Local artists and writers shared their work with the public Friday and Saturday in downtown Blacksburg as part of an initiative to highlight the growing creative culture in the area.
Not even the torrential rain Friday stopped people from enjoying the downtown ArtCrawl, an annual event sponsored by Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. to promote local artists by displaying their works in businesses downtown.
“We’ve been doing smaller gallery events for about three or four years and this is the second ArtCrawl we’ve done,” said Laureen Blakemore, the director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. “We’re hoping to make people more aware of the local art that’s out there.”
The ArtCrawl is part of an ongoing effort to support and enhance Blacksburg’s local art scene.
“We want to continue the artistic vibe…to allow for new artists to have a great venue to show their talent,” Jakki Covington, the owner of Eucalyptus Massage, said.
Covington’s business is currently displaying mixed media, sculpture and abstract oil paintings by Radford art professor Knic Umstead.
“Events like these are part of Blacksburg’s evolution towards becoming more of an artist’s utopia,” Covington said.
Steve Miller, owner of Mish Mish, also has artwork on display for ArtCrawl. Currently, the store gallery is showcasing “Dream Series 2012” by Julie Hawkins, a collection of charcoal and pastel abstract works inspired by dreams and meditation. Miller said he hopes that events such as ArtCrawl will make the public more aware of non-traditional gallery spaces in Blacksburg.
“We want to let people know that there are a many different kinds of places to see local art here,” he said.
This year’s ArtCrawl also featured a scavenger hunt. Participants browsed each gallery and filled out a trivia sheet in order to win prizes. Andrew Hill won first prize and received a Downtown Gift Certificate. The runner ups included Jen Huffman, Jen Richter and Doug Armstrong.
Blakemore said they want to continue to organize the ArtCrawl in the future, because people enjoy it. The next one is scheduled for December and will happen rain or shine.
The artworks are still on display for the public to enjoy at the participating businesses Bollo’s Café and Bakery, the Community Arts Information Office, Capone’s Fine Jewelers, Eucalyptus Massage Therapy, Mish Mish, Gillie’s, John’s Camera Corner, Kent Jewelers, Main Street Inn Gallery, Matrix Gallery and the Artful Lawyer A Fine Gallery. A local restaurant hosted the other half of the weekend event, where local authors, poets, and storytellers read and shared their works.
A Spoken Word Celebration was held in Café de Bangkok on Saturday. Su Clauson-Wicker, the reading’s organizer, said the group of writers who participated was electric.