ARTIST CO-OP Circle 10
“We have often been a place where residents could take out-of-town guests to visit. We gave another dimension to Oriental beyond kayaks and sailboats. It inspired us as individual artists to expand our horizons. It wasn’t just to sell art. Having a place for art exhibits was important as well as a place for artist to fellowship with one another.” Janet Adkins
Circle 10 was the original artist coop in Oriental, paving the way for all other galleries and working studios in Pamlico County. Active for 26 years, it is estimated that, during its existence, as many as 50 Members and perhaps as many as 100 additional Associate Members were a part of the group. Artists and artisans working in various mediums such as oil painting, watercolor, glass, jewelry, ceramics, photography, textiles, and woodworking made Circle 10 Oriental’s creative hub. Circle 10 was founded September 1,1984 by Oriental residents Janet Atkins, Marlene Sykes, Beverly Ramsey, Linda Kenworthy, Sharon Forman, Lib Lewis, and Fran Saunders. Starting with just five juried pieces of work from each member, the group nurtured a culture that exposed the county to art through its constant activities. These members mounted exhibits, taught workshops, organized art related field trips, hosted visiting artist exhibits, classes, and talks, and held fund raising dinners known as “Stew and Brew” to raise money to stay afloat.
Nearly 100 patrons of the arts, known as Associate Members, were critical to the success of the annual holiday art show and sale. This focused event raised enough money to support a student art show each year.
Circle 10 had five different “homes” over the years, “some more conducive to making and showing art than others”, the members might say! Its most important location, however, was the one that gave it its name: the round center room of the Captain’s Quarters at 701 Broad Street that was its first exhibition home. And the number 10? It was ideal number of artists the founders felt could support the rent payment for the exhibition space. Becoming so popular, at its peak, the group sported almost twice that many artists.
As the gallery was closing, founding member Janet Adkins remembered wistfully, “We have often been a place where residents could take out-of-town guests to visit. We gave another dimension to Oriental beyond kayaks and sailboats. It inspired us as individual artists to expand our horizons. It wasn’t just to sell art. Having a place for art exhibits was important as well as a place for artist to fellowship with one another.”
We now understand why so many visitors to ArtWorks have uttered, “This place reminds me of Circle 10!”
Thank you, Circle 10, for laying the foundation for creatives in Pamlico County! We also thank you for allowing us to bring back your special memories as we make new ones at ArtWorks Oriental.