Arts Studio Tour
driving tour debuts
with goal of promoting local artists
Granges Ellis will entertain visitors
at her Main Street studio
Helen E. McKinney
(September 2006) It has been Valerie Timmons
Ellis dream for some time to open an art gallery. Luckily for
Oldham Countians, she chose La Grange, Ky., for the location.
Since the downtown La Grange area has been revitalized over the last
few years, Ellis said her dream seemed to fit right in with all the
progress taking place.
by Don Ward
Timmons-Ellis poses with some of
her artwork in her studio in downtown
La Grange. She is among 70 artists
participating in the tour.
She opened Galerie Timon in April 2006 at 125 E. Main
St. Since then, she has taken in works to display by other artists from
Oldham and Henry Counties and Louisville.
Ellis, 49, is a painter and photographer who provides a wide scope of
different types of artwork in her gallery. She specializes in portraiture
and has also dabbled in oil painting. Ive not really settled
on a style, said Ellis, whose artwork ranges from realistic to
She received her first camera, a Polaroid Swinger, for her 11th birthday
but has had no formal photography training.
Ellis took group-painting lessons 10 years ago, which reinvigorated
her photography skills. She sometimes combines the two art forms in
her hand-colored photographs.
Ellis has decided to participate in the Original Oldham Studio Tour
and Art Sale on Sept. 16-17. This unique new driving tour is scheduled
from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The tour
features 32 studios and 70 artists.
The idea began when Oldham County artist Kate Fisher was looking for
a way to promote the arts in Oldham County and came across an event
in North Carolina that was too good not to model an event after in Oldham
County. She devised a way to showcase artists and their works, while
donating to a charitable cause.
For the past 15 years, Chatham County, N.C., has played host to a similar
driving studio tour. This was such an attractive event,
said Fisher, who custom hand-paints interior fabrics. She saw no reason
why this same idea would not work in Oldham County.
Each stop along the tour will be an artists home or neighboring
home that may have more space to display artwork.
Additional artists may gather at some locations. Fisher will have four
at her home and one studio will feature up to nine artists, she said.
Timmons will also have accompanying artists at her gallery to display
paintings, photos and woodturned items. All items are for sale. There
are no jury or booth fees, nor do artists have to worry with constructing
and filling a 10x10-foot booth space or demonstrating constantly throughout
Its just a fabulous opportunity for exposure and sales,
said Ellis. I hope it brings people to downtown La Grange who
have not been here in a while or not at all. Its good for La Grange
and the county.
County Arts Studio Tour
Hours: 10 a.m. 6 p.m. Saturday; Noon
6 p.m. Sunday.
Tour Show & Preview Party: Join the artists
for a tour kickoff party Friday, Sept. 15, at Will Crawfords
historic Westport, Ky., home, 6805 Main St. An auction is to be
held to showcase the artists, help fund the event, raise money
for charity. Tickets $75 and includes food. To reserve, call (502)
222-6553 or Kate Fisher at (502) 222-9439.
Performing arts are definitely in Ellis blood. She
is also a classically trained signer. Ellis earned a bachelors
degree in geology from Western Kentucky University and a J.D. from the
Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. She accepts
commissioned and non-commissioned projects.
In addition to relying on the North Carolina event as a model, Fisher
and the participating artists also took note of a studio tour held in
Bowling Green, Ky., for the past eight years. Organizers of this event
have been extremely helpful in planning the Oldham County tour, said
The Oldham County Tourism Commission has awarded a $10,475 grant to
assist in initiating what organizers hope will become an annual event.
This funding enabled organizers to create and print a brochure. The
Tourism Commission required regional advertising before awarding money.
Oldham County Tourism Commission Director Keli Quinn said the commission
provided funding because they see it as an event that will attract
people not only from Oldham County, but the entire region. The
commissions goal is to bring people into Oldham County, where
they can choose to spend the night and eat at local restaurants.
This type of weekend event makes this more likely to happen,
said Quinn. Tourism is funded through a hotel-motel tax, so the more
tourists there are staying overnight in Oldham County, the more money
there is available through the Tourism Commission to fund such events.
A silent auction will be held the previous evening at a Preview Party
for patrons and artists. Cost is $75 per person and includes refreshments
at Westport resident Will Crawfords historic home.
Artists were asked to donate items for the auction. Proceeds will go
to two beneficiaries, said Fisher. Organizers hope to provide gifts
to F.E.A.T. (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) and to an Oldham
County High School senior who chooses to pursue a career in the arts
by attending an arts school or college.
Fisher said she began calling artists in January to organize this event.
She said the best thing about this tour is that it is so artist
For more information, contact Kate Fisher
at (502) 222-9439 or visit: www.westportgeneralstore.com.
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