This is the Chatham Arts Council’s third in a monthly series focusing on arts events in Chatham County that are not to be missed.
In 1974, R. B. Fitch and his wife Jenny envisioned building Fearrington Village on the grounds of a dairy farm north of Pittsboro in the image of an English village.
About thirty years later, another vision took hold in that village, and a folk art show was launched. After twelve years of annual shows, the two-day Fearrington Folk Art Show is now considered by many collectors to be one of the pre-eminent folk art shows in America.
Folk artists who work in the artistic genre known also as “visionary art” generally don’t conform to mainstream artistic philosophies or ideals. Typically, they haven’t received a formal art education and the artists often reside “outside” the normal constraints of the traditional art establishment. These artists who are often self-taught, are driven to create — sometimes by … you guessed it … visions.
At the Fearrington Folk Art Show, forty of the country’s most talented folk artists and outsider artists — mostly from southern states — set up booths in the Fearrington Barn. The barn serves as a perfect backdrop for this genre featuring everything from hand-thrown and hand-built pottery to fantastical sculptures, paintings, and drawings. There’s something for everyone, children included.
In fact, the art is particularly appealing to young art fans because it’s colorful and approachable. Many artists use cast-off or commonplace materials like chalk, buttons, soda caps, sticks, stones, and wire to represent animals, people, and scenes from nature. The artists are friendly and interested in sharing information about their work, but the barn is a big room and this show attracts a crowd, so it’s best to keep an eye on the little ones.
It’s pretty amazing to have access to this amazing body of juried work and the visionaries who make it every year in Chatham County. And Chathamites aren’t the only ones checking it out. We hear that it’s had a powerful effect on one luminary of the international fashion world. Last year, the aforementioned luminary was a guest at the Fearrington House Inn and wandered into the barn during the show. He was immediately drawn to the memory paintings of artist Theresa Gloster, and all 6’6” of him disappeared for over an hour to be charmed by Theresa and to learn more about her work. It turned out that her images so reminded him of his own upbringing in North Carolina that he now has a collection of Teresa’s work in his New York City home.
So, art lover, want to start your collection or add to one you already have?
Parking is generous and there’s always a carnival feel in Fearrington Village during the Folk Art show. Just jump on 15-501, turn at the whirlygigs by North Carolina folk art legend Vollis Simpson, and be greeted by the iconic Belted Galloway “Oreo” cows.
You don’t have to have an art history degree to appreciate the power of vision at Fearrington, especially during the Fearrington Folk Art Show. Mark your calendar now!
- Go See This: The Fearrington Folk Art Show
- When: Saturday and Sunday, February 21 and 22, 10AM-5PM
- Where: The Barn at Fearrington Village
- How Much: $5 for Sat/Sun
- Tickets: Available at the door
- Preview: Friday, February 20, 7-9PM; Tickets are $35 online or at McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington.
- For More Info: http://www.fearrington.com/folk-art/
- Accessibility: Accessible parking and facilities