Watauga Valley Art League: Building up artists for 50 years

Published 10:48 pm Monday, March 9, 2020

The Watauga Valley Art League will be turning 50 this year.

The organization began in November of 1970 with under 30 members and put on their first art show with over 80 pieces on display.

Judy Cable, vice president of the organization, said that the goal was always  to develop skills and share a love of art.

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“Their desire was to develop art skills, share their love of art with others and encourage fellow artists,” she said. “That is still a desire to this day.”

Cable said that besides the monthly meetings that take place at Sycamore Shoals, the group also holds workshops, hosts outings and even has outreach programs that are all centered around art. She said members come from all walks of life, ranging from teachers to professional artists with pieces shown all over the world. She said that the group is good for building each other up as well.

Cable, a painter from California, discovered the group three years ago after she and her husband moved here and she wanted to continue her art. Cable said she keeps her excitement for art alive with new members as they join. Since joining this group, she feels her own art has improved.

“I’ve improved leaps and bounds,” she laughed.

Cable said the group pushes artists to improve, as it does for her.

“I think the encouragement we get from each other, that camaraderie among fellow artists, we are always learning from each other and challenging each other,” she said. “The league also provides a resource to display and sell artwork.”

An art show celebrating 50 years will be taking place in July, and a dinner will be held in November in celebration as well. Cable said the group is also working with a poetry society to make a book that pairs poems to art from the league.

“The whole reason we are doing this is because we want to make a book that we hope to have done by the end of the year,” she said. “It would be really cool to have a book with all the artists who want to participate and have it published.”

Cable said that the group is still growing.

“At every meeting, generally, I am seeing one to three new faces with people wanting to check us out who end up joining before they leave.”

For more information on the Watauga Valley Art League, you can go to www.wataugavalleyartleague.com or check out their Facebook page. Monthly meetings take place on the second Sunday of every month from 1:30-3 p.m. at Sycamore Shoals.

“I came to one of our shows and I didn’t think my art was worthy of being shown,” said Cable. “It was at that show that one of my larger and more expensive pieces was sold. So that said I was good enough. Art is so subjective and artists are their hardest critics. Never put your artwork down. There may be room for improvement, but don’t ever shoot your artwork down, and don’t ever think it isn’t good enough.”