Catawba County News

Library Exhibits Local Artists

Library Exhibits Local Artists

Published: October 15, 2020

The Catawba County Library’s Arts @ the Library initiative was launched in the summer of 2018 to provide wider access to the community’s rich arts and culture scene. This month, three library branches are featuring the unique works and collections of local artisans.

The libraries’ displays invite county residents to enjoy art usually exhibited at the Foothills Folk Art Festival, which was postponed this year due to COVID-19. The Downtown Newton Development Association helped coordinate these displays and others throughout Newton to promote local talent. The collections at the library will be available through October 31.

Showcased at the Main Library in Newton is glass art made by Reilly Yount. The St. Stephens Branch is highlighting felted art created by Millie Hefner, and the Southwest Branch is featuring pottery and mosaic art by Debra Zimmerman.


Reilly Yount (1953-2020) was an art teacher in the Newton-Conover school system for 35 years and also managed its Alpine Tower and after-school climbing experiences for middle school students. Following retirement, Yount began creating beautiful fused glass pieces. He exhibited and sold them at a variety of craft shows and at the gift shop of the Hickory Museum of Art, where he taught and took art classes.




Millie Hefner teaches art at Granite Falls Elementary School and lives in Hickory with her husband and two children. She has made a name for herself by pursuing needle felting, a versatile medium that takes raw sheep’s wool and shapes it into beautifully realistic renditions of people and animals. Hefner loves how versatile the art is and how relaxing it can be. She generally makes commissioned works of pets or fun caricatures of people.




Debra Zimmerman has worked with stained glass for more than two decades, shifting from making glass panels using copper foil to her preferred method of breaking glass to create mosaic art. An advocate of upcycling and repurposing, she frequently overlays mosaics on discarded wood, furniture, guitars, and more. After being introduced to clay at a fundraising event, Zimmerman also began to make functional and decorative pottery, adorning the surfaces with color, texture, and glaze. She teaches classes from her home studio (shared with her husband, Dale), at community colleges, and at special events. Her art is available in galleries, at regional pottery and craft shows, and at the Hickory Museum of Art’s gift shop.


Arts @ the Library is made possible with a grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County and partnerships with the Hickory Museum of Art and the Catawba County Friends of the Library.