Galleries Visual Arts

Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League Extends Legacy with Autumn Show

Experience and discovery, practice and passion, pictures and words: how often these paths cross. This fertile theme marks the Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League’s (SVFAL) Images and Words exhibition, which will begin with an opening reception from 5–7 p.m. on Friday, September 8, and continue through Tuesday, November 7, at the Red House Gallery in Black Mountain.

Although the artistic works on display speak for themselves, the accompanying literature will sharpen and illuminate the experience. Marianne Reninger, a mixed media artist who co-curates the show with gallery chair Darcy Orr, explains that poems and written inspirations will be featured alongside each piece of art.

Images and Words is truly a marriage between the arts—from artists who use words directly in their work, letters and numbers becoming part of the artistic language,” she says, “to traditional artists just expressing a single emotion: love, danger, beauty, fear or serenity.”

Each artist’s progress and commitment lead members to encourage each other and tighten their focus. “I enjoy the artistic process even with the bumps I hit along the way,” says Meryl Meyer, who, since joining SVFAL, has entered her work into statewide and national Appalachian Pastel Shows. “It begins with a passion to paint a particular subject.”

Underscoring the League’s diverse roots, Meyer’s introduction to the Red House Gallery was not strictly art, but an author’s group, where the members discussed the true co-operative focus of the Red House Gallery. “We are a family that plays, creates and dreams together,” she says.

Numerous workshops allow members to conquer the formidable aspects of unfamiliar mediums. Ginny Moreland, who teaches marbling on paper, adores its unpredictability. “Not everyone would classify it as a ‘fine art,’” she says. “Because of the aqueous medium and its fluid dynamics, the artist has somewhat limited control over how the paint moves. I love the serendipity of the process.”

SVFAL has helped water-colorist Patricia Michael, mother of four and a member for more than 30 years, to never lose sight of her main subjects: “the many moods of nature,” she says, and “the individuality in each person through portraiture … To grasp the quality of innocence in young children is especially difficult and rewarding.”

But the mere presence of other artists is as vital an aspect as any other. “SVFAL offers camaraderie,” says pastel painter Nancy Clausen. “Painting can be a very lonesome process.”

The Red House Gallery is located at 310 West State Street in Black Mountain. Attendance is free. To register your work for exhibition or learn more, call 828.645.2974 or visit

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