'There's No Place Like Home'
From Abingdon to Grundy, Va.
By ANGELA WAMPLER | A! MAGAZINE FOR THE ARTS | July 28, 2009The tourism theme this summer for the Town of Abingdon, Va., is "There's No Place Like Home." And art collectors need look no further than their own "backyards" for fine art and crafts of every style imaginable.
Seven fine art galleries are in Abingdon — five of them on Main Street. Six are in Kingsport, Tenn. — four of them on Market Street. But Abingdon and Kingsport are not alone. On almost every Main Street in every city and town in the greater Tri-Cities area, there is at least one gallery featuring the work of local and regional artists.
Following are examples of where you can view and buy regional art.
The Arts Depot
314 Depot Square • 276-628-9091
The Arts Depot, located in a 19th-century Norfolk and Southern freight station, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2010 as a regional art gallery. Three galleries feature six major juried exhibitions annually, 10 or more shows of regional artists, and a special exhibit of local school art in celebration of Youth Art Month. Seven artists rent studios where visitors can observe them working and purchase their art, which includes watercolor, weaving, ceramics, jewelry, and acrylics. In addition to the Depot Artists Association, two groups call the Arts Depot home: Wednesday Morning Painters, who get together to paint and share ideas, and the Appalachian Poets and Writers, who meet twice a month on Friday evenings.
Blue Windmill Galleries
370 E. Main St. • 276-608-9903
Blue Windmill opened in 2008. The galleries showcase regional Appalachian art, from painting and photography to glass, clay and wood. The owner, John Buckland, was instrumental in founding the Abingdon Arts Association, a new organization that promotes the arts and tourism in the historic town. He also invites representatives from arts organizations to meet with regional artists at informal get-togethers. They meet every other Thursday at 6 p.m. "This gives the artists a chance to meet people [from the William King Museum, Arts Depot, and Cave House]," Buckland explains. "I started this as a way to get ideas flowing and for artists to feed off of each other's aesthetic ideas and concepts."
The Cave House Craft Shop
279 E Main St. • 276-628-7721
Best known as The Cave House, it is really the Holston Mountain Arts & Crafts Cooperative. Formed in 1971, the non-profit is the second oldest arts organization in Abingdon and one of the oldest cooperatives in the nation. To become a member of the cooperative, prospective artists may submit samples of their work to a Standards Committee which meets three times a year. Currently there are 135 members who live within a 50-mile radius of Abingdon. These artisans create quilting, woodworking, ironwork, weaving, spinning, art, photography, music, pottery, carving, floral work, stained glass, furniture, and jewelry.
The Gallery @ Barr Photographics, LLC
152 E. Main St. • 276-628-1486
Originally established in 1986 as a traditional photography studio, Barr Photographics began offering fine art, a custom frame gallery specializing in archival framing, and an upscale gift shop in 2001. New exhibits rotate every two months in Barr's Corner Gallery, featuring regional and international artists. More than 40 artists offer original works for sale in the Studio Gallery, while the Gift Gallery sells limited edition prints. Fine art services include giclČe printing.
The Looking Glass Museum Store
William King Museum
415 Academy Dr. • 276-628-5005
William King Museum is a unique combination of museum and Center for Art and Cultural Heritage. Its museum-standard galleries showcase the region's most compelling contemporary works, its historical decorative arts, and art of the world. The Looking Glass Museum Store offers regional artworks and books for sale. The museum also includes a resident artist's studio, a student art gallery, an outdoor sculpture garden, and The Fields-Penn 1860 House Museum. In addition the museum offers an array of art classes and educational programs for students of all ages.
Stone Mill Studios
370 E. Main St. • 276-608-9904
Stone Mill opened July 1, next to Zazzy'Z Coffeehouse. Young artists Kyle Buckland and Jennifer Counts work in their studios, and they offer small art works and crafts by other local artists.
380 E. Main St. • 276-698-3333
Zazzy'Z is a key component for one of the region's last remaining independent booksellers. The combination of fine art and bookstore has proven successful. The rotating art exhibitions last two months, and preference is given to local artists.
One of a Kind Gallery
604 State St. • 423-652-2648
One of a Kind opened for business in November of 2008. It is operated by owner/artist Mimi Kind and resident potter Ed Lockett, both retired art teachers from Tennessee High School. Artworks for sale range from paintings to batik, from pottery to jewelry, from photography to sculpture. Upcoming classes include acrylic painting, pastel drawing, fabric design and batik, oil painting, drawing, and their ever-popular pottery. Supplies are always 20%-40% off retail, and One of a Kind can order art materials that are not in stock.
Treasures in Time
600-602 State St. • 423-968-5713
This antiques and collectible store is the exclusive marketplace in Bristol for DB Visual Arts, featuring all-occasion cards and framed art by Denise Beverly, a self-taught photographer and digital artist. Original photographs of Bristol landmarks and architecture are what makes Beverly's little corner of the store unique.
Benjamin D. Walls Galleries
705 State St. • 276.644.9695
877-98-WALLS • www.benjamindwalls.com
Serendipity is a trendy boutique that opened in November of 2007. Owner Sarah Jane Walls is a fashion designer, and her shop also features the panoramic photography of her brother, Benjamin D. Walls, an internationally recognized nature photographer. His landscape and wildlife images from 6 continents range in size up to eight-feet wide.
1412 Lee Hwy. • 276-669-2448
Originally established as an antiques shop, the 200-year-old log cabin now houses Joyce Kistner's studio and gallery. For sale are more than 200 pieces of art, including paintings, collages and monoprints. The shop is open by appointment only.
James-Ben: Studio & Art Center
129 N. Main St. • 423-787-0195
This art center and custom jewelry studio are housed in a historic horse-and-ladder fire hall built in the 1890s. The gallery features 150 artists from Memphis to Bristol, including 30 Greene County folks. Artworks include paintings, sculptures, giclČes, prints, photography, works in wood, pottery, glass, and more. In addition, workshops are regularly offered in fine art and crafts.
Golden Palette Gallery/Studio
21191 Riverside Dr. • 276-935-6163
In business since 1983, Golden Palette features a wide selection of original paintings and prints, by gallery owner Lisa Boardwine, as well as artwork and jewelry from other local artists. The gallery also offers custom matting and framing, a varied line of art supplies, giclČe printing, and private art classes for both children and adults.
Click HERE for additional locations to buy and view local art.
At a recent Thursday get-together at Blue Windmill Galleries in Abingdon are, from left, Adam Justice, Curator of Fine Art for William King Museum, and regional artists Charles Vess, Jarata, Ollie Cox and Bonnie Jessee.
Ed Lockett's pottery is featured at One of a Kind Gallery in Bristol, Tenn.
Zazzy'Z Coffeehouse mixes fine art and a bookstore in Abingdon, Va.
In Greeneville, Tenn., James-Ben: Studio & Art Center features the work of about 150 artists.
The Looking Glass at the William King Museum in Abingdon, Va., is another outlet for artists to market their work. Shown is a "maple leaf" casserole by regional potter Glenda McAlexander.