Arts Communities

RAD Artists Open Doors for Annual Studio Stroll

RAD Studio Stroll

(Left) Bamboo in the Rain. Denise Markbreit, artist; (Right) Pattern Context Floral. Leslie Rowland

By Gina Malone

The River Arts District Artists’ Studio Stroll takes place Saturday, November 13, and Sunday, November 14. Demonstrations, exhibitions and special sales are planned, with studios open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some evening events are also planned. With sidewalks and improved traffic patterns making the River Arts District (RAD) more walkable and much safer for all, the event promises an opportunity to connect with favorite artists in their element, meet brand-new artists and purchase art ahead of the holiday shopping season.

“Fall Stroll marks the change of seasons for me and represents the beginning of a more quiet and reflective time of year,” says Leslie Rowland. “I love every time of year in Asheville, but this season always moves me.” On display in her gallery will be works inspired by the colors of nature at this time of year. “Works with the fall-inspired hues are part of my Out of Context series that juxtaposes repeating patterns presented out of context so that they are not easily recognizable,” says Rowland. “These patterns are offered in juxtaposition to more recognizable forms like flowers. Repeating patterns both intrigue and reassure me, so I love to use them.”

Little Boxes. Mark Bettis, artist

Rowland will also be showing the work of Tess Darling in her Riverview Station gallery (Suite 101) during the Stroll. “An accomplished Asheville artist, Tess specializes in wildlife- and ecology-inspired works on canvas,” says Rowland. Darling’s large-scale paintings and detailed drawings recreate subjects with gesticulate line work, structure and layering techniques.

Painter Gail Sauter is the newest resident artist at NorthLight Studios and will be painting and welcoming visitors for her first Stroll. “I’m an avid people-watcher and Asheville certainly provides plenty of fodder for my paintings,” says Sauter. “I love the vitality and liveliness I find on our streets, in our restaurants and in our neighborhoods. With paint and brushes in hand, I move freely between observation, memory and invention—capturing people in the act of being themselves.”

Elise Okrend always looks forward to the energy that this autumn event brings to the RAD. She will be demonstrating with pastels both days of the Stroll from 12—5 p.m. in her Wedge studio. “I really enjoy educating visitors about soft pastels and my process,” says Okrend. “I will be demonstrating how to use soft pastels on sanded paper to achieve atmospheric landscapes.”

Exhibitions planned during the Stroll weekend include Little Pleasures, an exhibit of smaller works by the artists of 310 Art, and Little Boxes Where We Dwell: Habitats, Spaces, and Reflections, a curated exhibit at the Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery. The opening reception for Little Boxes will be held Saturday, November 13, from 4—7 p.m. Artist Cheryl Keefer will present an exhibit titled Thankful for the Little Things in her Warehouse Studios gallery. Works on 5”x 7” and 8”x 8” canvases offer “spontaneous brushwork and wonderful little vignettes of mountains and mists and, of course, umbrellaed figures in colorful city reflections,” says Keefer.

Many artists will be present in their studios working and demonstrating their techniques. They include Denise Markbreit at Asheville Print Studio, Peter Roux at Sky + Ground Contemporary Art, Stephen Lange at Phil Mechanic Studios, Philip DeAngelo at Philip DeAngelo Studio, the artists of North Carolina Glass Center, Dee and Bruce Santorini at Trackside Studios and Nadine Charlsen at NorthLight Studios.

For a complete schedule of events and times, a map and a studio guide to the district’s artists, visit

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