No visit to the Museum is complete without stopping by to chat with some of our studio spaces to chat with our talented team of working artists! The Museum’s studio artist program is open to visual artists working in all media. While taking advantage of large, well-lit studios, artists provide opportunities for school and public audiences to observe art in process. Swing by for a discussion or to see our artists at work!
Margaret Gregg is an experimental visual artist. She got into the arts when she discovered a love in decorating for Christmas and parties as a child. Dance, liturgies, and festival decorations followed-- Margaret would design posters and publications related to the events. She then progressed into more interactive forms, such as film, video and theatre which were more focused on specific cultural, regional, and political themes. Over the course of her artistic career, Margaret studied at various learning centers with great people. She created a production line of hats and clothing in order to support herself. She enjoys the creative environment of WKMA's resident artist program and hopes it will continue to open more creative adventures on her path.
Cecelia Pippin is a painter and ceramic artist. Currently, Pippin’s focus is in painting with oil, watercolor, and alcohol inks. Pippin has been a professional educator all her adult life. Her specialty is instructing in the art process with youth and adults. Pippin is a Washington County Master Gardener and, while teaching, always tries to impart environmental and plant education into lessons. Pippin earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Virginia and takes continuing education classes at Penland School of Arts and Crafts in Penland, NC and Odyssey Center for Ceramic Art in Asheville, NC.
O. Lynn Price is a self-taught portrait sculptor who has been creating art for as long as he can remember. His daughters, Lisa and Lori, have been an inspiration to his art-making process. Lynn offers instructed and supervised self-guided classes in his studio.
Melinda Fritts Payne
Melina Fritts Payne owns The Muddy Hound Pottery. She earned a degree in Studio Art from East Tennessee State University where she studied painting and ceramics. Often seeking to create joy with her work, she often mixes whimsical imagery and floral themes. Melinda has taught pottery, drawing, and painting both in her studio and for various organizations around the Tri-Cities. Her work is available for purchase at Necessities, Barter Theatre, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and, of course, in her studio at WKMA.
Kenna Calhoun is an Abingdon, VA based portrait photographer. She received her photography degree from Virginia Intermont and has been in photography for 15 years. She specializes in newborn and family portraits. Of her work she says, "I truly love the beauty and genuine emotions that come from real moments so I love to document those sweet moments in time for families and couples."
Fiona Zahnke began her life in clay in the early 1970s when she studied ceramics at Michigan State University's Pewabic Pottery, where she became particularly interested in Raku Firing and salt-fired ware. After a stint teaching ceramics at Iowa's McNaider Museum, she moved with her family to Big Stone Gap, VA. Fiona has taught courses in hand building and wheel throwing at Mountain Empire Community College and the University of Virginia's College at Wise. She was also an artist-in-residence at Powell Valley High School and ran her own studio, Powell River Pottery. In 2000, she was selected as a finalist for the Governor's Award for the Arts. In addition to her work in ceramics, Fiona also enjoys fiber work including weaving, knitting, and felting.
Eric Drummond Smith
Eric Drummond Smith is a native of Bluefield, West Virginia. He received his BA in political science, art, and geography from Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia; his MA in East Asian studies from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; and his PhD in political science with specialties in international and comparative politics from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. He is an Associate Professor of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise where he is responsible for instruction of courses in the international and comparative politics subfields, as well as most classes in political philosophy and theory. His current research is on the logic of regime change and durability in classical Chinese thought of the Zhou, Qin, and Han Dynasties. Smith regards himself as not fitting well into any particular school of art. His work draws particularly from expressionism and neo-expressionism; surrealism; classical animation, comics, political and propaganda art, and advertising art; pop art; Chinese and Japanese traditional calligraphy, painting, and printing; folk art (particularly Appalachian, Southern, Latin American, Sub-Saharan African, and native American and Polynesian); northern European painting and printmaking of the Renaissance (especially Bosch, Bruegel, and Dürer); ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamian art; and art brut. He is principally a two-dimensional artist, principally drawing and painting on paper, wood, and canvas (stretched and unstretched). His artistic work intentionally tries to blur the line between fine art and folk art, not to mention exploring the tensions generated by and in politics, history, faith, literature, music and the ordinary lives of (particularly Appalachian) people.
A native of West Texas, Holly Thomas moved to Southwest VA with her beloved husband Jim many years ago, and fell in love with this area. The two of them operated a successful award-winning decorative painting and historical restoration business for many years, and founded a local charity, Theo's Pocket 501(c)(3) art outreach. Currently, Holly is focusing more on teaching art and developing her fine art skills in several media. Her goal is to capture inner energy and hope with her 'Soul Art' series, and hone her traditional plein air oil and acrylic skills (Facebook/HollyThomasArt). She teaches homeschool artists, and specializes in teaching art to students who may be afraid of beginning an art journey, or those who have physical issues to overcome to develop their artistic skills.
Laura Marie Blankenship
Laura Marie Blankenship is founder of LaMB Fine Art, blurring the lines between art and craft. She studied painting before going rogue. Now she experiments with natural materials, functional works, upcycling old things, and is currently selling paintings from years of painting live at concerts over on her website lambfineart.com At her core, Laura is a lover of mama earth, hiker, seeker, and guide. She has been making art and walking the mountains of southwest Virginia, northeast Tennessee, and western north Carolina in her dreams before she was born, and ever since. She was raised in Abingdon by the art she found within it and the mountains that surround it. May her work be a bridge for you to seek the beauty within and find the truth of your own life.
Rachael Hulme is an artist and educator based in Abingdon. As an artist, her personal photographic work explores themes of humor and failure through elaborate still life constructions using a mixture of digital and analog tools. As an art educator, she designs choice-based curricula for K-20 learners with a focus on personal meaning-making. She was the recipient of the Jan Meyer ’87 Traveling Fellowship Grant in 2014, the Patricia Lyon Krongard Award for Art Education in 2015, and has participated in fellowships through the Maine College of Art in Portland and the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Her work has been exhibited nationally and featured in publications by Featureshoot, aint-bad, Lenscratch, and the New York Times. She holds a BFA in Photography and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
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