Gallery Crawls and Walking/Driving Tours
Monthly gallery crawls are invitations to experience craft in your own community in a relaxed, social and family-friendly setting. Most frequently held on “First Fridays” (but occasionally scheduled on other Fridays during the month), you’ll find a lively street scene with galleries, shops and nearby restaurants remaining open into the evening, giving you the opportunity to rub elbows with artists and fellow art enthusiasts. While maps of participating businesses are usually available, these walking tours have no particular route, leaving you to stroll according to your own interests or whims. To learn about monthly gallery crawls in your vicinity, your local arts council website is a good place to start.
Neighborhood arts associations also sponsor gallery crawls and are good sources of information about other arts events throughout the year. Some of these associations include DADA, the Downtown Arts District Association in Winston-Salem; NODA, the North Davidson Arts District in Charlotte; AGDA, the Asheville Downtown Gallery Association; the River Arts District in Asheville; First Friday Gallery Walk in downtown Raleigh; the Second Friday ArtWalk in Chapel Hill/Carrboro; and the Final Friday Cary Art Loop.
Many local arts councils and artist groups organize seasonal studio tours of area artists and, not surprisingly, craft is well represented in most of these events. Some of the more well-known studio tours include the Toe River Studio Tour in the Penland area, which is offered twice a year and the Orange and Chatham County tours, which are scheduled annually in the fall.
And, there are a variety of ways to see craft anytime, including the Charlotte Downtown Walking Tour of public art, the Quilt Trails of Western North Carolina, with multiple driving tours of colorful quilt squares affixed to barns and other buildings throughout the rural countryside, and the renowned Seagrove area potteries, most of which are open year-round. A map of of the area can be obtained from the Seagrove Area Potters Association at www.discoverseagrove.com.