2021 Distinguished Artist of the Year

Gibby Waitzkin

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About the Distinguished Artists Program

The Distinguished Artist of the Year (formerly called Featured Artist) is a platform given to one artist for a full year. This position allows them to broaden their network within our community, to share their passion and art techniques. These artists have the opportunity to curate an exhibition in the Hayloft Gallery, as well as to offer demonstrations and workshops throughout the year. 

We are delighted to announce that our 2021 Distinguished Artist of the Year is Floyd-based paper artist, Gibby Waitzkin.  Gibby has a long history with the art center and we are excited she has agreed partner with us all year long to provide the public with a variety of ways to learn more about her, her work, and about paper as an art form, in general. These interactions will include a combination of virtual and in-person events.


As the Center's Distinguished Artist of the Year, Gibby has agreed to curate an exhibit of paper art in the Hayloft Gallery.  Her exhibit, 'Paper – an Enduring Medium’, is scheduled to open in April and will feature some of her own works displayed alongside the artwork of paper artists Georgia Deal, Bryant Holsenbeck, Char Norman, and Nicole Uzzell.  More information about each of the artists and the exhibit will be available soon on our website.


Additional programming led by Gibby will include a slideshow presentation and talk about her process and a series of outdoor demonstrations and workshops offered throughout the spring, summer and fall.  Some events will be at the art center and others will be held at her Floyd County studio, Sarvisberry.  The slideshow presentation and most demonstrations will be offered virtually though the Center's and the artist's websites, as well.


Gibby has also been asked to install a display in our downstairs lobby to showcase some of her work and share information about her process all year long.  In this space one can view some of Gibby's artwork, explore a wide variety of naturally dyed fibers and other process pieces and get a glimpse at some of her treasured 'finds' and other inspirational items from the natural world.  This display will be updated and changed though out the year to accommodate newly created works and to highlight upcoming demonstrations and workshops.

Read More About Gibby

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Photography by Patterson Lawson

Gibby Waitzkin, is a paper artist living in Floyd County, Virginia- a place her parents discovered in the mid-60’s. Her green studio, built in 2008 is located on a thirty-acre farm off the Blue Ridge Parkway, includes recycled wood from site, collection of rain water for paper studio, insulation from recycled paper, and an exterior green wall. Her education and training focusing on photography, printmaking and art education at the University of Georgia and graduate work at Georgia State University. Using her art skills, she became a community organizer in civil rights and the environment in Atlanta, Georgia and then on the lower East Side of New York City, in urban agriculture and green energy solutions. After working on these issues in the Carter Administration., she formed Gibson Creative, a design, marketing & communications company working on non-profit issues- climate, the environment, healthcare, women and the arts.

In 2000, after facing serious health issues, she returned to her primary love-art, to start an intensive dive in to hand papermaking using the ancient methods from plants. She grows, harvests, processes and makes paper from bamboo, banana, iris, lilies, papyrus, grape vines, thistle, artichoke -any plant with fiber. She has exhibited and taught workshops all over the country,  including Floyd Center for the Arts, Piedmont Arts Center, Pyramid Atlantic, Hahn Center at Virginia Tech, Black House, Durham Arts Council, NC Museum of Art, Sarah B Duke Gardens, Raleigh Fine Arts, Penland, Olin Hall Galleries, Meredith College, Hollins Museum, and the Women’s Museum at Arlington Cemetery.


Gibby believes in giving back, and has served on many Boards over the years- the Washington Project for the Arts, the Corcoran Galleries & College of Art and Design, Nasher Museum Friends, SustainFloyd, and most recently, the Voters’ Participation Center-assisting millions of the rising American electorate to be registered to vote for the first time. In her work, she has striven to create things that are aesthetically pleasing, but underlying each work is a philosophical statement which derives from her decades of community organizing and political activism.

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Photography by Patterson Lawson

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Photography by Patterson Lawson

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