Photo by Carl Galie

CANCELED: Weekend-on-the-River

Event date: 
Friday, May 5, 2017 (All day) - Sunday, May 7, 2017 (All day)
View larger image

Photo by Crista Cammaroto

View larger image

Photo by Crista Cammaroto

The art exhibitions at the Turchin Center are typically situated inside the walls of the visual arts center on King Street, or around the campus of Appalachian State University. Inspired by the New River and the Turchin Center exhibition Collective Vigilance: Speaking for the New River, friends of the river and the arts are invited outdoors to the New River State Park, 221 Access (view map), in Ashe County, to celebrate the river, experience the park and relax with friends. Entrance to the park and access to the Saturday programs are free and open to the public.

This weekend event begins on Friday evening and continues through Sunday morning. Visitors are welcome to come for a few hours, a day, or for the weekend. The park provides river access by foot, tube, canoe or kayak, picnic areas, walking trails, a visitor’s center, and camp sites. Participants are encouraged to pack a picnic or reserve a campsite and come meet friends old and new while enjoying the New River. There are several scheduled events on Saturday, including a water analysis with staff of the New River Conservancy, a hands-on aquatic sampling led by park rangers and an artist’s talk about the temporary site-specific art installation in the New River.

Scheduled events

Site-Specific Installation by Keith Bryant

Available for viewing: Friday May 5 at 5 p.m. to Sunday May 7 at 10:00 a.m.

Artist Presentation: Saturday May 6 at 4:30 p.m.

The banks of the New River are typically lined with natural stones, boulders, and vegetation. The river will be transformed when Charlotte sculptor, Keith Bryant installs 365 colorful ceramic globes along the banks of the river during this temporary site-specific art installation. There is a sphere for each day of the year and each globe is unique. According to Bryant, “The ceramic spheres that I call peas, are about abundance, a meditation on the gift of each day.”

About the artist

Keith Bryant creates work from a place that exists beyond the confines of language yet enhances the realm of understanding riddles in life, connection and independence. Working in wood, metals and ceramics his forms employ abstraction but not without metaphor. His sculptures address ideas of loneliness, isolation, architecture and landscape. His work has been exhibited nationally and held in corporate collections throughout the southeast and mountain states. This river installation is particularly relevant to Bryant, who grew up in semi-arid Colorado where his family was always aware of water, how much they used, how long showers were and if there was enough water in the well to water the garden.

As an educator in the arts for over two decades, Bryant currently teaches at UNC Charlotte in the Department of Art & Art History with an instructional focus on ceramics, sculpture and three-dimensional design.

Artist's statement

Growing up in Colorado on a well we were always aware of water, how much we used, how long our showers were and if there was enough water in the well to water the garden. Living in a semi arid climate heightens ones senses of the wet. To this day I have a hard time putting water on my garden or plants without thinking of where it came from or how much there is out there and I never water my grass.

The New River is an amazing water way, it’s age and history is one of awe. This project is a collaboration between the old and the new through the lens of time. The ceramic spheres that I call peas are about abundance, a meditation on the gift of each day. From the onset of this project these spheres so similar yet each unique, were intended to sit in a creek or riverbed. This connection between solid and fluid is an intriguing one to contemplate. Each new site for the peas incorporates the surroundings differently. Through this installation I am hoping to pull the viewer into a heightened awareness of the river. The strategic placement of these colorful objects draw the viewer in, allowing them to immerse themselves into an experience of place and pondering about the river, how important it is not only as a source but a power, an entity without form and a thing of beauty and inspiration.

- Keith Bryant

New River Water Analysis

Saturday May 6, 10:30 a.m.

Alex McMahon, Water Quality Coordinator from the New River Conservancy, will conduct a water analysis. This program will begin at the Group Camp Canoe Access.

New River Aquatic Sampling

Saturday May 6, 1:30 p.m.

A park ranger will lead a hands-on search for aquatic insects in the New River. The rangers will introduce “citizen science” to calculate the health the river based on how many insects are found. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and come prepared to get wet. This program will begin at the Group Camp Canoe Access.

Camp Sites

Friday and Saturday nights, May 5 and 6. Reservations are recommended.

The park has walk-in tent camping sites near the river. To check on availability of sites reserved by the Turchin Center, contact Mary Anne Redding at To reserve other campsites or RV sites, visit For questions about the park call 336-982-2587.

All picnickers and campers are responsible for bringing their own camping gear and food. There are several large grocery stores in nearby Jefferson and West Jefferson including Food Lion, Ingles and Walmart as well as limited supplies at New River General Store less than mile from the park entrance.

About the New River State Park, 221 Access

The 320-mile New River is the oldest river in the United States; and the headwaters originate in Watauga and Ashe Counties, in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina. The New River State Park, in its entirety, covers more than 2,000 acres. The 221 Access Park (view map) includes access to the river, canoe and kayak access ramps, walking trails, primitive walk-in campsites, RV sites, a visitor center with exhibits, and picnicking. For questions about the park or outfitters of tubes, canoes or kayaks call 336-982-2587.

Exhibition(s) related to this event

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts
Visitor & Member Services
New River State Park U.S. 221 Access
view map
Free event

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterTurchin Center on FlickrTurchin Center on Instagram

Join our Email List

Receive emails about upcoming events and exhibitions as well as occasional invitations through the U.S. Mail.

Join Now

Gallery hours

The Turchin Center will be closed on home-game football Saturdays:

  • August 31
  • September 7
  • October 19

Join us on Saturday, September 28 for Family Weekend!

Make an immediate gift to the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. Use our online giving form.

Or, mail your gift to...

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts
ASU Box 32139
Boone, NC 28608

View all giving options