Gallery Crawl Season Returns to West Jefferson

undreds of people walked the streets of West Jefferson on Friday, June 11, wandering between the 13 participating businesses during the first Gallery Crawl of 2010. The event, held from 5 to 8 p.m. on the second Friday of each month through October, gives people the chance to view the work created by many local artists while enjoying the finger foods and refreshments offered along the way.

Jane Lonon, executive director of the Ashe County Arts Council, said the first Crawl of 2010 was "a resounding success.

"The weather cooperated and it couldn't have been a nicer night for people to be out," said Lonon. "The crowd was a nice mix of visitors to Ashe County - folks that were up here for a weekend - and residents of Ashe County that were out enjoying and appreciating the art in downtown West Jefferson." She noted that participants were "there for the right reason. They were there to meet the artists and to see the artistic excellence and high quality of art that is continuing to be produced in Ashe County."

Three new galleries participated in their first Crawl on Friday, and Lonon said it was "a wonderful first opportunity for the newer galleries to be presented to the public.?

"What we found was that most of the Gallery Crawlers were wanting to make sure they got everywhere and got a chance to see what was new and happening in all the galleries."

Lonon also said she enjoyed seeing the "level of cooperation and support among all the galleries.?

"I think one of the strength and key success markers for what has happened in the West Jefferson Arts District is the fact that everyone is mutually respectful, supportive and cooperative with each other," she said. "Getting people moving throughout the arts district keeps people coming back. It gives them 13 reasons to keep coming to West Jefferson, not just one."

The next Gallery Crawl will be held on Friday, July 9. For more information, call the Ashe County Arts Council at (336) 846-2787.

By Joel Frady

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