June 24--WAYNESBORO -- The idea was formed in spring of 2013 to gather volunteers who could transform seven vacant storefronts in downtown Waynesboro into full-scale art galleries for 15 weeks, attracting local residents as well as occasional visitors to come view and buy artwork and enjoy live entertainment, in the hope of turning those storefronts into permanent galleries.
Accomplishing all of these goals through the "Destination ARTS!" initiative may have seemed implausible at first, but sure enough, each one was achieved. And, now, organizers are ready to do it all again.
"We really weren't sure what to expect when this all got started," said Andrew Sussman, creator of Destination ARTS! "But, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that there are a lot of people in this community who have a passion for the arts, whether that be visual, performing or just coming to enjoy the work of others."
This year's initiative launches the evening of June 27 with a grand opening reception at 5 p.m. in Gallery 50, located at 50 W. Main St. Activities are also planned from 5 to 8 p.m. at 42 West ARTS Co-Op, 42 W. Main St., Gallery 20 East, 20 E. Main St., The Contemporary School of the Arts & Gallery, 10 E. Main St. and The Ceramic Arts Center of Waynesboro, 13 S. Church St.
A recently announced new gallery, "Through the Lens -- Gallery 74 West," is expected to be open in time. It will feature photography.
There will be no shortage of live music filling the air in the downtown district during the opening weekend.
Performing June 27 night outside the galleries will be The Negley Brothers, The Little Sisters Band, G@G and Unheard Of.
On June 28, Waynesboro Children's Theatre Troupe will perform.
The weekend's entertainment comes to a close June 29 with classical pianist Daniel Lawson and The Wayne Band, each scheduled to appear on Main Street.
For exact times and locations of each performance, visit the website of the Arts Alliance of Greater Waynesboro at artsalliancegw.org, where updates will be posted.
After opening weekend, Destination ARTS! activities will continue each weekend through Oct. 5, with paintings, pottery, photography, sculptures, jewelry, furniture and other works of art on display in each of the galleries. All of it will be for sale.
Regular gallery hours are 1-4 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 5-8 p.m. Fridays, and noon-6 p.m. Saturdays.
In addition to the artwork and live music, visitors can also look forward to artist demonstrations, book signings, workshops, children's classes and much more.
Sussman said, "Downtown Waynesboro is highlighted by unique architecture, fascinating history, fine dining and a pair of candy stores where mouthwatering chocolates are made. But, now, the town has also been transformed into an arts destination, and we invite you to come see what the buzz is all about."
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