Artful Adventures: Exploring the Arts in Brevard & Transylvania County
Thanks to its surrounding natural beauty, Brevard has long attracted artists across every discipline, turning the area into a moveable feast of memorable art experiences. This month, the Adventurist sat down with Kathy King, Executive Director of the Transylvania Community Arts Council, to provide some insights into what makes our artistic community so special for residents and visitors alike. And since it’s getting to be “that time of year,” Kathy offered to provide some great shopping suggestions for those of you who are looking for that special something to slip under the Christmas tree.
Kathy, tell us a little about yourself.
Kathy has a fascinating background. She’s been a corporate attorney, a wedding and fine art photographer, and an educator. All three disciplines provided her with the perfect background to take over the reins of the Arts Council in 2021. She says, “It just seems like everything I have been doing led me to this place. I absolutely love the Arts Council, its mission, and what I do every day. And I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t!”
What is the Transylvania Community Arts Council?
“Transylvania Community Arts Council was formed over fifty years ago and, initially, its primary purpose was holding an annual “Festival of the Arts.” In 1983, we received our 501(c)3 status and really began to expand. Today, one of the most important things we do is advocate for the arts with our local and state governments. We also host about a dozen exhibitions each year which support over 500 local and regional artists, in addition to other events, such as our music appreciation series. Our signature exhibit each year is With Unity which is our annual multicultural exhibit. The purpose of With Unity is to show how the arts can unite communities made up of different racial, cultural, and social backgrounds.
“Another important aspect of our organization is teaching. For kids, we have a summer Arts Academy that’s enormously popular and includes instruction in songwriting, fiber arts, digital photography, painting, drawing, animation and cartooning, pottery and more. For adults, we offer instruction in pottery, drawing, photography, and painting, as workshops for advanced artists. For years, I would say we were more visually focused. But today we are expanding into a wide variety of the performing arts, including music and theatre. We’ve also started an open mic night for writers and readers.”
What makes Brevard’s arts community so special?
“We are blessed with so many talented artists in different fields and mediums. But what is really special about our arts community is that they support each other and are eager to share their knowledge and their expertise. And, of course, the setting we have here is so inspiring. You really can’t go wrong when you’re painting landscape scenes on the Blue Ridge Parkway or waterfalls in our forests.”
The holidays are upon us, and everyone is out there trying to find that special something for that
special someone. Why is Brevard a good place to find a unique holiday gift?
“We have so many galleries and studios located in our convenient and very walkable downtown. And the work you find is so unique – these are handmade gifts you are not going to find on Amazon or online.”
“In that spirit, I think your readers will want to know about the newest exhibit in our gallery here at the Arts Council. It’s called Small Works – Great Wonders. It opened on November 10th and runs through December 21st . Every work can be no larger than 16 inches in any direction and must cost less than $275. The whole idea is to make art more affordable and make it possible for people to give the gift of art.”
What are some of your favorite places to shop in Brevard & Transylvania County during the holidays?
“Honestly, it’s hard for me to walk into TC Arts Center Gallery here at the Arts Council every morning without wanting to buy something! We also run a cooperative gallery right in downtown, Number 7 Art Gallery, which is home to about 30 artists, and includes just about every medium you might be looking for. Within a stone’s throw of Number 7 are a number of amazing galleries, all right here in downtown Brevard. The Explore Brevard website has a great list of galleries and studios. Heart of Brevard has a
handy shopping and dining guide that’s a nice companion for exploring downtown. And don’t be surprised to see great art as you explore the county, especially in places like Cedar Mountain and the Lake Toxaway area.”
You mentioned the performing arts as a new emphasis for the Transylvania Community Arts Council.
Where are some good places to experience live music?
“Here are some you can’t go wrong with: Brevard Music Center, 185 King, and the DFR Lounge in Brevard. And in Cedar Mountain, be sure to check out the Cedar Mountain Canteen. In addition to their summer music festival, Brevard Music Center has a fall/winter concert series at their intimate Parker Concert Hall that’s definitely worth checking out.”
Finally, are there special events every year where Brevard’s arts community is front and center?
“The Arts Council holds a juried exhibition in conjunction with Brevard College Art Department and Spiers Gallery in the summer. There is also our Arts is in the Air Plein Air festival, which is in its fourth year. And, of course, everyone’s favorite, the White Squirrel Festival. There are so many great artists and craftspeople who participate in that event and it’s another way to experience the incredible variety of what our artists and craftspeople have to offer.”
For more information about Transylvania Community Arts Council visit tcarts.org. They are located at 349 South Caldwell Street. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, 11 am – 5 pm, and Saturday, (during exhibits only, 1 pm – 4 pm).