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Opening the doors of creativity: Haywood Arts Studio Tour to be held Sept. 24-25

The Cold Mountain Art Collective in Canton. The Cold Mountain Art Collective in Canton.

The Haywood County Arts Council’s annual Haywood County Studio Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.

The tour is a two-day, self-guided, free event where Haywood County artists open their studios to the public. For 2022, the celebration will feature 24 studios and over 40 artists in various locations around our backyard.

Aside from all of the studio locations, there will also be a special community event called the Canton Hub at the Town of Canton’s Sorrells Park. A long-standing event, HCAC is mixing it up with the Canton Hub, which is sponsored by the Cruso Foundation and the Town of Canton.

“The Canton Hub is the launching pad and gateway to the Haywood County Studio Tour” said Morgan Beryl, executive director for the HCAC in Waynesville. “We’ve been looking for ways to have a greater presence in all the towns that make up Haywood County and to create a central meeting place for the Studio Tour.”

The Canton Hub will be a recreational community event with live music, local food trucks, artist demonstrations, a prize drawing and a community art project. The prize drawing is a load of gravel donated by Hilltop Tractor, Grading and Landscaping. 

“I made the donation without a thought once I received the phone call. I’m extremely big on supporting the community and small businesses like myself,” said Joseph Lee Williford, president and co-owner of Hilltop. “I believe in today’s world, the more you help others and stand behind each other, the more you are creating opportunity for others to have a chance in enjoying these activities in the future.”

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Stephanie Kea, a Tuscola high school art teacher and HCAC board director is helping lead the community art project which will be painting two run-through banners to be used at the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Tuscola and Pisgah high school rivalry football game. 

“We are working with students to design the banners and community members who visit the Canton Hub will be invited to add their mark by helping paint the banner,” Kea said.

Donations of any amount will be accepted to join in the painting and the raised funds will benefit both high school art programs. As well, HCAC is reliant on grants from organizations like the Town of Waynesville and the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, who both funded marketing the event, but also on business sponsorships and individual donations. 

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A work by Jo Ridge Kelley.

“We are so grateful to our $1,000 level business sponsors like the Days Inn and Best Western, and our artists who are donating art as door prizes,” Beryl said.

Door prizes are won by donating any amount at the door of a participating studio.

“The Studio Tour is a great opportunity for the public to see where you spend your time creating art,” said Gayle Haynie, a participating door prize artist and HCAC board director. “It gives folks the opportunity to learn the techniques you spent years perfecting and get a better understanding of the time and materials that goes into your artwork.”

Another new feature is the Studio Tour passport. It costs $5 and attendees will get the passport stamped as they enter each studio. Then, they must fill out the short survey on the back and turn it in for a chance to win two tickets to the Smoky Mountain Bluegrass Festival on Oct. 29 in Maggie Valley. The musical gathering will host the likes of bluegrass sensations Balsam Range, Sister Sadie and The Amanda Cook Band.

For visitors looking for a more exclusive experience, HCAC has partnered up with The Southern Porch for a limited attendance event called “Meet the Makers” from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at the restaurant in downtown Canton.

The evening includes a mini quilt block creation activity, food, drink, a private performance by a well-known Canton performer, and a facilitated discussion with two Canton artists, Cheryl Summey and Lisa Conard. 

“I’m a proud Pisgah Black Bear and a lifelong Canton native. I love my small mill town life and am relishing in watching it be revitalized and thriving again” said Summey, who is also an HCAC board director. “Tucked in among the hills and valleys are treasured memories that I bring to life with my jewelry and the passion to create my art.” 

Tickets to “Meet the Makers” can be reserved online or by calling HCAC. The Studio Tour is free, and brochures can be picked up at the Canton Hub during the event, at HCAC or viewed online. 

The Haywood Handmade Gallery at the HCAC is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information on the Studio Tour and/or any future HCAC events, workshops and happenings, click on haywoodarts.org or call 828.452.0593.

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