Bridging The Gap For Art

New ‘Gallery Hop’ Showcases Scenery, Local Art
Daily News-Record  4/4/19
 ELKTON — It’s all about supporting local artists and taking the scenic route from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this weekend.
The inaugural Bridge the Gap for Art event, which is a gallery hop between SoLace Fine Handcrafts in Elkton and Noon Whistle Pottery in Stanardsville, is set for Saturday and Sunday.
SoLace owner, Barbara Polin, and Noon Whistle owners, John Pluta and Holly Horan, came up with the idea last spring to encourage people to take the scenic drive between both galleries, which includes a drive over the Shenandoah National Park.
“We were trying to figure out a way to encourage both local residents and tourists to drive over the mountains to see fine handcrafted items that represent both American and regional craftsmen,” Polin said. “Sometimes, the mountain is seen as a barrier, which is why we came up with the concept ‘Bridge the Gap for Art.’” Pluta said between his business and Polin’s, about 400 American artists are represented.
“I think local art is hard to find these days,” he said. “These two shops are unique because we have fine handcrafted items and make a point to bring in different artists into the shop so that we don’t carry the same thing by the same people.”
The two shops are only 15 miles from each other, located in Rockingham and Green counties.
Although the free event mainly takes place this weekend, the featured artists’ work will be on exhibit in both stores through May 31.
SoLace Studios will feature original work, including watercolors by Janet Write, rug hooking by Nancy Slye and nuno felting by Johlene Hess.
A Bowl of Good, located in Harrisonburg, will provide tapas and Brix and Columns Vineyards of McGaheysville will offer wine sampling while a live band plays jazz music.
“We want this to be a celebration,” Polin said. “It’s spring and beautiful outside, and we want to encourage people to support the arts as well.”
Polin applied for a grant from the Virginia Tourism Corp. to allow her to do the project, although she did not say how much funding the grant provided.
“It was important to partner up with another local store to promote artists because that’s what really brings this all together,” she said.
At Noon Whistle Pottery, attendees can meet the Central Virginia Textile Artists, who will exhibit tapestry and loomed wall pieces along with scarves.
Artist Allan Young will feature “upcycled found object clocks.”
Flaming BonBons Catering Co. will provide desserts and Kilaurwen Winery will provide wine tastings while traditional Irish music is played by Dusty Hedgehogs, Dal Riata and other local musicians.
“I’m really looking forward to the turnout and the wine tastings,” Pluta said. “It’ll also be nice to see some new folks around in the shops supporting us and local artists.”
Polin said that if the event goes well, she could see it expanding in the future.
For more information on the event, visit