JULY 18  –  AUGUST 3

ARTISTS FEATURED: Beth Bailey, Courtney Long, Julie Cioffoletti, Jenny Mastin, Kim Ollis, Denise Riddle, Suzie Rowland, Mary Marcia Salsbury,
Kristin Steiner, Joanne Stock, Judy Teele, Debbi VanOrdstrand

Discover the body of work displayed in the Gallery that tells the story of twelve different artists with diverse skills and talents who came together to encourage each other as producing artists. Many are highly seasoned artists; successful in their chosen medium but others like myself are newcomers in need all the encouragement and hand holding that the seasoned veterans can give.

The common thread running among us is our love of art and our wish to see Morganton and the surrounding region become a vibrant and welcoming arts community that nurtures creativity in all of its many forms.

The idea for a supporting group of artists was born when Courtney Long, then Vice President of the Burke Arts Council and Mary Marcia Salsbury, President, began to discuss the emerging feeling in the community that Morganton and Burke County were standing just on the threshold of reinventing themselves as strong art communities. Courtney, who is also head of the Professional Crafts Program at Western Piedmont Community College, was a fan of the Penland School of Crafts and Mary Marcia knew the school well. They imagined a day when Burke County could become a sort of new Penland. A place where artists might gather to learn in an encouraging environment. Both women embraced the idea of art education and community support as a way to reach established, as well as emerging artists. All this could be done against the backdrop and beauty of Burke County and its rural bucolic settings. That concept led to the thinking that small artist groups could come together to stay current, to push themselves, to open businesses, to take risks, and to serve as catalysts for change and momentum. Even perhaps encouraging other artists to form similar support groups, thereby having a multiplying effect.

And so the Artist Collective was born, and grew in organic fashion and now there are twelve of us.