Catawba County News

Library Forges Partnerships to Expand Access to the Arts

Library Forges Partnerships to Expand Access to the Arts

Published: July 18, 2018

As a new showcase for the arts, the Library has sought out partnerships with local artists and arts organizations to provide residents with meaningful arts experiences and hands-on arts training—with the goal of working collaboratively to increase access to the arts and, ultimately, to help build vibrant communities that enhance quality of life.

The first introduction of these partners was during the Library’s opening reception for its Arts @ the Library initiative on July 12. Local artists loaned their works for attendees to view and purchase, including pieces in clay, glass, metal, and wood, as well as two-dimensional art like photography and painting. The Library was also fortunate to display drawings from the Hickory Museum of Art’s recent exhibition of New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee, alongside an audience participation piece highlighting the museum’s mission to bring people together and inspire creativity through the power of art.

With the premiere of the Library’s Art-o-Mat – a refurbished cigarette vending machine that sells small items of art for $5 each – a variety of local artists learned how to submit their own works for consideration in Art-o-Mat’s international network of contributing artists. The personal exposure and visibility gained from such a platform can bolster the ability of local and regional artists to make art and to make a living – both critical to healthy communities.

Upcoming exhibits and programs will invite artists to share their works and introduce the idea of craft into the mix. At the Soldiers’ Reunion Parade in August, the Library will feature a loom where people can try their hand at contributing to a woven tapestry. A subsequent exhibit will encourage photographers to display their works showcasing unique local scenery and people.

Additionally, the Library is partnering with the Hickory Museum of Art and local and regional artists’ collectives (Full Circle Arts, Trade Alley Art, and Red Leaf Artist Collective) to create programs and curate exhibits that will be widely appealing and offer residents a greater awareness of the cultural resources available to them and their families.

Supporting these many endeavors are the United Arts Council of Catawba County with executive director Kathy Greathouse; the Hickory Museum of Art with executive director Jon Carfagno; Catawba County; the City of Newton; and the Catawba County Friends of the Library.

*Photo: Artist partners (l-r) Lindsay Robins, Ellen Schwarzbek, Reilly Yount, Ang Evans, Sami Bumgarner, Meredith Janssen, and John Gray.