As new members of our Chatham County community, Chatham Park is powering our Go See This series this year because art is an integral part of Chatham County’s identity. They join us in inviting you to Go See This . . .
For Cat Mahin, co-president of the Chatham Artists Guild, calling herself an artist was not as simple as putting paint brush to canvas.
“From the first time I held a pencil I have loved to create but I never thought of myself as a ‘real artist.’ I remember opening up my paint box, smelling the oil paints, and loving that feeling that I got sitting at my desk pretending to be a ‘real artist.’”
Cat spent the earlier part of her art career teaching stained glass and studying oil painting in New York City. Even when she won second place in New York’s Young Artists show in 1978, she still couldn’t seem to own the artist moniker. It wasn’t until years later, after leaving New York for retirement in North Carolina and studying under local artist Emma Skurnick in the NC Botanical Art Program that she finally made peace with the title.
“One day, after a couple of years in class, Emma referred to me as an artist. I looked at her and said, ‘Really? You consider me an artist?’ I remember her laughing and saying, ‘Of course you are.’ From that point on, I started calling myself an artist.”
For Cat, becoming a member of the Chatham Artists Guild has opened the door to learning more about art and creating lasting friendships. “Being an artist in Chatham County is like being a goldfish in the ocean,” says Cat. “There are so many wonderful artists. I love visiting the galleries and experiencing so much diversity. I think the variety of potters, painters, and craftsmen is wonderful. When you visit a native North Carolinian’s home you will almost always see some sort of individual artwork that they have chosen to collect.”
Cat began going with friends on the Chatham Artists Guild tours in 2011. “My friends from Emma’s studio would get our Studio brochures, pick out the artists we wanted to visit, and meet early on a Saturday morning to start our day. We all piled into my car and had so much fun discovering areas of Chatham County we had never seen. I particularly recall going to Gretchen Niver‘s studio, which is actually in a small airplane hangar. I couldn’t believe that, and just getting there was an adventure in itself. You learn so much just by visiting where they work. After going on the tours for several years, I finally decided to try it myself and now I am one of the artists on the tour!”
You can meet Cat, see her studio, and admire her work at Tour Stop #5 on the Chatham Studio Tour this weekend. You can also find out about other artists on the Tour by checking out the online studio map. At the Chatham Arts Council, we are huge fans of the Chatham Studio Tour and proud supporters of it through our Grassroots Arts Grants. Grab your family, your holiday gift list, your Tour map, and go see this!
Go See This
- What: The 2019 Chatham Artists Guild Studio Tour
- When: The first two weekends in December
- Where: Various locations; see the brochure for details
- What Will This Cost Me?: Admission is free
- Accessibility: Varies by location
- Parking: Varies by location
- For more information, please visit The Chatham Artists Guild online brochure