Local Master-Level Decorative Artisans Featured in Pop-Up Show

For Immediate Release: Date: December 6, 2017

 Click HERE to see the PDF of this release


CONTACT: Sarah Gay, Manager, ClearWater Artist Studios;

704-784-9535 or


Local Master-Level Decorative Artisans Featured in Pop-Up Show at ClearWater Gallery


CONCORD, NC – For a brief three weeks, starting this Saturday, the public can get a view of a ‘hidden art’ in the special exhibit, “Creative Surfaces: The Art of Decorative Artisanal Walls,” on view Dec. 9-29, 2017 in the Gallery at ClearWater Artist Studios.

Decorative Artisans transform mundane walls, ceilings, floors and more into custom-designed, jaw-dropping interiors –often tricking the eye into believing solid stone, hand-carved plaster, metal, or leather exists where surface applications simply dress up drywall.  Those at the top of the field are hired by moguls and millionaires, to make homes, corporate spaces and places of worship look richly and uniquely appointed.  Many reach a level of fine art, in their handcrafted details.

Two such artisans reside here in Concord, NC and are in high demand.  They’ve been in this business for 25 years as a couple, running their home-based business from their house on Union Street South; and also their studio.  Bob and Cindy Andrews have created custom decorative finishes for clients all over the Southeast and the country; they run classes for others mastering the craft and materials, and rub elbows with colleagues doing castles and churches on far-away continents. 

Their 2nd studio is based at ClearWater Artist Studios, in the Gibson Village Neighborhood.

This exhibit of their Sample Boards and site photos, on display in the ClearWater Gallery for a limited time (Dec. 9-29), gives a glimpse of the intriguing materials and methods of these ‘Wall Magicians.”

This Saturday, on December 9, the artisans will be available in the Gallery to meet and speak with, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. during ClearWater’s monthly open house, ‘2nd Saturday Open Studios’ (monthly 10a-4p on 2nd Saturdays).

ClearWater Artist Studios is the artist haven and community hub housed in the City of Concord's nearly century-old former water works and utility operations facilities. It launched a new, interactive website in August; feedback on the new is welcomed. Email or connect on Facebook, @ClearwaterArtistStudios.


ClearWater Artist Studios is located in Gibson Village, less than a mile from Downtown Concord, at 223 Crowell Drive NW. Its Gallery is open to the public Weds-Friday, Noon-5pm; every 2nd Saturday 10am-4pm; and/or by appointment. The Gallery, outdoor Green, and open-air covered Market are available to rent for private events. For details, see; or call 704-784-9535.

Abstracting Spirit, A New Direction by Barbara Ellis Now in Concord

For Immediate Release: Date: October 12, 2017; click for the PDF copy of this release

CONTACT: Sarah Gay, Manager of ClearWater Artist Studios;

704-784-9535 or

CONCORD, NC – ClearWater Artist Studios is pleased to announce a new show, on view Oct. 7- Dec. 1, 2017. 'Abstracting Spirit: A New Direction,' is a solo exhibition of ClearWater tenant artist, Barbara Ellis' abstract expressionist paintings, which have evolved over the year 2016-17 as she delves deeper into how Spirit moves her artistic practice. The public is invited to come view the exhibit anytime during Open Hours or by appointment; group tours welcome. The Opening Reception, Oct. 7th, drew an appreciative audience for Ellis’s Artist Talk.

Barbara Ellis giving her Artist Talk to an appreciative audience, October 7, 2017

Born in New York, NY, Barbara Ellis received her Bachelors of Art degree from The City College of New York, in 1978.  Throughout her demanding corporate career, she found time for continuing classes in art on the side. Upon relocating to Charlotte, NC in 2004, it became obvious that the corporate path was no longer a fit.  She then embarked, while still working full-time, on a creative path; over years building relationships with Charlotte artists, participating in group shows, and eventually coming to ClearWater Artist Studios, where Ellis has rented a studio since 2012. In 2015 she retired, and committed to working as an artist full-time. In 2016 she won as an ArtPop finalist, placing her artwork on a local billboard for a year.

Ellis was inspired to explore Abstract Expressionism after a visit to an exhibit of Women in Abstract Expressionism at the Mint Museum of Charlotte; and after experimenting upon a large surface, using one of ClearWater Artist Studios’ “Giant Easels.” Abstract expressionists in the ‘50’s integrated the lyricism and spontaneity of Jazz music into their paintings, which resonates with her, she says, “as I grew up during the 1950’s and 60s in a family where Jazz was an integral part of its fabric.”  Her great-grandfather was a well-known pianist in the New York ragtime scene.

