The Last Friday Art Walk is a child prodigy. Only three months old and organizer Katie Gamble’s new baby is a toddler. The event, started by Gamble under Fine Arts Blount’s umbrella in January, Last Friday Art Walk has taken on a life of its own.
Gamble has now taken the next step in the event and, with Fine Arts Blount’s blessings, created a entity just to support the art walk.
“I have submitted a charter to the state for the Maryville Arts Coalition which will organize the art walk,” Gamble said. “That way the wonderful people who sponsor the event will be able to get a tax write-off. I thought that was the best and most logical solution,” she said. “It becomes its own independent arts entity.”
Gamble said a board of directors has formed that will help make decisions about the art walk and help keep it focused on what it should be focused on: “the celebration and exposure of the art community.”
Gamble said there are artists on the board as well as other business owners. “We’re trying to keep it small enough to get things accomplished. I didn’t want it so big we couldn’t get things done,” she said.
Bill Womac, co-owner of Boyd Thomas, is a member. “He’s a great representative for the art walk because he’s a natural artist and business owner,” she said. “That kind of keeps everything in perspective.”
Board member Leann Moe is also a business owner participating in the art walk as well as a working artist. “That keeps things grounded. I really tried to get people who had that kind of mindset, that sense about them, as far as being focused on arts.”
Kay Overbey also agreed to join the board. Gamble said Kay Overbey and her husband, State Rep. Doug Overbey, have been supporters of the arts in the past. “I felt she was a logical choice. She’s a supporter of FAB, and she and Doug have been very supportive of the arts in the past,” Gamble said.
Jeffrey Vincent, manager of Tomato Head, is on the board, and Gamble said he comes from the background of managing a business. “I felt Leann and Jeffrey have been with me from the start. I’ve sought their point of views from the beginning about how this should evolve, so I wanted to include them,” Gamble said. “The five of us are pretty much going to see this through for the first year.”
Gamble said that while the event started out as a Fine Arts Blount program, it evolved quickly. “When I talked with the board for FAB about where this art walk was going, they felt they had so much on their plate already with workshops to promote and develop and the Artreach program. It was obvious to the FAB board, and to me, that this needed to be independent and on its own.”
Gamble said FAB continues as a sponsor and is very supportive. Gamble is also a FAB member and will continue her work with them.
“Everybody felt it was the best decision for what was best for FAB and for the success and growth of Art Walk,” she said.
Gamble said she has been surprised by how popular the event has become in three months. “It has been more than I could have hoped for. I thought it was going to be something I was going to have to struggle from month to month to get people on board, and I can barely keep up with the artists calling, and the businesses wanting to participate,” she said.
Gamble said a scholarship fund also would be started to help aspiring art students in the area. A percentage of all sales from art walk vendors will go toward the scholarship. Regardless of whether the non-profit charter is approved by the state, Gamble said the scholarship funds would still be raised. “Maybe that will encourage people to buy local art and feel like they’re helping a really great cause,” she said. “I’m real excited about what’s going on with the walk. We’re becoming more official and organized.”
To learn about becoming a sponsor or to get information about being an exhibitor, contact Gamble via e-mail at Katie@lady-of-the-earth.com
Last Friday Art Walk begins at 5 p.m. on Friday. Maps and lists of artists are available at participating businesses. Each business has a reception and information on the artist and art work to share on their exhibiting or performing artist.
March 28 List of Participating Businesses & Artists
• ArtSpace Gallery - “Landscapes; Cityscapes; Skyscapes” group exhibit by members of FAB
• All Natural Health Shoppe - (painters) Karen Bracket & Sallie Macy
• Boyd Thomas Clothing - (painter) Asa McEwan
• Brackins Blues Club - (illustrator) David Jones and live music by “Harmonica Red”
• beall + thomas photography - (photographer) Heather Anne Thomas
• Canvas Hair Designs - (photographer) Jessie Morris
• Capitol Theater/Heath Claiborne Gallery - (painter) Carrol Shope
• Clear’s Silat & Street Kung Fu - (digital photographer) Richard Clear
• Dandy Lions - (fiber artist) Vita Marie Lovett
• Harper Street Lofts - (painter) Bobbie Crews
• The Knitting Nest - (fiber artist) Pat Delashmit
• The Palace Theater - Fort Craig Art Club, student work celebrating Arts in School Month
• Preservation Plaza - “Illuminations” an exhibit by (painters)Katie Gamble, Jessica Gregory & (metal sculptor) Zophia Kneiss
• Professional Hair Designs & More - (blown glass) Everett Hirche and (photographer) Starr Cline and live belly dancing performance by Alexia Viverette and the Alexandria Dancers
• Southland Books/Southern Studios Stained Glass/Detour Coffee - (photographers) Zacque Hitchcock and Brandon Shinn; live music by Brian Campbell and Shane Beaux
• Studio 212: Ceramic Arts - (ceramic) Ron Deibel
• Razberries Boutique - (stained glass) Becky Goodman
• 2 Doors Down - (painter and musician) Doug Harris
• The Tomato Head - (mixed media) Holly Briggs & live music by RobinElla.