WILLIAMSBURG — Colonial Folk Art Studio & Gallery is probably the type of business that came to mind when residents heard Williamsburg was starting an Arts District.
While bakeries and cupcakes shops have been as common in the Arts District since it began two years ago, art will be featured when the latest business opens Aug. 15.
The business will bring a new place for artists to work and for lovers of vintage and contemporary folk and outsider art to find what they are looking for.
"This is something my wife, Beverly, and I have discussed for a long time," said Davie Burgdorf, half owner of the family business. "We saw the need for affordable studio space and for more exposure of Southern folk and outsider art in the Williamsburg community."
It also meets some of the needs identified when the idea of an Arts District was first being discussed.
According to studies by the Williamsburg Art Council, there is a growing need for studio space in the Williamsburg area. That prompted the city to create the Williamsburg Art's District in 2011.
The Colonial Folk Art Studio and Gallery will be at 110B Bacon Avenue.
"We are working to fill part of that void," Burgdorf said. "Many artists don't have room for home studios or want a place outside of their home to work – free from distraction."
Burgdorf is a native of the South Carolina low country and a 1992 graduate of Wofford College where he earned a BA in History. Burgdorf began his career in journalism and served as editor of the S.C. United Methodist Advocate. In 2003, Burgdorf, now a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, was mobilized and assigned to Fort Eustis. He and his family settled in Williamsburg where they live today. Burgdorf, an avid antiquated book, document and map collector, is a self-taught bookbinder and book conservator having done both for nearly 10 years now.
Beverly Burgdorf is a native of north Georgia and a 1991 graduate of Converse College where she earned a BA in Studio Art and a minor in Art History. She has managed galleries and taught art in Columbia, SC. She continues producing works in clay, paint and other media at her home studio. She will be the artist-in-residence for the studio.
There business will also offer tools-of-the-trade. Burgdorf noted CFA will offer a professionally-sized high-fire kiln for pottery, one key need noted in the council report.
While potters have a kiln and wheel, artists of almost any media are welcome to rent time in the gallery, Burgdorf said. The biggest challenge will be keeping the balance between artists who work in media that make noise while simultaneously keeping the studio environment inviting to artists who desire more serene conditions.
Beverly Burgdorf's work will be featured in the gallery as will works by well-known vintage folk and outsider artists including Howard Finster and the Rev. R.A. Miller.
Additionally, CFA will have contemporary folk and outsider art from artists primarily from the Southeast. Some artists may be regionally or nationally known while others may be virtually unknown – having their work shown in a gallery for the first time.
"We feature a wide variety of art and artists in many media," Burgdorf said. "That's the beauty of folk and outsider art – you never know who or what will strike your fancy or fit your collection or decor. We have everything from multimedia paintings and face jugs to handmade furniture and jewelry."
At the same time, CFA will offer local artists the opportunity to show their work through consignment opportunities.
"As local artists ourselves, we want to support our local art community as much as possible, Mrs. Burgdorf said.
Although the company is technically new, the Burgdorf's began operating Colonial Folk Art as a partnership in October 2010 when they began selling art and antiquated books in the Williamsburg Antique Mall.
A grand opening in the Arts District is planned for Sept. 1. More information will be available on the CFA website, http://www.colonialfolkart.com.