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Spectacular Spring at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

by April Flanders

The galleries at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University change throughout the year and feature compelling original art that is accessible to all members of the community. On March 6 from 6-10 pm, the public is invited to explore the galleries of the Turchin Center during the Spring Exhibition Celebration with the opening of five new exhibitions. This event is held in conjunction with the downtown Boone Art Crawl. Numerous exhibiting artists will be on-hand to meet visitors and provide insight into their intriguing work. The musical group Belleville Rendezvous will perform. Refreshments and a cash bar will be available and there will be creative art-making activities in the Moskowitz Gallery. This event is free and open to the public.

Lian Lian by Hui Chi Lee

New Exhibitions

Lian Lian – An installation by Hui Chi Lee

January 24 – June 6, 2020 in the Main Gallery

People are by nature social beings and need other people to survive. Consequently, they tend to perpetually seek social interactions. The title of the exhibition includes a pair of Chinese homophones “Lián 連 and Liàn 鏈” that, depending on the context, mean either “to connect” or “to enchain.” Lee’s towering drawings and dresses portray entwined bodies. Lee explains, “I have selected the qualities we associate with mannequins— plastic and figure-like, but inanimate and anonymous— as a vehicle to encourage viewers to think about these seemingly contradictory yet connected conditions.” The randomly amassed mannequin-like figures in the drawings lack self-determination and appear powerless, much like many vulnerable and immobile human beings in today’s society.


Abundant in the installation is human hair and chopsticks. In Chinese tradition, lengthy hair signifies the duration of a life span. While we may acknowledge the finitude of life, time is envisioned as somehow endless. Pairs of red chopsticks act as unknown teasers— and the viewer must ponder, do these ambiguous teasers lift, pull and twist the unbounded hair to snarl, or to free the mannequins?


A site-specific installation of a Zen garden at the center of the exhibition provides a space for viewers to reassess and meditate on their relationship with other people. At the center of the Zen garden is a fabric sculpture made of a Chinese canopy with braided strands of human hair hanging down like a stream that connects sky and earth.


Hui Chi Lee is an assistant professor in studio art at Appalachian State University. Lee’s artwork focuses on drawing, painting, and mixed media. She received her BFA from the University of Arizona, an MS in Art Therapy & Art Education from Illinois State University, and an MFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Florida. Hui Chi Lee’s artworks have been exhibited in Asia, Europe, and across the United States.


MARIA: Lesia Maruschak

March 6 – August 1, 2020 in the Mayer Gallery

Project MARIA memorializes the more than 4 million victims of the 1932-33 famine in Soviet Ukraine – the Holodomor – an event widely thought to be genocidal. “Holodomor” is a combination of the Ukrainian words for hunger (holod) and extermination (mor), from the verb ‘moryty’ to kill by hunger or exhaustion. The Holodomor is a complex, highly debated historical event.


Project MARIA is Lesia Maruschak’s intellectual and emotional response to the Holdomor based on her research and stories shared by survivors. The project includes books, installations, textile sculptures, performance, lectures and film. At its center is a single vernacular image of a young girl who survived and resides in Canada. Maria’s memories are now among those Maruschak also carries.


Lesia Maruschak is known for her compelling and sculptural images, and is recognized as an influential contemporary photographer manifesting the visual memory of history. Born in Saskatoon (Canada) in 1961, she spent her childhood on the Canadian prairies, land settled by her ancestors in 1897.

Art Department Faculty Biennial

January 24 – May 2 in Galleries A and B

The Faculty Biennial showcases the outstanding and thought-provoking work of 21 of Appalachian State University’s multi-disciplinary faculty. The work spans from painting, photography and glass to video, virtual reality and projection and even includes iconic elements of childhood such as a swing, Monopoly game pieces and a Red Flyer wagon. Providing direct engagement with current creative and scholarly research, the exhibition initiates critical dialogue about the nature of contemporary art. This exhibition offers the opportunity for students, community members, faculty and staff at Appalachian State University meaningful opportunity to learn about the many creative ideas and art practices being explored and taught within the university. In addition to the exhibitions at the Turchin Center, there is also work at the Smith Gallery located in the Schaefer Center for Performing Arts.


Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition

March 6 – June 6, 2020 in the Mezzanine Gallery

In its 17th year, the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition (AMPC) provides both amateur and professional photographers with the opportunity to showcase their interpretation of the unique character, people, places and pursuits that distinguish the Southern Appalachians. The categories include: Adventure, Blue Ridge Parkway, Culture, Our Ecological Footprint, Flora/Fauna and Landscape.

