Avon Art Show shines spotlight on OBX talent

Last year's Avon Art Show included an array of local artisans. This year, approximately 35 artists will participate in the event, including Outer Banks icon James Melvin, a venerated illustrator and artist.

Hatteras Island is a respite for many people who seek the solitude of its sandy beaches, soothing surf, and squawk of the seagulls overhead. There's plenty to do on the island for those who want a bit of action, both on and off the water, but the island is all about tranquility.

The island appeals to artists for the same reasons, and these creative souls capture the feeling and the energy of the place they call home through paintings, illustrations, sea glass jewelry, sculptures, clay work, metal work, and more. On Thursday, June 27, and Thursday, July 18, their efforts will be showcased at the annual Avon Art Show, and visitors always show up in force.

“The Avon Art Show started a dozen years ago. It was the brainchild of the wonderful photographer Pete LeWando,” says Christina Deneka, president of the Hatteras Island Arts and Crafts Guild. “His vision was to bring leading artists from the region to Avon in the summertime and have a fantastic art show.”

This is a curated, juried show, she says.

"These are some serious heavy hitters,” Deneka says. “This is the premier outdoor art show. We have photographers, potters, carvers, turners, sign artists. It’s a really nice, talented grouping. Stephanie Kiker is an amazing artist… beachy art, and she reproduces it on things like towels, coasters, that sort of thing. We will have Denise Turner, the jeweler. Another fantastic artist. … Gordon from Gordon’s Gallery OBX. Have you ever seen his inked crab? It’s amazing. His work is so exquisite. James Melvin will be there. He’s an icon. Carolina Coto will be joining us, and she’ll bring some originals. The fabulous bird carvers Vic and Ellen Berg will be there, too.”

Deneka is the creator behind Hollow Daze Surf Designs. She makes European-style, handcrafted Castile soap and natural skincare products in her Hollow Daze studio, located in Salvo, 13 miles south of Avon. Her products are made exclusively using essential oils and botanicals free from synthetic fragrances and colors.

The prospect of taking over the organization of Avon Art Show for LeWando was never a question for Deneka.

“Of course, I wanted the shows to keep going because they are actually really good shows. Over the decade, it evolved. At times, there was a fish fry. We don’t do the fish fry anymore.”

At its core, however, the Avon Art Show has remained the same: a showcase for local talent.

“It is first and foremost an art show. We have art, artisans, and fine craft,” Deneka says. “Many of our artists bring originals, for example, and high level pieces of their work that you wouldn’t see at a farmers’ market.”

The event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hatteras Realty Avon Greenspace. 

Deneka expects around 35 local artists to participate in each of the shows, with some variation on who takes part each date.

Though there is a smattering of non-OBX artisans who participate in the event, the Avon Art Show is predominantly made up of Hatteras Island artists.

“At the Avon Art Show, we do a raffle benefiting the Hatteras Island Arts and Crafts Guild, which is a local nonprofit,” she says. “The Guild provides scholarships to artistically inclined graduating seniors. This year, we awarded four $1,000 scholarships, and our raffle helped the cause.”

Should Mother Nature be in a bad mood on the days of the show, Deneka is prepared.

“We are hoping to proceed as planned on Thursday — but this being Cape Hatteras — our rain date is Friday, June 28. The rain date will only kick in if it is something severe, where we think safety is threatened. We’re not talking about sprinkles; we’re talking about thunder and lightning.”

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