Top-drawer talent at the Rappahannock Artists Tour
Cory Lynn Caulfield
"Marigold" (30" x 30" oil on canvas)
For a relatively small stretch of rural countryside, Rappahannock County has more than its share of artists. Amid a population of barely 7,000, more than 50 artists call it home—among them, nationally known sculptor and potter Jeanne Drevas, who discovered the area in the 1960s and never left. Others followed. What’s the draw? Pastoral landscapes, solitude and quiet—all of which foster creativity.
Once a year, for the last five years now, these area artists open their home studios and galleries for outsiders to visit—and, it is hoped, to buy works—during the Artists of Rappahannock Studio & Gallery Tour. Kevin Adams, a representational landscape painter and photographer and president of the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community, says his shop gets as many feet in the door the second weekend of November as it does all year. “As an artist, the opportunity is amazing,” says Adams, whose group also manages the juried competition. He says that, aided by good weather, “a solid 1,500 visitors” have attended the tour each of the last three years.
This year’s tour, to be held Nov. 6-7, officially begins at the Fire Hall in Little Washington (home to the local volunteer fire department), where the community room will house a sampling of the artists’ works. A $10 ticket gets you a tour map and entrée to as many home studios and galleries (spread throughout Little Washington and surrounding villages of Sperryville, Woodville, Amissville and Flint Hill) as you can visit over the two-day exhibit. While 15 artists—including Drevas and Noel Putnam, whose ironwork is installed in the National Cathedral—open their home studios, the rest of the 54 artists in the event (including painter R.H. Ballard, former director of the Govett-Brewster Museum in Plymouth, New Zealand) will exhibit in eight area galleries.
And what goes well with art? Need we say? There are more than a dozen wineries within 15 miles of Little Washington, not to mention scads of restaurants, including the five-star, five-diamond Inn at Little Washington. And there is no shortage of bed and breakfasts—five on Little Washington’s two streets alone. As Adams says: “I encourage people to drive slowly.”