Saluda Studios set to open May 20 

Published 12:07 pm Thursday, May 4, 2023

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Opening Reception planned for May 19


SALUDA-–A grand opening reception for Preserving a Picturesque America’s Saluda Studios, the newest addition to Saluda’s rich arts community, is scheduled for May 19 from 6 to 9 p.m.

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The Studios’ official opening is in conjunction with the Saluda Arts Festival on May 20. 

Once a historic service station across from Green River BBQ, this Saluda landmark is located at 144 Hwy. 176 and is being lovingly renovated into an art gallery and special events venue by owners Doc and “Sam” Varn, and Tim and Kim Werts. The Varns now make their home in Saluda and the Werts have gathered there for years with their families. 

The Studios will serve as the main office for Varn’s nonprofit organization, Preserving a Picturesque America (PAPA), an art gallery, a special events venue and gardens for small gatherings. The rear of the building also has a vacation rental apartment with a cozy cabin feel. 

The gallery will host art classes, special art events and artist receptions throughout the year.

Additionally, Saluda Studios’ garden space will host activities throughout the summer including games and outdoor movie nights, with space for a food truck on weekends.

Preserving A Picturesque America is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve natural and historic sites through the power of the arts. The organization is dedicated to revisiting beautiful areas across the country that were originally depicted in Picturesque America, an 1870s serial publication. By creating new renditions of these same areas today, these artists are using their work to underscore the need for conservation. 

PAPA locates the sites depicted in the original 1800s publication, then connects with and guides local artists to these vantage points. The artists paint these sites as they appear today. In doing so, they raise awareness about the current state of these sites. 

For more information, contact “Sam” Varn, at (828) 713-2130, or email