Many of Ellis’s new canvases—large, around 4’ X 6’—are exhibited unstretched, to demonstrate part of her process, which is to work with the canvas tacked flat on the wall.  About her work, Ellis says, “The creative process is spontaneous, automatic, and subconscious… The marks are gestural, active – using physical energy as a vehicle to translate impressions from the subconscious/ spirit into visual form.” 

Barbara lives in Charlotte with her husband Henry, who helped her set up an audio recording of her own philosophical musings over Jazz music, as “sound-track” for the exhibit.  She now happily reinvents herself daily by working her craft full-time at Clearwater Artist Studios in Concord, NC.

ClearWater Artist Studios is the artist haven and community hub housed in the City of Concord's nearly century-old former water works and utility operations facilities. It launched a new, interactive website in August; feedback on the new is welcomed. Email or connect on Facebook, @ClearwaterArtistStudios.


ClearWater Artist Studios is located in Gibson Village, less than a mile from Downtown Concord, at 223 Crowell Drive NW. Its Gallery is open to the public Weds-Friday, Noon-5pm; every 2nd Saturday 10am-4pm; and/or by appointment. The Gallery, outdoor Green, and open-air covered Market are available to rent for private events. For details, see; or call 704-784-9535.

'ClearWater Artists: New Works (2017)' Opens Aug. 12

ClearWater Artist Studios will celebrate a joint show of new works by tenant artists, with an Opening Reception Saturday, August 12, 2017 of “ClearWater Artists: New Works (2017)," a gallery exhibit featuring new artworks by a majority of the artists leasing studios there.

At 2:00 p.m., during the monthly ‘2nd Saturday Open Studios’ (which runs 10am -4pm), artists in the show will gather in the Gallery for an ‘Artist Talk Panel,’ facilitated by Manager Sarah Gay.

Join the artists to learn about why and how they do what they do -- questions welcome! Art studios, and the Southern Piedmont Woodturners' workshop will be open for perusal also. Plenty of free parking, just 5 minutes from Historic Downtown Concord, Concord, North Carolina.
ClearWater Artist Studios is at 223 Crowell Dr. NW, in the Gibson Village Neighborhood of Concord, NC. More info at 704-784-9535 or

The Exhibition will come down at the end of September 2017, to make way for our special October show, the 2nd annual Faculty Show of works by adjunct and tenured faculty at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC), Department of Fine & Applied Arts.

The Gallery holds official Open Hours Weds-Fri, Noon until 5pm; however, the Manager is usually onsite 11a-6p most weekdays with some exceptions.  Calling ahead, to be sure the door will be open during non-official Gallery times, is recommended.

Plenty of free parking, just 5 minutes from Historic Downtown Concord.

ClearWater Artist Studios is at 223 Crowell Dr. NW, in the Gibson Village Neighborhood of Concord, NC. More info at 704-784-9535 or and/or the ClearWater Artist Studios Facebook page.

Guest Artist Nelli Levental Show Opens May 13

Opening Reception/ Presentation Saturday, May 13 at 2 PM - 4 PM

Solo artist, Nelli Levental, presents her One Woman Show, “Lights, Camera… Paper: Stories Created from the Paper, Light and Love for Theater.”

Come view Ms. Levental’s conceptual storytelling project at its World Premiere, introduced to the public in a gallery setting for the first time! 

As Nelli says, “I choose to “perform” my stories in the Paper Theater environment where the sets and the characters are paper cutouts in the miniature scale.”

Levental builds miniature, three-dimensional stage sets out of paper card stock – her default set measures 16 X 20 X 20 inches— and creates paper ‘characters’ which are placed and lit, within the set and then photographed. Stories are set and shot in sequences, or individual scenes (depending on the story); then, sequences are sewn into narratives using video.

The debut exhibit, on view at ClearWater until June 30, will include two of Levental’s actual paper sets with clusters of characters arranged within them; several prints on paper mounted on the gallery walls to show the photographic transformation and sequences; and an assortment of other paper sculptures in the same vein. At the Opening Reception/ Presentation, 2:00 pm on May 13th*, we will also have a digital screen running some of Levental’s video stories.

During the Opening Reception/ Presentation, the artist will make a presentation/ performance about her work.  She states, “I would be honored to talk about my process and share the concept of storytelling as a healing and educational experience.” She may also run a workshop on paper design. 


