Reno Harrell’s performance, stop by or call either gallery. Tickets are $10 in advance/$12 at the door. The Arts Resource Center is wheelchair accessible.


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