YOUR HOMETOWN — Dayton: Artisans Courtyard Keeps Growing
Venue Opens April For New Season
Mark Frazier, the chairman of the Artisans Courtyard of Dayton volunteer network, fixes a sign in preparation for the courtyard’s April 6 opening. This year, the courtyard, which launched in 2011 at the former skate park on Bowman Road, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through June. It picks up again in the fall, running on the same schedule through December. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
Twice Baked Computers’ Charles Carter (left) and Nic Harper (center) show Artisans Courtyard co-op member Eric Blumensen the workings of a 3-D printer. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
Artisans Courtyard co-op member Eric Blumensen (left) and Mark Frazier, chairman of the cooperative’s volunteer network, prepare for the new season Tuesday. photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
Twice Baked Computers’ Charles Carter holds an example of what can be created with a 3-D printer, which will be featured at the Artisans Courtyard of Dayton this season. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
Out-of-town visitors, in particular, are looking to get to know and understand the creator, said Mark Frazier, chairman of the courtyard’s nonprofit volunteer network.
“So many of the tourists from Massanutten want to connect with something more than just a shopping experience,” he said. “They’re interested in things that connect them to the heritage of the artisans of the area.”
Frazier said the realization was one of the “great insights” gleaned since the courtyard launched in November 2011 at the former skate park on Bowman Road in Dayton.
Organizers plan to capitalize on that as they gear up for the courtyard’s spring season, which begins April 6.
“It’s vital to have live demonstrations of artists and have a rotation in terms of special events, which we did some last year,” Frazier said.
The courtyard features portable gallery buildings, an open-air common area and stage. The property along Cooks Creek was converted into an arts hub in fall 2011 through a lease agreement with the town of Dayton.
This year, the courtyard will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through June. It will pick up again in September, running on the same schedule through December.
The courtyard also participates in town special events, including Dayton Days in the fall and the upcoming Redbud Festival.
About 30 vendors plan to participate in a spring arts and crafts festival as part of Redbud, which will be held on April 27 throughout Dayton.
“It’s such a great venue for outdoor celebrations,” said Judith Rocchiccioli, who owns Shenandoah Art Works gallery and gift shop at the courtyard.
3-D printing will be featured when the courtyard opens in a couple of weeks.
An outgrowth of the courtyard is the Artisan Galleries Cooperative, which opened a Harrisonburg gallery in October at 320 S. Main St. and has a gallery at 230 Bowman Road in Dayton next to the courtyard.
Rocchiccioli is chairwoman of the cooperative, which offers classes in Dayton and in Harrisonburg.
Money will be raised during the upcoming season to provide scholarships to children who want to take classes, with a focus on local kids who may not be able to afford to go otherwise.
LauraLea Marlyn-Spitler, president of the Artisans Courtyard Volunteer Network, said the courtyard is not just for established artists.
Rather, she said, all are welcome to contribute.
“We just embrace the opportunity to have emerging artists getting into the field to learn from us or maybe even we learn from them,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to invite them to play.”
Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or firstname.lastname@example.org