Over 1,083 entries were submitted and the jury panel selected 47 finalist images that are on display in the Mezzanine Gallery. Visitors to the Turchin Center are invited to participate in the People’s Choice Award selection through March 20, 2020. All awards will be announced on Saturday March 23, 2019, at the Saturday screening of the Banff Film Festival and through media outlets. According to Richard Campbell, Associate Director of Outdoor Programs, “We are thrilled with the images this year and look forward to showcasing them to the public when the exhibition opens on March 6th.”


The jury who selected the finalist images and the final award-winning photographs are accomplished photographers and artists. Joan Brook is a professional documentary photographer and adjunct professor in the Department of Art in Commercial Photography at Appalachian State. For three decades, J. Scott Graham’s legendary photographs of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park have helped define these two beloved sites for millions of visitors. Erin Durham graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Commercial Photography in 2016 and uses her photography to shed light on lesser-known topics with a hope to inspire others to make a difference. 


The AMPC is a partnership between Appalachian State University’s Outdoor Programs, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and Virtual Blue Ridge. The AMPC provides support for the university’s Office of Outdoor Programs and their extended expeditions that are educational journeys of discovery that take students around the world. The competition is generously sponsored by the Mast General Store and supporters include the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Nikon Cameras, Stickboy Bread Company, Bistro Roca, Peabody’s Wine and Beer Merchants, Smoky Mountain Living, Footsloggers, and Appalachian Voices. Visit the AMPC for more information: www.appmtnphotocomp.org


Expressive Arts 35th Anniversary Celebration

March 6 – June 6, 2020 in the Community Gallery

For 35 years Appalachian’s Expressive Arts Therapy Program—the nation’s only expressive arts program at a public university—has been educating and training caring professionals to integrate all of the arts into their work and way of being in order to support human growth, development, and healing. In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at Appalachian State University, a special exhibition of expressive arts work will be held at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. This exhibition, juried by Sally Atkins, Tiffany Rikard and Heather Thorp features the work of 29 artists including students, alumni, and current and former faculty of the Appalachian Expressive Arts Therapy Program.


For more information visit tcva.org/exhibitions


ARTtalk Series

As a complement to the varied exhibition program at the Turchin Center, ARTtalks are led by exhibiting artists, scholars and practitioners. Each talk provides deeper insight into creative practice, context for current exhibitions or contemporary issues shaping the world in which art is created, experienced and interpreted. The ARTtalks are held in the lecture hall at the Turchin Center selected Wednesdays and are free and open to the public.


Lesia Maruschak– MARIA

March 4, 6 – 7:30 PM

Artist Lesia Maruschak will discuss her work as an artist creating mobile memorial spaces and the global conversations generated by human rights and social justice in a museum environment. Project MARIA memorializes the more than 4 million victims of the 1932-33 famine in Soviet Ukraine – the Holodomor – an event widely thought to be genocidal. At its center is a single vernacular image of a young girl who survived and resides in Canada. Maria’s memories are now among those Maruschak also carries.


Hui Chi Lee: Lian Lian

April 1, 6 – 7:30 PM

Hui Chi Lee will talk about her artistic development over the past decade. In the past, her goals were more narrowly focused on interpersonal dynamics in a traditional Chinese family, self-expression, and an examination of personal issues. More recently, Hui Chi Lee is exploring larger environmental and social topics. Her move to Boone mirrors a shift in her artistic development.


About the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, named for university benefactors Robert and Lillian Turchin, fulfills Appalachian State University’s long-held mission of providing a home for world-class visual arts programming.  The largest facility of its kind in the region, the center presents exhibition, education and collection programs that support the university’s role as a key educational, cultural and service resource. The center presents multi-dimensional exhibits and programs and is a dynamic presence in the community, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the power and excitement of the visual arts. Its seven galleries host changing exhibitions featuring local, regional, national and international artists.


The Turchin Center is located at 423 West King St., in Boone. Hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Tues. – Thurs. and Saturday, and Noon – 8 p.m., Friday. The Center is closed Sunday and Monday, and observes all university holidays. Admission is always free, although donations are gratefully accepted. For general inquiries, to be added to the mailing or e-news list, to obtain donor program details or to schedule a tour, call 828-262-3017, e-mail turchincenter@appstate.edu or visit tcva.org. The Turchin Center can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter @TurchinCenter.



The Turchin Center receives critical support from a group of outstanding media sponsors that are dedicated to promoting the arts in our region, including: High Country 365, High Country Radio, WFDD 88.5, WDAV 89.9 and WASU 90.5FM.


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