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Blue Ridge Art ClanThe Blue Ridge Art Clan was formed in 1978 by Florence Thomas and her art students to encourage and enhance the creation of new art in the High Country.  The Clan’s 40th anniversary was celebrated recently during the Shadow of the Hills exhibition at the Ashe Arts Council.  For several years the Clan met during monthly visits of the influential Charlotte-based artist and teacher, John Brady.  John was a mentor to the Clan during their first decade and was greatly responsible for the high quality of artwork produced by this group.  In subsequent years, more than 100 different accomplished artists have contributed to the Clan’s growth through demonstrations, critiques and workshops.  Clan instructors share their insights, techniques, passion, enthusiasm and helpful criticism with members covering a broad range of art.

The Blue Ridge Art Clan meets on the fourth Saturday morning of the month at 9:30 AM from April through October.  They also gather for informal critique sessions at the Florence Thomas Art School over the winter.  Guests are welcome at any meeting for a free “look see.”  More than two dozen current members comprise a full range of artists from beginners to professionals who work in watercolor, oils, acrylics, pastels, pencil, pen & ink, collage, alcohol ink, and other media.  Clan members exhibit (and offer their work for sale) in multiple venues in addition to the Shadow of the Hills.  These include opportunities at the Florence Thomas Art School, the Watauga County Arts Council, the Ashe County Library, and at selected art galleries. Clan members have competed in the Best of the Blue Ridge at the Ashe Arts Center, since the inception of this exhibition in 2006.  At this annual juried event, Blue Ridge Art Clan members have won the Best in Show award three times and other awards on at least 7 occasions.




The Blue Ridge Art Clan program for the 2021 season is as follows:

Meeting DateProgramInstructor or Host
March 13BRAC member directed critique
NOTE: 1:00 P.M. at Florence Thomas Art School
Evalynn Halsey
April 21Slideshow / Q&A via Zoom on how to submit an exhibit proposalAlicyn Wiedrich
May 22Capturing the Light: Helpful watercolor techniques to implement in painting nature themesClaire Simpson Jones
June 26Critique:  Preparation for Shadow of the HillsJeremy Sams
July 24Demo: Small scenes on clapboardKathy Rosenberger
August 28Demo: Faux Metal SculpturePegge Laine
Sep 25Critique:  Preparation for Best of the Blue RidgeSuzanne Hetzel
Oct 23Expressive Arts WorkshopPat Morrison

For more information about the Blue Ridge Art Clan or how to become a member, please contact Clan president, Susan Van Wyk ( or
Dues remain at just $45 for the full year if paid by May 1 and increase to $55 if paid after that date.  Dues may be paid at any meeting or by mailing a check made out to BRAC to Treasurer, Susie Donahue, at P.O. Box 25, Fleetwood, NC 28626.