Once a year, the gym at Webb School of Knoxville is transformed into a fine art gallery for the school’s ArtXtravaganza, which brings dozens of artists together in a juried show and sale. The 19th annual event takes place Friday through Sunday, March 1-3, at the school, 9800 Webb School Lane.
The 65 artists on display work in many forms, from watercolor to wood to metal. Event chair Jennifer Moffitt, who has two sons in middle school at Webb, says price points range from less than $50 all the way up to thousands.
There are two featured artists this year, painter Elaine Jackson and potter John Sellberg. Artists come from all over, with several East Tennessee favorites represented. These include woodworker Gordon Fowler, jewelry maker Jessica Weiss and Marisa Ray, who creates portraits of whimsical animal characters.
Moffitt says that in addition to the chance to purchase art at the show, attendees will see a large exhibition of not-for-sale works created by lower-, middle- and high-school students. It’s a chance for the community and the Webb families to see the wide variety of creative work the students are producing.
Many of these works were created in conjunction with the school’s artist-in-residence program, in which nationally known artists are brought in to work side by side with students. Two such artists are brought to the school each year to teach for four to six weeks.
“It’s really special for the kids,” Moffitt says.
Artists keep 75 percent of the proceeds from the art they sell; 25 percent is tax-deductible for buyers. The school uses the monies it raises to support the artist-in-residence program and also shares them with the local Community School of the Arts.
Calls for artists go out in spring, and a selection committee begins narrowing the choices in fall. Moffitt says there is no shortage of applicants, as word has gotten out about the event’s large attendance and extra hospitality.
“We go out of our way to treat the artists with respect,” Moffitt says.