The Arts…Summer Is Here! Slow down and savor it!

July is an exciting and busy time of the year in Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge with numerous events vying for our attention.  But there is always the option of choosing a soothing walk over the Flowering Bridge or a stroll around the lakeside of our village. It’s unspoiled beauty and tranquility serves as the perfect antidote to the big city hustle-and-bustle that many of our visitors are accustomed to in their daily lives.  It is good to take the time to look at our surroundings with an artist’s eye. The poet George Bellows said it well when he wrote:

The artist is the person who makes life

more interesting or beautiful,

more understandable or mysterious,

or probably in the best way, more wonderful.

Summer is a good time to travel to museums and galleries. We spoke of the many memories our Art Group has shared during a recent garden party at my home. In the early 80’s, the budding Lake Lure Artists group took a fantastic two-week trip to England and Scotland. There were eight of us in a rented van traveling throughout the UK, sketching and painting in the footsteps of John Constable and Beatrix Potter.  What a perfect vacation for an artist.  Just a few years later Winston-Salem was our destination where we visited the city’s art galleries among them being the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art known as SECCA.  The SECCA gallery has no permanent collections but offers a changing slate of exhibitions by regional, national and international artists.  In addition to visual art exhibits, the 32-acre former estate hosts music, dance and theatre performances.  Very worth a visit.   As mentioned in previous columns, one of my favorite small American Art Museums, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, also resides in Winston-Salem. This museum is attached to the Reynolda House, an imposing restored home of R.J. Reynolds.  This ever-changing venue of American Art is a pure pleasure to visit.

If you are interested in exploring other famous North Carolina museums and galleries, you may want to consider the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.  This museum was the first one to use public funds to buy art. It’s sprawling campus is the result of that vision.  There are two gallery buildings in a 164-acre park that is dotted with outdoor sculptures.  Here you can see works by Claude Money, Augustan Rodin and Georgia O’Keefe.

Another day trip is one to Charlotte where you can visit the Mint Museum. Established in 1936, the museum now contains one of the south’s largest collections. There are two locations – Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph.  Here you will see American art, craft and design, contemporary art and fashion.

Art’s a staple, like bread or wine or a warm coat in winter.

Those who think of it as a luxury have only a fragment of mind.

Man’s spirit grows hungry for art in the same way

That his stomach growls for food.

-Irving Stone

I have always said that the road to artistic achievement is one of self-discovery. Summertime is a good time for taking the time to examine your paintings, pottery, sculpture or whatever medium one chooses with objectivity and perception.  It is time to heed the words of one of my favorite poets.

It is a blue butterfly day here in summer,

And with those sky-flakes down in flurry and flurry,

There is mixed color on the wing.

                                                -Robert Frost

The artists of this special little part of the world welcome you with open arms to join us in our appreciation of our mountains, lake and company. Contact me if you are interested in the Lake Lure Artists at

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