It’s fair to say that I’ve lived a life pursuing my passions. It’s a life path I heartily recommend because, well, you know, we get this chance at life, we might as well make it what we truly want!
My family is a true passion, and I love that my sons and their families are near to me, living here in Staunton. One’s a chef and the other a comic improviser, musician, and sound designer, so I’m eating well and laughing heartily, definitely two worthy passions! And my dear hubby Lou keeps me company on life’s walk as well as entertained with his Native American flute and love of music, his passion becoming one of mine!
My passion for real estate lasted decades and continues even now, including into hospitality with my Airbnbs.
And then there’s my day-to-day, which is mostly occupied with running my big passion, the Staunton Antiques Center (SAC) in downtown Staunton. That’s where passion meets the rubber on the road and it’s so much fun. There’s auctions and treasure-hunting, researching and pricing, displaying and selling, meeting folks from all walks of life, and all the little details of running the business, too, like paperwork, which is not so fun but definitely essential to making a passion succeed.
Passionate About Art
But a possibly lesser known fact is that SAC houses another of my passions — ART! Upstairs at SAC is my second business, the Artisans Loft, a nearly 5,000 square foot open air art gallery in a fun warehouse space.
So even though I’ve written to you for months about what you can find at SAC, today I want to blog about the Artisans Loft because I’m just so proud of what it’s become for me, for our rotating roster of artists, and for the community.
For three years, four times a year, we’ve put up an entirely new group show that spans mediums and styles, perspectives and emotions, size and scope, and just about anything else you can think of. It has been amazing, phenomenal, educational, inspiring, sometimes a tad bit vexing but that’s to be expected, but mostly an out-and-out BLAST and I am as passionate about it as a person can be.
I’m thrilled to offer this space for local art, and honored to meet and work with local artists, touched to work with folks who have assisted in this process with their products and services (Marc Borzelleca shout out!), and I just want to keep seeing this thing grow and evolve in exciting ways!
I’ve chosen to focus the Artisans Loft on including edgier pieces than might otherwise be found in a remote rural town. This is not to say that all the art is edgy considering that our shows often include artisan-craftpersons working to produce both decorative and utilitarian pieces in pottery, iron works, glass pieces, wood, textiles, etc.
But when it comes to some of our expressive painters, sculptors, photographers, mixed-media artists, etc., it’s fair to say that we seek out and include that edginess to bring a more contemporary and of-the-moment feel to what we’re hanging and installing. We like mixing it up, surprising you, creating a thought-provoking experience.
And just a note on process. The Artisans Loft operates with a Board and we have a juried submission process for artists that has resulted in exciting submissions from a wide range of local and mostly Virginia-based artists and artisans. Soon I hope to have this process streamlined on this website to make the submission process even easier.
But what the submission really means is that our Board gets together to evaluate each new show and new artist submissions and that that process itself is an act of artistic and community engagement. Beginning with our most recent show, with its opening this Friday night, we’re also awarding artists prizes for best in show, etc. Our Board is always looking for new ways to expand the Artisans Loft community in ways that reflect the energy and change and dynamism in art and artists.
Hot Staunton, Cool Art
So speaking of this Friday, drumroll please…our latest opening is titled Hot Staunton, Cool Art and happens this Friday, August 10th, from 6-9pm. And it’s free and open to the public.
I can promise you a great time is had by all at our openings. There’s music, nibbles, a coterie of our artists mingling, answering questions, adding to the spirit, and Staunton’s locals and tourists alike all mixing and melding to create a night of fun. All of this and yet if you still want to see antiques, we keep downstairs open late for your perusing pleasure!
I hope you’ll all come out to share your passion for art, to experience our passion for art, and to just feel the passion of life well-lived in our lovely town on a summer night!