Fiddle Crawl designs pour in; sponsors sought

Jessica Johnson Staff reporter

December 20, 2013

Downtown Mount Airy’s first public art Fiddle Crawl moved one step closer to fruition with the completion of the artist application process.

Twenty-three designs were submitted to the Mount Airy Downtown group and evaluated by the promotions committee this week to prepare for the next step —matching sponsors with artists.

Artists from across the region sent in two-dimensional designs to represent their vision for the large, three-dimensional fiberglass fiddle sculptures. The artists who receive sponsors will decorate and paint the fiberglass fiddle sculptures, which will arrive in February, “primed and ready to paint.” Artists will work on their creations until April, Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison explained.

The Fiddle Scrawl sculpture reveal will take place on May 2, 2014, then sculptures without reserves will be auctioned off in October to support funding for downtown economic development.

Morrison said the group is “actively seeking” sponsors, with MAD promotion committee members serving as the “bridge between artists and sponsors,” each armed with notebooks containing two-dimensional design renderings the artists created as part of the application process.

Members of the Mount Airy Downtown promotions committee gathered early Monday morning to evaluate the artist applications that poured in, small works of art that were spread across the the table, end to end with colorful designs — “such a good visualization of what this fiddle crawl will be,” MAD board member and promotions committee member Gail Theard remarked. Theard took part in the initial review of the artist applications, along with board member and promotions committee member Jennie Lowry and board member and promotions chair Amy Slate, all who stood in awe and delight with Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison, as they gazed upon the many proposed fiddle designs.

The wide-variety of designs included details such as:

- natural elements, such as a meandering river, flowers blooming all over, and water lilies on a pond

- a watercolor depiction of a singing fiddle — featuring the side of a woman’s face with flowing hair

- a photo realism design featuring Tommy Jarrell’s fiddle

- heritage-inspired designs including elements such as farms, cabins, and mountains

- designs that incorporated music, including some with guitars, banjos, and fiddles

- a three-dimensional application of handmade glass beads

- abstract designs

- historical designs, such one featuring the Siamese twins

- a tribute to Mount Airy with Andy Griffith, grapevines, and mountains, with an American flag on the back

- symbols of the state of North Carolina

- “Andy Griffith Show” characters

- a design featuring a depiction of Mount Airy granite

“These are all spectacular; I’m about to cry I’m so happy…just amazing.” Slate exclaimed after examining the designs closely. “I want to make sure we place these so we can see both sides,” she mentioned, after examining a design that included plans for a colorful sunrise on the front and a full moon on the back. Morrison replied: “We are going to make sure they are placed at an angle, so everyone can see both sides — the entire fiddle will be decorated.”

Morrison said sponsors should plan to make their commitment “as early as possible,” since all artist’s designs will be “first come, first serve,” with sponsors placing exclusive rights on their chosen designs.

There are many benefits to sponsoring an artist for the fiddle crawl, Morrison described, including the sponsor’s name or business’ name listed on a plaque that will be attached to the base of each fiddle sculpture, as well as used in all marketing materials. Proceeds from sponsors will “provide economic funding for economic development for the downtown district” which will help the Mount Airy Downtown group strive toward cross-promoting arts in the community with local businesses supporting local artists. Additionally, Morrison said the sculptures will be a “new draw to downtown for tourists and locals.”

The full sponsorship level of $3,000 will guarantee the sponsor a permanent fiddle sculpture, one that will not be auctioned off at the completion of the public art display. Sponsors at this level will receive their fiddle sculpture and may choose how to display it in the future.

The $750 and $1,500 sponsorship levels may be shared by up to two sponsors, Morrison added. Sponsors may include a business, individual, civic group, or other organization. Sponsors at this level will receive their paired fiddle sculpture for display in Downtown Mount Airy during the first Fiddle Crawl, from May 2 through Autumn Leaves Festival in October.

The board will consider a change to the sidewalk ordinance at the Dec. 20 meeting, which could allow for exceptions to the ordinance for special events, including the Fiddle Crawl, when the 220-pound, 5-feet-tall fiddle sculptures to be placed on display along the sidewalk for the duration of the special event.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a sponsor should fill out an application, which can be found at For more information about Mount Airy Downtown and the Fiddle Crawl, email or call 786-4511.

Artists will be notified as soon as they receive a sponsor, and a full list of chosen artists and participating sponsors will be released by Mount Airy Downtown before February.

“We are very appreciative of the artist’s efforts, they are gorgeous and I feel like this is a great day for Mount Airy,” Slate avowed.