About the Artist:

Nelli Levental is a Charlotte-area artist, graphic designer and instructor. As an experienced Instructor teaching Graphic and Applied Design at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), she believes that sharing her ongoing Project will be beneficial and educational. Levental has also taught at other colleges, and worked for several years as a Senior Graphic Designer for Cirque Dreams. There, she designed everything from books, catalogs, ads, billboards, posters, and flyers to costumes and props for musical theatrical productions. This spurred her ideas for her own catharthis, using theatrical storytelling techniques with her own paper characters to process and facilitate her own healing from her various past traumas as a Russian Émigré.

She says this would be the first time sharing her Project and she is very excited about that.  A more detailed Artist Statement describing her process will be at the show.

Success! 3rd Annual ‘Portrait Paint-Off' Goes Smoothly

For the PDF of the Press Release, click here.

ClearWater Artist Studios produces 3rd Successful, Annual ‘Portrait Paint-Off.’

CONCORD  -- On Saturday, February 18th, ClearWater Artist Studios held their 3rd Annual ‘Sun Drop Pound Cake Portrait Paint-Off.’  The signature event, unique to the Studios, drew roughly 150 visitors to watch 13 painters work live, completing portraits from a single model in under two hours. The festive atmosphere was punctuated by artist interviews, 5-minute speed drawings of audience members, & raffle prize drawings; and augmented by the plentiful Sun Drop Pound Cake on offer.  Several guests went home with prizes, a new ClearWater T-shirt or a new artwork for their walls.  Brazilian Samba music filled the space.

The artists, grouped around model Melissa Ritchie, worked feverishly to render her likeness, while onlookers murmured excitedly and took photos or video.  The five Featured Painters, invited for their portraiture skills, didn’t disappoint, producing remarkably lifelike portraits for such a short working time. Featured Painters this year were Robin Wellner, Mark Stephenson, Gordon C. James, Barbara Ellis and Isaac Payne.  Many of their fans came to see them paint.

“Great people, model and cake!! I had a wonderful time, even though the clock was ticking!!”  Said artist Robin Wellner, one of the five ‘Featured Painters,’ whose works are on exhibit in the ClearWater Gallery through March 31. Another artist, local painter Kevin Harris, said, "What a great space… I have wanted to paint with ClearWater's resident artists for some time now and I was not disappointed…  I can't wait to do it again."  In their studio, the Southern Piedmont Woodturners entertained guests with demonstrations on their lathe and a display of cigar-box guitars.  Local reporter, Michael Knox served as Emcee throughout the event. 

ClearWater Artist Studios would like to thank the many businesses and individuals who helped make this event possible: The Concord Youth Council and other volunteers during the event; The Sweet Life bakery, 2 Gals Kitchen and Cheerwine Company for the food and drink; and our generous gift-basket prize donors: Cougar Run Winery, Southern Grace Distilleries and S&D Coffee & Tea. Thanks go also to the ClearWater resident artists, who kept their studios open during the event.  Most especially, the painters, who participated for the fun, camaraderie and challenge of it, and allowed an audience in ‘behind the curtain’ to see their process.

Next on ClearWater’s public calendar is the Opening Reception for ‘Impulse,’ the annual Student Art Exhibit of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s Fine Arts & Design Department, on Friday, April 7, 6-8pm.  This will be the fourth year of this partnership.  More events are in the works. If you’d like to be involved, the ClearWater Artists’ Coalition, an organization of the resident artists, offers Affliate Memberships to anyone interested in getting involved in planning and events, for a $25 annual dues fee.  

Spaces at ClearWater such as the Gallery, and outdoor green, Market etc. are available to rent for private events. Contact the Manager, Sarah Gay, to inquire.

For more information, see; call ClearWater Artist Studios at 704-784-9535 or send an email to: The ClearWater  Artist Studios Facebook page is continually updated with photos.

3rd Annual Sun Drop Pound Cake Portrait Paint-Off Coming Up!

For the PDF of the Press Release, click here

ClearWater Artist Studios Brings the Painting to the People

CONCORD – Next Saturday, February 18, 2017, Concord’s newest art amenity, ClearWater Artist Studios, will host its 3rd Annual Sun Drop Pound Cake Portrait Paint-Off Extravaganza, in the ClearWater Artist Studios Main Gallery. All are welcome. The 3-hour, afternoon event will replicate the format it has held for two years running, which has attracted 200 or so guests each time to watch painters bring blank canvases to life, and to reimagine fine art as a spectator sport. 

