It’s a Wrap: SHAC Puts a Lid on 2020 — by Louise Glickman
As we close 2020, we also celebrate the first year anniversary of Sand Hill Artists Collective, an embryo of an idea born to bring neighbors and art enthusiasts together in the age of Covid. Here’s a look at how we have grown and gifted the inspiration of creativity to supporters across the country.
December 2019 – March 2020: An enthusiastic group gathered at the Biltmore Lake Clubhouse just three times for discussion and art presentations from Biltmore Lake Artists before Covid shut us down in early March. A survey of our first 35 art members showed their top priority was to “Show and Sell” their work. Others wanted activities like gallery tours. We had no idea that our first virtual tour in June would become a test run for our Virtual Holiday Gallery Tours in December.
April: Using Zoom to gather, a few enthusiasts loosely formed a committee to discuss how we might create a studio tour using available technology. Now in isolation, without any budget, we bravely challenged ourselves to “show and sell” and to prepare for a future studio tour.
Mostly Biltmore Lakers gathered informally on Zoom: Katrina Chenevert (who helped coordinate from the very first Biltmore Lake Artists meeting), Stephanie Moore (Center for Craft), Bob Ware (photographer with digital skills), Michael Manes (Blue Spiral 1), Carol McCrory (artist and activist), Louise Glickman (arts activist) and Daryl Slaton (artist and advocate).
With trepidation and no money, the group decided that a blog or website would be the best, least expensive way to launch our group. After speaking with leadership in areas like Beaverdam and Weaverville, experienced with producing open studio events, Biltmore Lake Artists morphed into Sand Hill Artists Collective to encompass much of Westernmost Buncombe County.
Bob Ware, Louise Glickman and Daryl Slaton used their combined years of professional experience to undergo the rigors of building a website. This included identifying featured artists and an audience for FREE distribution of the very first SHAC monthly blog. The format continues to include three featured artists monthly from the 28704, 28715, 28728, 28806, and 28810 zip codes, and for commentary and news from anyone, anywhere to further education, learning and working in the arts field.
— SHAC’s first blog goes virtual.
— Enka Village neighbor Michael Manes, Gallery Director of Blue Spiral 1, leads us on a well-attended virtual tour providing insights into this top gallery’s history and exhibited artists.
October: Five months of blogging brought a growing audience to SHAC as well as the recognition that we could not build further without social media. Biltmore Laker Tim Bennett of WSI Digital Marketing advised us that hiring an expert would bring the fastest, most cost effective results for SHAC, but we needed funding. Marilynne Herbert and Sam Walker suggested that traditional fundraising would be virtually fruitless with so many organizations vying for funding during Covid.
November: Our volunteer expertise expanded with the addition of Jean McLaughlin (former director at Penland), Merrily Orsini (marketing professional, arts collector, and activist) and Marilynne Herbert (marketing and community activist). The idea of a Virtual Holiday Gallery Tour quickly evolved, and within one week ten of the area’s top galleries signed on to produce individual gallery tours for a virtual audience. To promote holiday traffic for the galleries and ticket sales for SHAC, the database expanded beyond the Carolinas to friends across the country whom our volunteers suggested might purchase tickets for the series. Andrea Kulish, an artist and social media guru in the River Arts District, launched our moderate social media efforts on Facebook and Pinterest.
December 2-15: SHAC’s Virtual Holiday Gallery Tour has brought both visibility and viability to the Sand Hill Artists Collective. Our database of supporters has grown nationally, West Asheville area artists are submitting applications to become featured artists, we secured a small budget to continue social media in 2021, and SHAC has become a credible and creative tour de force in Western North Carolina and some major cities.
Special thanks to Gallery series participants: River Arts District Artists, Pink Dog Creative, Blue Spiral 1, LEAF Global Arts, Penland Gallery, Momentum Gallery, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, Southern Highland Crafts Guild, Center for Craft, and Tracey Morgan Gallery.
Anyone, anywhere may sign up for the FREE monthly SHAC blog at www.sandhillartists.com.
To view recordings of the ten programs in the Virtual Gallery Tour series, please mail a check for $65 to Sand Hill Artists Collective, 7 White Palmer Ct., Biltmore Lake, NC 28715.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org