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A visit to Tryon’s Upstairs Artspace gallery -- or any gallery, for that matter -- affords the visitor a chance to see a clean, final, mounted work of art, such as a framed painting on the wall or a sculpture on a pedestal, in a pristine setting, under bright lights. 

What the visitor won’t see in the gallery are the artists -- standing amid their wood shavings on the floor after carving a block of wood, with paint thinner-soaked rags piled in the corner, with shelves of works in progress, stacked folios of practice pieces, jars of brushes standing in murky water, clay dust covered kilns, and surrounded by scraps, shards, twigs, clay blocks, fabric pieces, metal wire….the myriad building blocks of masterpieces. 

To see an artist at work and in their milieu is indeed a treat, an educational, sensory and social delight. And, it’s an opportunity that comes around in the fall each year with Foothills Art Trek, organized by Upstairs Artspace, Tryon’s contemporary art gallery. Now in its eleventh year, the Trek draws hundreds of artists and art lovers from all over the Foothills and it has become a must see, must do event on our community's local arts calendar. This year the exhibition will open on October 4th, and run through Oct. 18th. Many artists have opened their studio doors each year of ArtTrek, and all are worth a knock on the studio door! Studios are open from 10 am to 5 pm on October 4th, and from noon to 5 pm on Sunday, Oct. 5th.

Geographically, Art Trek includes art studios in Polk & Henderson Counties in NC, and the Landrum SC area. Types of studios are as varied as the artists who occupy them - some are in homes or garages, some have devoted studio space, others will be sharing studio space. A printed map is available at the gallery and at area businesses (online, too) that pinpoints the studio locations and highlights the artists who will be available to greet visitors. The self-driving, self-directed tour allows the visitor to see as many studios as time and desire permit. Watch for the bright orange directional signs!

No weekend trek would be complete without a kickoff, so organizers are hosting a preview reception and silent auction on Friday October 4th at 5 pm at Upstairs Artspace, 49 S. Trade Street in Tryon. On both mornings of ArtTrek, visitors are welcome to fuel up on coffee and pastries at Upstairs Artspace from 9 to 11 am on Saturday and 10 am to noon on Sunday. Participating artists, friends and family, sponsors, and the public are also invited to the closing reception to thank our artists and sponsors on Oct. 12 at 5 pm. Call us at 828-859-2828 for more information.

Click HERE to view and/or download our 2019 Call for Artists letter, details regarding ArtTrek, and our Letter of Agreement  

2018 participating artists

Columbus – 
• Harriet Spencer
Mill Spring – 
• BJ Precourt
Tryon – 
• Ann Gleason * (designates person whose studio is open) with: (multiple artists)
• Martine House & Jimmi Buell
• Diana Gurri* with Bob Neely (multiple artists)
• Marie King* with Charlotte Kean (multiple artists)
• Vicki Van Vynckt*
• Christine Mariotti*
• Keith Spencer*
• Lori Heckleman*
• David Zacharias*
• Suzanne Zoole*
• Chuck Mattern*
• Mary Lou Diekmann* (multiple artists) with: Judith Muncy
• Corey McNabb* 
• Becky Hyatt Rickenbaker
Saluda – 
• Dale McEntire* (multiple artists) with: 
• Alexia Timberlake Boyd & Kristen Mode
• Bonnie Bardos*
• Laura Polanco*
Landrum – 
• Toby Wolter* (multiple artists) with:
• Libby Skamfer, Jim Cullen & Grace Letora
• Hague Williams* (multiple artists) with Merry-Beth Noble
• David Cedrone*

We would like to thank these sponsors for Art Trek 2018

A Taste of Olives and Grapes; Vines of Tryon; Packard Woodworks, Inc.; Edward Jones; Main Street Financial Group, Inc.; Tryon Bottle, LLC; Foothills Realty; TD Bank; Tryon Cinema, LLC; MS Hammett Construction, LLC; Tryon Builders; Stott’s Ford; John Walters Architect, PLLC; The Millstone Gallery; Heartwood Gallery; Green River BBQ; Saluda Historic Depot; Wildflour Bakery, Inc.; HomeTrust Bank; Thomas & Patricia Trobaugh; J. Alan and Harriet Peoples; Amber Keeran; Allyn Johnson; Raymond McLees; Cathy Brettman & Joe Cooper; and Alexia Timberlake Boyd.

  • Polk County Community Foundation
    Polk County Community Foundation

    Upstairs Artspace is supported, in part, by the Polk County Community Foundation