Hickory, NC – In conjunction with Hickory Museum of Art’s 75th Anniversary, the museum will present new works by the Blue Ridge Realists, now celebrating their 50th Anniversary. The artists include: Ward Nichols, Jack Greenfield, Bob Timberlake, Cotton Ketchie, Hal Bryant, William Mangum, John Furches, Frederick Craig Franz, Jason Drake, Gary Freeman, Scott Boyle, Phillip Philbeck, Richard Oversmith, Jeremy Sams, Chris Bell, and Clayton Pennell. The museum will create dialogue between works by the Blue Ridge Realists and works from the permanent collection, including paintings by Paul Whitener, HMA founder and first director, and artists associated with the Tryon Artist Colony. Blue Ridge Realists will be on view from now – August 25 in the Coe Gallery.

Paul Whitener loved the Blue Ridge Mountains – it was where he first developed a passion for painting, and it was where he returned again and again to paint his beloved Grandfather Mountain. Although he died before the Blue Ridge Realists were formed, he is an Honorary Blue Ridge Realist for this exhibition, in recognition of the contributions he made to rural realism of the area.

Jon Carfagno, Executive Director, Clarissa Starnes, Associate Director, and Kristina Anthony, Exhibitions Manager, will lead tours through the galleries. Other events include the exhibition’s Meet the Artists Reception on Saturday, May 11 from 5-7 PM and the Who Cares Gallery Talk: The Blue Ridge Realists on Thursday, July 25 from 10:30 until 11:30 AM.

Support is generously provided by exhibition sponsor Dixon Endowment Fund for Innovation in Lifelong Learning and annual sponsor Alex Lee, Inc.

Hickory Museum of Art was founded by Paul Whitener in 1944 to collect, foster, and preserve American Art. Faced with the challenge of bringing art to Hickory, Paul connected with artists in their various forms. Eight works were collected that year. Today, 75 years later, the museum has evolved into an arts center featuring an extensive permanent collection of art objects across all mediums as well as a variety of education classes and events for all ages.

Hickory Museum of Art brings people together from all walks of life and inspires creativity in a way that launches the Unifour region (Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, and Alexander Counties) forward as a leader in innovation and culture. The museum represents and promotes our community as a center of innovative creativity and inclusivity through its commitment to visual arts, education, and collaboration.

Hickory Museum of Art is located on the SALT Block, at 243 3rd Avenue NE in Hickory. For more information about museum exhibitions, art classes, field trips, and events, visit HickoryArt.org or call 828-327-8576.

Photo Top To Bottom: 1) Cotton Ketchie, Mill Pond; 2) Jason Drake, Evening Solitude And 3) Bob Timberlake, Boone Winter.