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ArtWorks Oriental Launches
Studio space, gallery, art education
May 18, 2021

iber artist Carla J Fisher was supposed to spend 2020 on a world tour visiting galleries and private collectors with her one-of-a kind creations. COVID intervened. Instead, moved from Philadelphia to Oriental with her partner Pat, bought a home, and started planning a public studio space for working artists.

In February, Carla put out a call for artists who were interested in not only showing their work, but also having an art studio space in that same gallery.

“At the heart of the project is the artists themselves,” she said, “it’s the artist at work. This is a place where people can come and watch that artist do what they do and talk with them, and be able to interact with the artist – romance them if you will.”

ArtWorks has four artists-in-residence. At least one of them is in the space during open hours.

Carla searched for a suitable space, and found it overlooking Oriental Harbor Marina. The building housing the Oriental Harbor Marina offices had extra space, a large deck, and a view of the marina, the Neuse River, and the Oriental Bridge. It was perfect for both artists and visitors. She and Pat began painting the offices, making modifications to turn the offices into a space inviting visitors to stroll through the rooms.

At the Plein Air artists’ reception on the ArtWorks deck. (Angie Propst photo)

From her call out to artists, Carla selected three to become full-time resident artists: fiber artist Julia McDonald, painter Paula Rozov, and resin artist Shelly Gayring.

At the end of April, ArtWorks, and its four resident artists, opened their doors. There were around 300 visitors on the first day. The artists spoke with their guests about the space, pursuing their work in a public space, and the art itself.

Lenticular images from Anna Tas & Diane Burko. Made of 15 individual images and looped to give an animated effect, these images appear differently depending on the viewer’s distance and position from the piece.

If you talk to an artist at ArtWorks, they make it very clear ArtWorks is intended to be more than an art gallery. Part of the ArtWorks experience is watching and interacting with the artists as they work, and learning from them in the classes they teach on site.

Though there are local and resident artists represented in the space, ArtWorks also features pieces from international creators. More than twenty artistic mediums are represented: from fiber to paints, acrylics to wax, and clay to precious stone.

A look at the gallery space.

A small supply store is also part of ArtWorks, furnishing the products used in the classes as well as some common art supplies like brushes sketch pads.

A visitor on opening day.

Open less than a month, ArtWorks has already held their first art class – Encaustic Wax Painting with display artist Dana Holliday. They’ve also held their first joint event with Pamlico County Arts Council, hosting the Plein Air New Bern International Artist gathering in Oriental and Pamlico County.

Three different painting styles in the gallery.

“Being part of an artists’ consortium, like this, we have the chance to be able to share and learn from each other,” Carla said. “I’ve had the privilege to be able to work and show my work all over the world. Literally. I want to share those contacts. I want to share those experiences.”

Jewelry designs by Lori Yarrow.

In addition to the resident artists, ArtWorks will host flex artists – those who don’t need a dedicated studio space – on a 6 month schedule. And artists can apply to be resident artists, flex artists, or simply have their work displayed in the gallery.

The first featured artist of the month is Carla Fisher, displaying her piece, ‘Take THAT Mrs. Connor’, a rebuttal to her 7th grade art teacher who told her to find another creative outlet.
The piece in progress on Julia McDonald’s loom.
Paula Rozov’s winning painting.
Two pieces from Joan Bontempo. Bontempo folds the clay, creating textured, three dimensional pieces.
The creative space and design of resident artist Shelly Gayring
Fiber Artist Stacy Hortner’s detailed felted animals.

ArtWorks is located on the waterfront near Oriental Bridge at 518 South Water Street. Open Sun noon – 4p, Mon – Thu 10a – 5p, and Fri – Sat 10a – 7p.

Related Links
ArtWorks Oriental: artworksonc.org
A Space for Artists At Work

Posted Tuesday May 18, 2021 by Allison DeWeese

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