No visit to the Museum is complete without stopping by the 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.
Lola York (Lindsey), is a multidisciplinary artist whose studio practice incorporates mixed-media work, writing, and performing arts. Since age 10, she has moved among creative endeavors, ever chasing the oneness that connects all art forms. Lola has exhibited her artwork throughout the Southeast and is currently working on a book combining collage, painting, poetry and prose. During her 15 year performing career, she performed the work of over 30 choreographers for stage, film, and television, and toured professionally throughout the US and abroad. Lola holds a BA in Dance with high honors from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. She has trained extensively in method acting techniques and is currently represented by Screen Artists Talent. An Abingdon, Virginia native, Lola is thrilled to be resident artist at William King where she took her first dance class and looked forward to art camp each summer. You can find her on instagram at @lolayorkr. Click here to visit her Instagram
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.
Growing up as an Abingdon Virginia native, Jennifer Counts was immersed in the arts and culture of the southern Appalachian region at an early age. She credits her inherent inspiration from nature and her creative ingenuity to her Cherokee roots. Now, using any and all artistic media to express herself, Jennifer is forging her own path as a working artist in the region. In 2008 she started her own company branding both her fine art and jewelry designs under the name Grass Roots Studio. Jennifer enjoys painting in oil but has several other bodies of work in which she uses acrylic inks and other various media. In addition to painting, she also designs unique pieces of wearable art by combining her interest in healing crystals and gemstones with her skills in metalsmithing, wood-burning, and the ability to create various components from found objects. She aims to create pieces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also help people regain their inner balance of mind, body, and spirit. Jennifer's jewelry is juried into Heartwood, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway and she is a member of Round the Mountain Artisan Network. Her work can be found in many galleries and shops around the region. Click here to check out her Facebook.
Kyle Buckland was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in January of 1984. Both parents fostered in him a deep appreciation for the arts and nature. As a child, his home was filled with a myriad of art objects and hundreds of art books of all genre. At age 14, after reading John Rewald’s The History of Impressionism, he began to take a keen interest in the French painters and the philosophies regarding plein air painting. He first became infatuated with the work of Monet, specifically his use of blues and purples to depict shadows and his ability to capture colored atmosphere. At about age 15, he purchased Daniel Wildenstein’s four volume, fifteen-hundred page catalogue raisonne of Monet’s work, and within a year he had literally worn the covers off the books. Within this same period, he moved with his family from the inner city of Wilmington, five hundred miles south, to the Appalachian region of Southwestern Virginia where his father's family was originally from. There, surrounded by mountains and lakes and thousand acre farms (some older than America, herself), he began to emulate the greats by moving outdoors and painting en plein air. At age 16, he began a long personal and obsessive journey in an attempt to capture the colored nuances of the world around him. Today, his style of painting, which is deeply rooted in the fundamental philosophies regarding Impressionism, is as unique as his subject matter is inviting. His work has been featured in Plein Air Magazine on multiple occasions. He has won numerous awards, conducted paint-outs and taught painting classes at every level. His work is represented in hundreds of private, public and corporate collections around the world. He now resides in a small nineteenth century farm house/studio in Abingdon, Virginia, with his lovely wife, Jennifer, an artist in her own right, and their two dogs and two cats. Click here to check out his Website and Facebook.
Stephen Curd, Lavelle Manufacturing
My name is Stephen Curd and I am the Owner/Designer behind the Lavelle Manufacturing Label. We specialize in custom clothing, accessories and leather goods. I have been in the fashion industry for over 15 years working in customer service, client relationships and building a brand from the ground up. Being in the custom clothing industry, I have learned how to be patient and pay attention to the details of every project. It's important to me that I offer a service that is both personal and worth your time and mine as well. I want you to be happy and completely satisfied when you leave with your garment. I pride myself on my attention to detail, manufacturing local, creating jobs and supporting something that is sustainable and that will last a lifetime. Lavelle Denim is an American made product using textiles, YKK zippers and closures that are produced in the USA. I stand behind my handmade American products. By choosing to keep my fabrics and manufacturing resourced in the United States, jobs continue to be created and available for the American worker. The Lavelle namesake is something that is very dear to me. Lavelle was not only my grandmother's name; it is also a family name. Eva Lavelle Curd was a daughter, mother and a huge role model and inspiration in my life starting at a young age. She wanted each of her grandchildren to know the basics of how to sew on a button and darn a sock. We spent many years working on creative projects that helped teach me patience, attention to detail and the love behind handmade goods that has resonated and become such an integral part of Lavelle. Over the last 15 years Lavelle has grown as a company and is finally able to give back the many years of experience and technical skills that I have learned along the way. In 2022 my plan is to offer classes, workshops and create products that are accessible to the community and my clients all over. Click here to visit his Website
Kel Basavraham, Poet
Kel Basavraham, Poet (they/them/theirs), Life Story (Poem): "death a friend since birth light fades soon, a shadowed ridge waits a feathered wake". Kel, while not an Appalachian poet per se, has lived in Appalachia for more than half their life. Their poetry is very much grounded in place and time, though like any artist Kel has the ability to skip the light fantastic in the spacetime continuum. So references even today can be used from deep roots going back to very early times and interests, thus accounting for the bayous and Greek philosophical/literary themes (childhood and young adulthood) to city and synagogue life(adulthood and grad school) and finally to more mountainous and Buddhist fare (mid to current years).
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