From the Editor: July 2020

Gina Malone, Editor

As we all wait for our lives to drift back to calmer waters, where they were before a pandemic, a recession and heightened awareness of racial injustices left us unmoored, I find myself searching the horizon for hope, answers and solace. I always find my consolation in words—reading them, hearing them and writing them.

At The Laurel, press releases arrive constantly, bringing word of all the arts, culture and all-around goodness happening in WNC. Recently, I received one from Lori Greenberg, founder and board president of Aurora Studio & Gallery, a supportive art space that works with artists who have experienced trauma due to mental health needs, homelessness or addiction. She wanted to announce that her organization is staying connected to artists with phone calls and Zoom sessions and by dropping off art supplies and food. Wonderful to know! But among her practical words, I also found this heartening passage: “Making art during turbulent times is one way to navigate. There are times in each of our lives when we truly don’t know which way the boat is heading. All we can do is observe and document our passage. As humans, we can do this through the arts; it is one of the many gifts the arts can bring us.”

In this issue, as always, we try to bring you some of the best of what is being created right now, during this turbulent time. Cover Artist Stephanie Peterson Jones starts every day with art during what she calls “morning meditations,” and Feature Artist Jem Klein encourages embracing creativity sooner rather than later. Two of The Gallery at Flat Rock’s featured artists have joined fellow artists in seeking out stunning landscapes in our region for socially distanced plein air painting sessions. And with Southern Highland Craft Guild’s annual fair for makers happening this month—a virtual occasion—we put the focus on crafters of all sorts, including Libba Tracy, who is raising money for those in need with her pottery.

I hope all of you “make a fair wind of it homeward” with the healing and inspiration that art brings—whether you’re creator, aficionado or patron.

Gina Malone can be reached at

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