The Roanoker - September/October 2020 - 18

the gist

Open Studios Botetourt Plans 10th
Anniversary Tour

IT'S A MOMENTOUS YEAR for artists in Botetourt County.
It marks the 10th anniversary of when a group of local artists came
together and founded Open Studios - Botetourt, a two-day event in
which artists welcome members of the public into their studios to learn
about who they are as artists and their work.
"This year is a real milestone for us because artists all tend to be very
individual in the way they work," Vera Dickerson, one of the organizers,
says. "Having a group strong enough to stay together is a great tribute to
the people that are involved."
Back when discussions about this year's tour started taking place, none
of the artists had any idea that the anniversary tour would be taking place
in the middle of a global pandemic. Undeterred, they have decided that this
year's event will take place but with some adjustments in order to comply
with Gov. Ralph Northam's COVID-19 guidelines.
"Safety is of primary importance this year and we are taking precautions
and following all guidelines to keep our visitors and artists safe," Dickerson
says.
Luckily, Dan Jones, one of the participants, is a semi-retired doctor. In
putting together plans for this year, Jones created a list of guidelines that
the tour will use in order to keep everyone involved safe. The guidelines will
include the requirement that everyone wear masks and the option for tours
by appointment for those who are anxious about being around large groups
of people. In the event that the weather prevents outdoor exhibits, Dickerson
says, occupancy limits will be enforced. Additionally, demonstrations will
not be conducted at individual studios in order to prevent mass gatherings
from occurring.
As for whether the COVID-19 pandemic will affect turnout this year,
Dickerson says she's hopeful people will still be able to come out and see the
work that local artists have created over the past year. "I know a lot of people
are being extremely cautious and I understand that," she says. Normally, the
tour attracts between 150 to 200 people.
The kick-off event for this year's tour will be an art market at Virginia
Mountain Vineyards in Fincastle on August 30 from 1-5 p.m. "There is

18

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

plenty of room for social distancing at the vineyard,"
ABOVE: Judith
Dickerson says. During the event, there will be open
Lochbrunner
primarily works
air artist demonstrations inspired by the views from
out of her in-home
the vineyard.
studio.
The actual tour will take place on October 24 from
10 a.m.-5 p.m. and October 25 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at eight different
locations around Botetourt County. In total, 13 artists will be participating
including Ed Bordett, Vera Dickerson, Amy D. Herzel, Dan Jones, Brett
LaGue, Judith F. Lochbrunner, Willie Simmons and Mark Woodie. Guest
artists this year will include Courtney Cronin, Dan Henderson, Mary Anne
Meador, Elliot Muncey and Robin Poteet. Dickerson says that this year's
lineup will feature artists who have been involved with the tour since the
very beginning, in addition to brand new ones.
"What makes this tour unique is that it is also a driving tour featuring
the beauty of the views, fields and back roads of Botetourt County in the fall
color season. Visitors can experience what inspires our artists to create and
then see the results in the art studios," Dickerson says.
The private tours will take place on October 22 and 23. Those interested
should contact the individual artists to schedule appointments.
One noteworthy addition to this year's lineup is Elliot Muncey's
coppersmith shop.
Muncey normally attends the yearly Blue Ridge Folklife Festival at Ferrum
College every fall, but won't be able to this year because it has been canceled.
Dickerson explained that he still wants to show off his work this year, so he
decided to accept the group's offer to join them for this year's tour.
Speaking about the type of work people should expect to see this year,
Dickerson says that she has a feeling the art will be somewhat more personal
because the artists have been cooped up at home alone for the past few
months.
"The art we've been making has been coming directly from the heart," she
says. "We've been alone in the studio just creating."
Additional information about the free driving tour can be found at
openstudiosbotetourt.com.				-AILA BOYD

TheRoanoker.com

COURTESY OF OPEN STUDIOS - BOTETOURT

Local artists celebrate 10 years of Open Studios
- Botetourt, a two-day event for members of the
public to visit art studios and see their work.


http://www.openstudiosbotetourt.com http://www.TheRoanoker.com

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