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Festival favorites returning to Saluda

Robin Bryant Kirby Robin Bryant Kirby

The ninth annual Saluda Arts Festival brings back several artists that have become favorites of festival goers.


Meet a few of these artists who have supported Saluda's arts festival since its inception and enjoy coming back to see the many friends and fans that they have made in Saluda.

The Saluda Arts Festival is on Saturday, May 19, 10am – 4pm, with over 80 fine artists and skilled craftspeople from all over western North Carolina and South Carolina. Festival will be held throughout historic Main Street that has been on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1996.

Keeping its mission to preserve and promote Saluda's heritage and art culture, the Saluda Business Association sponsors the Saluda Arts Festival each year. "The festival kick starts the tourist season in Saluda, and provides a platform in which local and regional artists can show and sell their work," says SBA president, Todd Kirby.

Bill Gramley

Bill has exhibited and been an award-winning artist of the Saluda Arts Festival since its beginning in 2003. He has drawn pastel pictures since the early 1990's and is an exhibiting member of the Associated Artists of Winston-Salem. His inspiration comes from the natural world as seen in his drawings of autumn trees, fields of flowers as seen along the highways of NC, seascapes, general landscapes, and fruit. His work can be seen in several galleries and street festivals throughout NC. He is a graduate of Davidson College and Moravian Theological Seminary and lives in Lewisville, NC. Art is Bill's "retirement activity."

Jeff Pittman

Jeff's Saluda cityscapes have been long-time favorite paintings for many festival attendees of the Saluda Arts Festival. Originally from Greenville, NC, Jeff grew up observing his father paint rural scenes of eastern and coastal NC. He currently resides in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina near Asheville. He has taken the artistic impressions he learned early on and applied them to mountainscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes. He uses oils and acrylics to capture the essence of any particular scene, be it a majestic mountain view from the Blue Ridge Parkway, afternoon light reflecting from the buildings of an urban skyline, or the pristine waters of the Carolina crystal coast. His studio is located in the heart of Asheville's thriving River Arts District at 140-D Roberts Street. His website is

Robin Bryant Kirby

Robin has been an award-winning artist at the Saluda Arts Festival and has graced the festival with her fine pottery for many years. Robin holds a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree from UNC-Greensboro. She was a high school art teacher in Virginia for five years where she discovered her calling for pottery. In 2002 she moved to western North Carolina and enrolled at Haywood Community College in their Professional Crafts program. After graduating in 2005 with honors, she moved to Saluda and opened her home studio where she has been making pottery ever since. In 2008 she and her husband Todd, welcomed their daughter Hannah. Robin is happy to have the opportunity to stay home with her daughter and make pottery, though on a part time basis now! See her pottery at

Mike Cowan

Artists love it when they sell most of their work at a show and that's what happens for Mike Cowan every year at the Saluda Arts Festival. Mike fell in love with anything mechanical as a small boy. He worked as a tool builder for glass artists and then followed his love of cars into NASCAR racing where he worked as a welder and fabricator for many years. Now he has turned his metalworking skills toward artistic welding and blacksmithing, designing and building everything from architectural iron work to whimsical garden art. Mike is a member of ABANA and works at his studio in the mountains of North Carolina. Visit his work at

Information: Susie Welsh at 828-749-3900 or Todd Kirby at 828-606-0942. Admission to the festival and music is free. Visit to download a festival map and get a complete list of the exhibiting artists.