A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Weaverville Art Safari with my mom in Weaverville, NC. For those who don’t know, the Weaverville Art Safari is one of the original studio tours in the Asheville Area. It is a self-guided free event that offers a unique look at the artist’s work in their working environment, featuring artists who specialize in handmade pottery, glass, photography, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, painting, drawing, fiber art, wood art and more. This is an annual event that spans two days (Saturday and Sunday) and was my first time on the tour. I was only able to attend one day (Saturday), but the event certainly had enough artist and art to fill two days.
The Saturday morning weather was brisk for our first stop, but we were greeted with hot cider and a warm welcome. This trend would follow throughout the day with each stop offering some sort of sugary treat and coffee, water, or cider, which I was grateful for. As the day progressed, the weather became warmer with sunny skies and the locals were both inviting and very friendly making for a very positive experience.
The most notable draw for the Art Safari was the engagement. There were plenty of Artist to interact with and plenty of Art to observe and/or purchase. Some artist had their work on display outside in front of their house, while others were in galleries or a bar, and many others had their work on display in their personal studio, which most often was part of their home. For those who were operating out of a studio in their home, it was fascinating to be able to step into their creative space and see how they lived and worked. When you start to engage with the Artist and hear about their process within their studio, the entire space feels more alive, and you could really feel the creative spirit that they encompass. I was really impressed (and jealous) at some of the studio spaces that these professionals have created for themselves.
There were many levels of talent on display. Not everyone was a top tier professional who has made it in the Art world, but no one was a amateur. All the work on display was very good if not great, and I only bring attention to the talent levels to communicate the welcoming atmosphere of support for ALL who are thinking about participating in the event. The warm welcoming pillar from this community is exactly what a creative is looking for, and how a creative environment should be.
I certainly saw a tremendous amount of great work, but I was probably most drawn to Ann Hord-Heatherley and Fian Arroyo. Ann Hord-Heatherley is a Figurative Artist who goes through intense hours to create dolls. When you see them in person they really do feel alive and truly carry some essence of the human spirit. You can visit her website here: https://www.annhord-heatherley.com/. Fian Arroyo is an absolute amazing Illustrator. I can not say enough good things about him, I just love how creative, professional, and inventive his work is. I could go on with praises, but my words will not do his work any justice. You are be better off seeing his work for yourself on his website: https://fian.com/.
The 2021 Weaverville Art Safari was a tremendous success in my eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing artwork that I otherwise would not have an opportunity to experience at home. I felt very humbled to see the creative spirit exercised in other mediums beyond my own creative field of Graphic Design. The people of Weaverville were a joy to be around and there was plenty of love and magic while interacting with the various Artist. I am grateful that such a community exists in this world and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to experience it firsthand. If you are thinking about attending next years event then I would encourage you to do so.