This year the Emcee will be Concord and Kannapolis reporter and impresario, Michael Knox, reporter for the Independent Tribune.  Refreshments on hand will include fluffy, glazed Sun Drop Pound Cakes (freshly baked by The Sweet Life bakery in Concord), homemade chips and salsa (courtesy of 2 Gals Kitchen in Concord) and Sun Drop soda. Art studios throughout the building will be open with resident artists present, and the Southern Piedmont Woodturners Association, a tenant and member of ClearWater Artist Studios, will hold turning demonstrations in their studio throughout the 3-hour event.

This year’s ‘Featured Painters’ are Robin Wellner , Gordon C. James, Barbara Ellis, Mark Stephenson, and Isaac Payne . Additional space is granted to local painters wishing to paint from the ‘2nd row,’ on a 1st-come/ 1st served, email-reservation basis. The painters will have just two hours to complete their portrait of model Melissa Ritchie, with breaks every 20 minutes.  The Emcee calls time, and entertains in his own fashion.

Details and continual updates, with photos, are provided on the Facebook Event Page for this event, which can be found at Additionally there is an page for this event at which guests can register. 

ClearWater Artist Studios hopes the public will attend this free, family-friendly and colorful event designed to stimulate the senses and combine painting, open studios, and woodturning. Free parking is available in several lots around the ClearWater campus.

LOCATION: ClearWater Artist Studios, a community development project of the City of Concord at its former water treatment and Electrical Operations buildings; now artist studios/gallery still in development: 223 Crowell Drive NW, 28025. 

For more information contact: Sarah Gay, Manager of ClearWater Artist Studios for the City of Concord; 704-784-9535 or Spaces at ClearWater are available to rent for private events.

Four Artist Group Show 'Earth, Wind & Fire' at ClearWater

For the PDF of press release, click here

Four Artists Juxtapose Different Styles in Group Show, ‘Earth, Wind & Fire’

CONCORD, NC – ClearWater Artist Studios is excited to announce and invite the public to view a special Guest Artist Exhibition in the CW Main Gallery: “Earth, Wind & Fire,” on view January 7 – February 3, 2017

This joint show juxtaposes the different styles of four artists: Regina Calton Burchett, ClearWater Resident artist (pastels + oil); Debbie Rasberry (pastels); Carmella Jarvi (glass); and Chris Craft (encaustics).  In turn, their fresh, contemporary work itself contrasts with the setting, a sprawling, former industrial building in the heart of Concord, near the Historic Downtown.

These artists, whose work all explores different elemental relationships between form and color, the eye and the hand, perception and expression, and the elements of Nature, come together with their very different styles in a joint celebration of Earth, Wind & Fire.  The show will fill the 2,000+ sq-ft Main Gallery in ClearWater Artist Studios.

The Opening Reception, Friday January 13, 2017 from 6-8:30pm, will feature all four artists, with refreshments, music, and discussion, along with an artist demonstration and talk by Chris Craft, encaustic painter, at 7pm during the reception.

Additional Artist Demonstrations will be held the following day, Saturday January 14, during Second Saturday Open Studios at ClearWater, which runs 10am – 4pm (featuring other resident artists with studios open, plus a woodturning club).  Regina Burchett’s pastel demo and talk will be at Noon; and Carmella Jarvi will give a glass demo and talk at 2pm.

Burchett, whose background includes architectural stone drafting, creates pastels and oil paintings of sweeping cloud-scapes and skies, capturing the intricacy of light and shadow; she works “until I feel it reaches a spiritual level.” Jarvi took a decades-long fascination with depicting water in her paintings, and switched to glass as her medium in 2011.  She considers her works, still focusing on water, as ‘paintings in glass.’  Craft paints abstract landscapes in encaustic, or wax-based paint, which can be carved, drawn and painted on in interpreting the imagery of his imagination.  The fourth artist, Debbie Rasberry, originally from South Africa, skillfully addresses both wildlife and landscapes in pastels, with a keen eye for color and light. The artists’ work can be viewed on their respective websites:,, and

ClearWater’s Gallery is open to the public Weds-Friday Noon-5pm; every 2nd Saturday 10am-4pm; or by appointment. The ClearWater Gallery, outdoor Green, and open-air covered Market are available to rent out for private events and parties.

LOCATION: Clearwater Artist Studios, 223 Crowell Dr. NW, Concord, NC 28025. For details and weekly hours, see; or, call 704-784-9535.

Louise Farley: 1st Solo Show at ClearWater Gallery

For the Press Release in PDF, click here.

