Turchin Center Unveils Four New Exhibitions

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Boone, North Carolina – The chilly days of winter have finally arrived and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University invites the community to come in from the cold on Friday, Feb. 3 from 6 – 9 p.m. to enjoy and explore four new exhibitions. As part of the First Friday Downtown Boone Art Crawl, this free event is an opportunity for art lovers to spend time with fellow arts patrons, while viewing exhibitions in the six galleries of the Turchin Center. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there will be special goodies for everyone to enjoy. Tickle your nose with fizzy wine, savor a chocolate-dipped strawberry and listen to piano melodies that will warm your heart.

“What's wonderful about all of the Spring 2017 exhibitions is that the Turchin Center is able to showcase so many talented artists from the High Country,” says Turchin Curator, Mary Anne Redding.

New Exhibitions

Collective Vigilance: Speaking for the New River

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. This exhibition showcases the New River and is the most ambitious collaborative partnership ever undertaken at the Turchin. The vision for this project was a product of Appalachian Professor Tom Hansell’s graduate seminar, “Sustainability and the Arts in Appalachia,” which is part of the Center for Appalachian Studies. It took no convincing for the New River Conservancy (NRC) to join the team followed by numerous other community partners including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Appalachian Teaching Project, Blue Ridge Conservancy, Middle Fork Greenway, New River State Park, Elk Knob State Park, Wine to Water and Plemmons Student Leadership group.

This exhibition reflects and reinforces Appalachian’s strong commitment to environmental issues and sustainable communities. This installation, “Collective Vigilance: Speaking for the New River,” is inspired by the New River Conservancy’s strategic priorities to share and foster research, educate and inspire people to act, and to protect and restore the river and its tributaries.

The synergy of collaborative artists and partners of this project creates an exhibition that is visually engaging, informative and thought-provoking.

Before visitors even get inside the front door they will be greeted by a path of river trash flowing into the entrance plaza of the Turchin. Once inside the gallery, the origin of the “river” is found at the top of the 29’ gallery wall and recreates the path of the North Fork and South Forks of the river which then “flows” to the gallery floor where the forks converge into the New River. The river trash was excavated by a team of students, faculty, community partners and Turchin staff and highlights the impact of surrounding development and people on the river.

Also in the gallery numerous regional artists provide a meaningful perspective of the river through their compelling art.

  • Joshua White and Maggie Flannigan: Photographers who have documented people who live, work and play along the New River.
  • Carl Galie: Winston-Salem photographer has worked since 1995 to document the activities of the New River Conservancy.
  • Patricia Beaver: Retired Appalachian Studies professor and noted author has created hand-drawn maps of the headwaters and Echo communities.
  • Joni Ray: Artist, Appalachian alumna (BA in Sustainable Development) and Gallery Director at the Florence Thomas Art School in West Jefferson, has created mixed-media murals that highlight the flora of the New River. The murals are designed to travel to schools and NRC meetings following the exhibition.
  • Tom Hansell: Documentary filmmaker and Assistant Professor at Appalachian, has made under-water macro-photographs that illuminate the towering windows of the gallery and create a stained-glass effect.
  • Keith Bryant: Charlotte sculptor who has created, and will install, 365 ceramic globes along the banks of the New River at the 221 Access State Park in Ashe County on May 5-7. This weekend event will include the opportunity to camp, attend talks by park rangers and community nonprofit leaders, and to discuss environmental issues currently facing the New River.

According to Redding, “We are committed to connecting communities to the art and efforts of so many regional non-profits. We invite you to come into the galleries and then go back into your community with more knowledge and appreciation and get involved.”

The “Collective Vigilance: Speaking for the New River” exhibition will be housed in the Turchin Center’s Mayer Gallery Feb. 3 through July 29, 2017.

Learn more

Useful Work: Photographs of Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Guest Curator: Jody Servon

“Useful Work: Photographs of Hickory Nut Gap Farm” is an exhibition of Ken Abbott’s quiet photographs that document day-to-day life on the beloved Hickory Nut Gap Farm outside of Asheville. Abbott fell in love with easy beauty of Hickory Nut Gap Farm when he first saw it back in 2004 while on a field trip with his daughter’s pre-school class. His reaction was similar to that of Jim and Elizabeth McClure during their honeymoon in 1916 who declared, “This is the place for us!” when spotting the old inn nestled just below the eastern continental divide in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They purchased the property and it remains in the family still today.

According to guest curator Jody Servon, “Enamored by the family and the farm, Abbott returned frequently to make pictures that blend vibrant contemporary farm life with the timelessness of the place. While photographing over a five-year period, Abbott learned the family lore. He used this knowledge to reveal the innate character of the farm and the people who work it.”

About Ken Abbott

Ken Abbott grew up along the front range of Colorado, and received his MFA in photography from Yale University in 1987. He was the principal photographer for University of Colorado at Boulder for fifteen years. Now living in Asheville, he received an NC Arts Council Fellowship Award for his photography at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in 2006. “Useful Work: Photographs of Hickory Nut Gap Farm” (Goosepen Studio & Press, 2015, with essays by Ken Neufeld), was published in 2015 and is his first book.

The “Useful Work: Photographs of Hickory Nut Gap Farm” by Ken Abbot exhibition will be housed in the Turchin Center’s Gallery B Feb. 3 through May 6, 2017.

