Art tour revival

By Page H. Gifford

It has been 11 years since the Fluvanna County Historical Society sponsored the last art studio tour. Artist Linda Staiger took on the task of reviving the artists’ tour but ran into a roadblock regarding an ordinance that charged artists/artisans for operating businesses out of their homes. Artists were reluctant to join the tour and Staiger and others from the Fluvanna Leadership Development Program set the groundwork by resolving the ordinance issue and moving forward with plans to do what they hope to be the first of many artists’ tours.

“We were able to reach out and communicate through an arts community that has evolved in the last several years into a cohesive and collaborative community. And we had a great team of volunteers who have been working on this for nearly a year. The team began the project and with community sponsors and dedicated work, has been able to bring the idea to fruition this fall. It’s a great opportunity for people to explore what’s available in the county,” said Diane Wilkin, who is the organizer of the event.

Wilkin and others who have been working on the project have learned about the needs of artists in the community and how tours would be beneficial.

“There are many artists in Fluvanna, some connected to the local organizations, and some not. We found some artists who live and create here, but their exhibition and show opportunities are in other places up and down the east coast and some even farther, she said. “As the plans for the Studio Tour solidified and the news started to spread, we heard from artists who are interested in applying for next year. We look forward to the possibility of expanding the number of studios. Showcasing the local talent and providing these artists an opportunity to show and sell work close to home is our goal.”

Arts, performing, visuals, and crafts can generate interest in towns and counties, attracting those interested in supporting the arts. Wilkin points out that the studio tour will certainly help local artists meet buyers and build entrepreneurial businesses while bringing in county tax revenue.

“Bringing people into the county for a day also brings revenue to restaurants, and other businesses as well. There are 20 artists at ten different locations and visitors will get to see our beautiful county landscape as well.”

Some of the artists have participated in the past, including Lindsay Nolting, whose impressionistic paintings feature bright colors and broad sweeping brushstrokes. Linda Staiger will show off her tranquil landscapes and Diane and Jim Wilkin will also be participating. Erika Mitchell of Sweet Art Emporium will be showcasing her bold jewelry designs and Mike McGurk will discuss his extraordinary pastels, and the realism he achieves with painstaking details. Mike Harrison will feature his ceramics and Chris Nothnagle his woodworking. Among the 20 artists are ten from the Fluvanna Art Association, including Janie Prete with her ethereal watercolors, Susan Edginton and her beautiful colored pencil work, Marcie Stahl and Linda Napier.

This is an opportunity for people to see the work and talk to the artists about their work.

“I have to add- as an educator and artist – it’s not just about dollars. The Studio Tour is an event that will enhance our cultural knowledge, increase awareness of our community members and their talents, and will be educational for many. I’m always amazed at what I learn about the creative ways in which artists solve problems and develop ideas and their inspiration.” 

The tour is on Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and  is self-guided. For more

information, participants, maps, and directions visit

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