New Approach, 1st Solo Show at ClearWater Gallery for Artist Louise Farley

CONCORD, NC – ClearWater Artist Studios is proud to announce the opening of a solo show exhibition of paintings by artist Louise Farley, titled ‘Outside the Lines.’ The show will be on view in the ClearWater Gallery at 223 Crowell Dr. NW, in Concord, from Nov. 4 through Dec. 31, 2016.  The Opening Reception is Friday evening, November 11, from 5-8pm with refreshments.  All are welcome.  The artist will also give an ‘Artist Talk,’ discussing her approach, style etc. the following day at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 12, 2016—which is also ‘2nd Saturday Open Studios’– a monthly open house featuring ClearWater’s resident artists in their studios with doors open from 10am.  Doors close at 4pm.

Louise Farley is one of the ‘original’ leasing artists at ClearWater, renting her studio there since renovated studios were first made available in 2011. She commutes from Charlotte, where she lives with her husband, John. She is finally back to her painting career, which got a promising start, then had a long hiatus due to a divorce and single-motherhood. For over 20 years—during which she raised two children and supported the family by running her own boutique in Charleston, SC, including designing and sewing the clothing she sold there—she did not paint.  Since 2005, however, she has immersed herself in painting full-time, teaching occasional workshops at John C. Campbell Folk School and other art centers, and giving lessons in her studio.  This show marks her third solo show in the region this year; and her very first solo show in the 2,200 sq. ft. Gallery at ClearWater Artist Studios. 

The show includes a new body of work Farley has been painting since June, never before exhibited: pictures from Africa, inspired by photos taken by her stepdaughter who travelled there earlier this Spring. “It has given me a new enthusiasm and reinvigorated my work,” Farley said of the new subject matter. “I love the colors, and the energy between the people.”

Louise Farley grew up in Tennessee and earned her BFA degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She has lived in Charlotte since 2008.

Viewing the show—if you miss the Opening Reception or Artist Talk, or want to come back to look at your leisure, ClearWater’s Gallery is open to the public Weds-Friday Noon-6pm; every 2nd Saturday 10am-4pm; or by appointment during the week. The ClearWater Gallery, outdoor Green, and open-air covered Market are available to rent out for private events and parties.

LOCATION: Clearwater Artist Studios, 223 Crowell Dr. NW, Concord, NC 28025. For details and weekly hours, see; or, call 704-784-9535.

RCCC Faculty To Exhibit at ClearWater Artist Studios, October

Click here for the Press Release PDF


Inaugural RCCC Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition to open at ClearWater Artist Studios

CONCORD, NC: Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and ClearWater Artist Studios are
proud to announce a new facet of their ongoing, 3-year collaboration: the inaugural Rowan-
Cabarrus Community College Fine Arts Department Faculty Exhibition. A collection of works
by twelve or so of the Visual Arts Faculty within that department, both full-time and adjunct,
will be on view in the ClearWater Gallery, October 8th through 31st, 2016.

The show will on view for ClearWater’s monthly ‘2nd Saturday Open Studios’ open house, held
every 2nd Saturday from 10am to 4pm, on Oct. 8th; and after. The official Opening Reception will
be held on Friday, October 14, 2016 from 5-8pm. Both events are free and open to the public,
with refreshments at the Opening Reception. Artist Talks by RCCC Visual Arts Faculty
included in the show will be TBA, in the CW Gallery; check the ClearWater Artist Studios
website calendar for dates and times:

“We’re very excited to be giving the visual arts faculty a venue in which to collectively show
their work,” said Fine & Applied Arts Chair, Jenn Selby. “The ClearWater Gallery is a
professional-level space and we have enjoyed forming a growing partnership with them. It is
critical for visual arts students to view and understand the professional work of their instructors,
and this gives them that opportunity. It’s also important for faculty to know their colleagues'
work and have time to bond with one another as practicing artists.”

The students in the Fine Arts and Design programs at RCCC have had a venue, in the Student
Art Show, every April in ClearWater’s Gallery for three years; Sarah Gay, Manager at
ClearWater, says they hope this Faculty show will similarly become an annual event.

ClearWater Artist Studios is a Community Development Project of the City of Concord,
renovating old water-treatment buildings into a mixed-use campus of working art studios, art
gallery, event space (rentable for private events) and, eventually, a restaurant space, with a large
outdoor green suited for festivals and other community events. It sits in the Gibson Village
Neighborhood, close to the former Gibson Mill, which itself now houses several businesses and
two new craft beer breweries. It is near Historic Downtown Concord and is easily accessible
from I-85 via Poplar Tent Road/ McGill Ave., at 223 Crowell Dr. NW, Concord, NC 28025.

For details and weekly hours, see; the CW Facebook Page, or call the
CW office at 704-784-9535. Open to the Public most weekdays, with plenty of free parking.