Learn more

A Thousand Steps, A Thousand Stitches: Figurative Quilts

This fascinating collection of intricate and playful narrative quilts was created by artist and art educator, Susan Sharpe. Inspired by her mother who made clothes for she and her nine siblings, Susan has always been fascinated by fibers and fabric. According to Sharpe, her initial inspiration for narrative quilts came from her elementary aged art students after they created drawings of robots during class. Whimsical robots that fly, roll or walk are prevalent in many of her quilts and provide a playful and magical component to her narrations. A second theme is that of images of the Leopard Sisters, who with their curious striped skin are always enjoying life whether picnicking, surfing or playing by the tropical sea.

The more time one spends observing the quilts, the more fascinated and entertained one becomes as new details are observed. Sharpe’s love for her craft is apparent as she points out various elements of the quilts such as antique silk dresses, aprons, lace doilies, tea towels and tablecloths, buttons, beads and braid that she have been handed down from her mother, been given by friends or discovered in antique and vintage shops. Further, her background in textile design gives her the skills to manipulate the fabric with dyes, reverse bleeds, painting and screen printing for extra depth and dimension.

About Susan Sharpe

Susan Sharpe is an artist and art educator who has lived in the Boone area since 1970. Sharpe’s works in fiber and fabric collage have been exhibited in regional and national competitions and have won numerous awards. Her works range in style from realistic to abstract and feature woven and non-woven tapestry, handmade paper, and painted, printed and quilted fabric in original designs. Sharpe earned graduate degrees from Appalachian State University and East Tennessee State University and also studied various fiber techniques at Penland School of Crafts. She has taught in a variety of settings with students of all ages.

“A Thousand Steps, A Thousand Stitches: Figurative Quilts” exhibition will be housed in the Turchin Center’s Gallery A Feb. 3 through May 6, 2017.

Learn more

Studio Practices: Penland 9

This exhibition showcases the art of the nine Penland Studio Coordinators at Penland School of Crafts. Located in nearby Spruce Pine, NC, Penland is an international center for craft education dedicated to helping people live creative lives. The school offers intensive workshops in books and paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles and wood.

Visitors are invited to this rare opportunity to experience the collective talents and fine craftsmanship of nine amazing artists who are more often guiding the creation of art through their students than being in the spotlight themselves. Artists participating in the exhibition are:

  • Daniel T. Beck: Studio Coordinator for Iron
  • Betsy DeWitt: Studio Coordinator for Photography
  • Susan Feagin: Studio Coordinator for Clay
  • Melanie Finlayson: Studio Manager
  • Jay Fox: Studio Coordinator for Books, Paper, Letterpress and Print
  • Nick Fruin: Studio Coordinator for Glass
  • Ian Henderson: Studio Coordinator for Metals
  • Ellie Richards: Studio Coordinator for Wood
  • Amanda Thatch: Studio Coordinator for Textiles & Drawing/Painting

The “Studio Practices: Penland 9” exhibition will be housed in the Turchin Center’s Main Gallery through June 6, 2017.

Learn more

Art lovers are encouraged to visit the Turchin Center during the following Friday evening gatherings:

  • Fizzy Friday: First Friday Downtown Boone Art Crawl Feb. 3, 2017 (6 – 9 p.m.) Tickle your nose with fizzy wine, savor a chocolate-dipped strawberry and listen to piano melodies that will warm your heart.
  • Exhibition Celebration: Friday, April 7, 2017 (6 – 10 p.m.)

Continuing Exhibitions at the Turchin (through Feb. 4, 2017):

Visit http://tcva.org/exhibitions for information on two new exhibitions coming March 3, 2017.

About the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, named for university benefactors Robert and Lillian Turchin, fulfills Appalachian State University's long-held mission of providing a home for world-class visual arts programming. The largest facility of its kind in the region, the center presents exhibition, education and collection programs that support the university’s role as a key educational, cultural and service resource. The center presents multidimensional exhibits and programs and is a dynamic presence in the community, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the power and excitement of the visual arts.

The Turchin Center is located at 423 West King St., in Boone. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tues. - Thurs. and Saturday, and Noon - 8 p.m., Friday. The Center is closed Sunday and Monday, and observes all university holidays. Admission is always free, although donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, call 828-262-3017 or visit http://tcva.org. For additional details about the Turchin Center, becoming a donor, the upcoming exhibitions, to be added to the mailing list or to schedule a tour, please call 828-262-3017 or visit http://tcva.org. You can also follow the Turchin Center on Facebook and Twitter @TurchinCenter.


The Turchin Center receives critical support from a group of outstanding media sponsors that are dedicated to promoting the arts in our region, including: High Country 365, High Country Radio, WFDD 88.5, WDAV 89.9 and WASU 90.5FM.

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Coronavirus information

Based on a priority to maintain the health and safety of our visitors and staff during COVID-19, the Turchin Center will remain closed to the public for the duration of Fall Semester. The Turchin Center’s administrative offices are open and the staff is available to assist students, faculty, staff and community members with digital information and online resources related to our exhibitions. Please contact us at 828-262-3017, or reach out to our staff via email, and let us know how we can assist you. Learn more

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Gallery hours

Based on a priority to maintain the health and safety of our visitors and staff during COVID-19, the Turchin Center will remain closed to the public for the duration of Fall Semester.

During times of inclement weather, the Turchin Center follows the closing schedule of Appalachian State University.

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Boone, NC 28608

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