Arts center plans fundraising festival for Sept. 23

Published 6:25 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2017

SWAN QUARTER — MATTIE Arts Center is preparing for one of its largest fundraisers to date.

Starting at 10 a.m. Sept. 23, downtown Swan Quarter will come alive with artistry, as part of the Arts and Crafts Festival. The event will include artists, food, games and live music from Chris Gibbs, the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association, Randy Clayton and the Hyde County Ramblers.

“This year is the first time we’ve really struck out on our own,” Director Judy McLawhorn said. “We’re really going all out this time.”

Along with the arts center’s approximately 30 artists with work on display, the list of featured guests stretches on.

Artists who are planning to attend are: Judith Saunders, a copper sculptor from Norfolk; Mark Hierholzer, an impressionist oil painter from Richmond; Mike Lane, an Asia ink and watercolor artist from Virginia Beach; Chip Shackelford, a blown glass artist from Bath; ceramicist Carolyn Sleeper from Washington; Maureen Davis, a Raku pottery artist from Washington; Ron McCall, of Hertford, with wood turnings; card maker Anita Price from Bath; silver jewelry artist Cathy Windley from Belhaven; textile artist Elizabeth Gurganus of Swan Quarter; and painters/carvers Nathan Forrest, Richard Cardell and David Faircloth, hailing from Wake Forest.

“Most of them have ties with MATTIE Arts and are very interested in our success,” McLawhorn said. The center hopes to launch a resident artistry program in the near future with some of those artists teaching classes, she added.

McLawhorn said the festival includes smaller fundraisers to raise money for the center, from pay-to-play activities and bake sales, to food vendors and T-shirts. Children will be entertained, as well, with fish-tossing and casting contests and a Kids Art Corner.

A purely community-based event, the Arts and Crafts Festival will also kick off the first phase in a downtown revitalization project. Artists and the general public are invited to paint 100 feet of plywood fencing at Pat’s Service Station with a 1950s-era theme of children playing among tires.

“It’s a storybook type thing,” McLawhorn explained. Ponzer resident Cathy Clayton designed the mural and will draw in the outline for volunteer painters to follow.

McLawhorn said local supporters, who want to propel the center into the future, drive the festival. It’s their support that makes this event, and the center itself, a reality.

“The arts center has, in its five years now, we feel it’s done a lot for unification of the county, and it’s certainly done its part in economic development,” McLawhorn said. “I’m hoping that it will continue to raise the level of participation at MATTIE Arts with our year-round classes and our gallery, which is there to promote the local artists.”

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