A weekend of art: Art Trek, Tryon Gallery Trot

Published 9:00 am Monday, August 1, 2011

Area art lovers will have plenty to keep them busy this weekend.
The Upstairs Artspace offers the third Art Trek Tryon: Foothills Open Studios on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday night, Tryon galleries will be open late for the Tryon Gallery Trot.
Art Trek Tryon
Art Trek Tryon opens with a preview party Friday, July 29 from 5-8 p.m. at the Upstairs Artspace on Trade St. in downtown Tryon.
The focus of the party, which also offers refreshments and live music, is an exhibit of work by participating artists, which will run through Aug. 8.
“The gallery is a great point of departure for the tour since you can preview the art and decide which studios to visit,” said Upstairs Artspace Gallery Manager Wyndy Morehead. “However, you can start at any artist’s studio and follow the map provided with directions to each studio.”
On Saturday, July 30 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, July 31 from noon – 5 p.m. participants have a chance to visit local art studios in Tryon, Saluda, Columbus, Mill Spring, Green Creek and Gowensville. The self-guided tour features a wide variety of talent including: painters, sculptors, photographers, musical instrument and furniture makers, metal fabricators and ceramic, assemblage, fabric and folk artists.
Originally started as a fundraiser for the Upstairs Artspace, the annual event also benefits the artists and the community.
“This is such a good thing for artists and the economy of Polk County,” said Morehead.
Photographers Ford and Mara Smith have participated in Art Trek since its inception. For the first two years, they displayed their work in different galleries. This summer, they are opening their Tryon home/office/studio to the public.
Traveling the North American continent for almost 10 years, the couple documented their experiences with journals and photographs. Their imagery has been published for more than 20 years in newspapers, journals and magazines.
Over the years they’ve placed in contests and had their photographs selected for books, calendars, periodicals, marketing materials and websites, as well as three different stock banks. Settling in Tryon in 1996, their work is carried at Kathleen’s Gallery in Tryon and at The Purple Onion in Saluda.
“We’re selecting all new imagery to print [for Art Trek]. Each giclée print is hand-pulled and printed with archival inks on archival papers and we’ve ordered a different style of frame,” said Ford Smith, who will also show a number of different post-processing tips such as how to restore an old photo, make the sky blue in an image or add an artistic effect to a blurry image that has good composition. The couple will also have copies of some of the books they have co-authored.
New to this year’s ArtTrek are Jay and Corrie Lichty.
Although they have been in the Tryon area for more than 30 years, they only opened Lichty Guitars two years ago.
“We are a new business so are always looking at ways to get the word out,” said Jay Lichty.
A musician all his life, Jay built homes for most of his professional career. When the economic downturn impacted the home construction industry, he started building a ukulele in his free time. He took a guitar-building workshop with renowned custom guitar builder, Wayne Henderson and has not looked back.
Lichty started his business with his wife and partner, Corrie, who is a writer, poet and painter and does all the photography, web design and marketing for Lichty Guitars.
Striving to build the best handmade guitars and ukuleles around, Lichty continues to deepen his skills and expertise through ongoing study. He most recently took an advanced guitar building workshop with renowned luthier, Charles Fox.
“Our guitars and ukuleles are crafted with the finest resources available and my objective is to make every instrument have a character of its own, so no two instruments are alike yet they all have to meet the highest standard tonally and visually,” said Lichty.
The couple plans on having some works in process, as well as some completed instruments that trekkers can play. Lichty said he may even pick a tune or two upon request.
Artists will open their studios to show their wares from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 and noon – 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 31. Maps for Art Trek Tryon will be available at Upstairs Artspace and participating artists studios. For more information, call 828-859-2828 or visit upstairsartspace.org.
Tryon Gallery Trot
A regular Tryon Gallery Trot is scheduled for this Saturday evening, 5 to 8 p.m. All downtown Tryon galleries will be open.

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