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When Connie Knight saw banners hanging from light poles in Winchester, Va., she thought immediately of her adopted hometown.
Like Winchester, Hendersonville is in the apple country, surrounded by rolling hills, orchards and vineyards. And it has a thriving Old Town that attracts local people, retirees and tourists. And it has lots of artists.
Last summer, she started talking to local artists, gallery owners and city officials about bringing ArtScape to Hendersonville. Soon she had the art scene’s buy-in, City Council support and a Community Foundation grant for the project with the tagline, “Where Art Meets and Sky.”
On Friday night, Knight, a painter whose piece hangs outside the Visitors Center, thanked artists, sponsors and art patrons who came to a reception at Art MoB on Fourth Avenue East.
“Now we have an outdoor gallery,” she said.
Extending from the Visitors Center on South Main Street to Mud Creek on Seventh Avenue, 41 banners show the pieces of art that made the cut in a juried competition that drew more than 250 entries. It’s the broadest and most visible exhibit of public art since the popular Bearfootin’ bears were introduced more than 10 years ago. The 2x3-foot vinyl banners were made by Printville, a shop on South Main Street, and funded by sponsors who paid $175 each and the $6,500 grant from the Community Foundation. All the artists are from Henderson County and all agreed to offer their work for sale. The pieces are on display for two weeks at Art MoB and Art on Fourth, on Fourth Avenue West.
“We have a lot of talented people in this town,” Art MoB owner Michele Sparks said. Unlike the bears, which are exhibited on Main Street, ArtScape banners hang from poles on the avenues, too.
“Hopefully, we’re going to drive traffic to the avenues and to Seventh Avenue, too, because of what we put down there,” Sparks said. “We’re hoping to add more next year so people can start thinking about that. On Nov. 18, we’ll put out a call to artists.”
To see all 41 banners visit this Lightning slide show.