About Us

The Burke Arts Council was founded in 1977.

Our Mission

Our mission is to enrich the quality of life in Burke County through cultural and artistic activities. We seek to coordinate arts activities in the community, serve as an information and resource center for the arts.   We seek to coordinate arts activities for the arts and to promote local artists and arts organizations. 


  • cART – wheels Grant:   This program, through the North Carolina Arts Council, provides students with arts learning experiences that spark creativity, imagination, and innovation.
  • Art Classes and workshops:  For children and adults; a wide array of art forms.  Topics also include artist-specific classes tailored to meet the unique needs of our craft artists in today’s economy.


  • Regional Artist Project Grant (RAP-G):  In collaboration with neighboring arts councils and the NC Arts Council, provides funding to a regional consortium of artists.
  • Art Gallery (The Jailhouse Gallery):  Presenting eight quality exhibitions and artist receptions annually, representing dozens of artists.
  • Artist Sales Gallery and Artist Directory on our website:  Showcasing and selling the artwork of our artist members.


  • Art on the Square:  A signature event on the Historic Burke County Courthouse Lawn in Downtown Morganton, welcoming outstanding artists from around the state.
  • October Oyster Outing:  Our main fundraising event; a local favorite on the Square in Downtown Morganton!
  • Third Thursday Art Crawls and Studio Tours:  Celebrate the creative energy of our local artists, arts organizations, & downtown entrepreneurs.
  • Annual Film Event:  A lively evening featuring an “art themed film” and a fabulous menu.                                                                                                                           


  • Grassroots Arts Program:  Burke Arts Council has been approved by the N.C. Arts Council as a Designated County Partner to manage Grassroots Funds.  Over $10,000 was distributed in 2014 to local organizations for programming.
  • Frequent Collaborations with local nonprofits, schools, retail establishments, and community service organizations.  An active collaboration with the Western Arts Agencies of North Carolina.

Funding for general operating and programming/  Sources of Support

  • The North Carolina Arts Council (through the Department of Cultural Resources);
  • Fundraising events;
  • Burke County General Fund;
  • Art Sales;
  • Corporate Sponsorship;
  • Foundation Grants;
  • Memberships;
  • Countless Hours of Volunteer Assistance

About Downtown Morganton:

Downtown Morganton is in the foothills of Western North Carolina with easy access from Charlotte, Greensboro or Asheville; located at Exit 105 on Interstate 40. US Highways 18 and 181, as well as US 64 and US 70 also intersect the city.  In a recent issue, Southern Living Magazine called Morganton a “small town we love”.  “This foothills Blue Ridge Community is quickly gaining a reputation as a vibrant hub for dining and the arts”.  www.downtownmorganton.com