The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) introduces a compelling series of exhibitions on view this Spring 2021, including highlights from the Carol and Shelton Gorelick Pottery Collection, “Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual: Traditional and Innovation,” “Drawing from Life: Ben Long & Tony Griffin,” “Blue Ridge Conservancy: Place Matters,” and the “Small and Mighty Acts Altar for Black Lives.” With a wide spectrum of narratives surrounding North Carolina’s rich heritage, BRAHM offers a compelling array of exhibitions, embracing the unique histories of our mountain town.
The Carol and Shelton Gorelick Collection
The late Carol and Shelton Gorelick were prominent art collectors. Together, they amassed a collection of work from many of North Carolina’s most prominent ceramicists, including Mark Hewitt, Donna Craven, Cristina Cordova, Herb Cohen, Stacy Lambert, Alex Matisse, and many others.
At the core of it all, the Gorelick’s were philanthropists, supporting multiple arts organizations and the Jewish community. BRAHM is excited to present a small selection of works from the Gorelick Collection in the museums’ Schaefer Gallery rotunda, with an extended large-scale exhibition of the collection opening this Fall 2021. Selections from the Gorelick Collection are on loan to the museum from Wendy Weiner and Jeff Gorelick.
“Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual: Traditional and Innovation”
The Qualla Boundary, home to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, holds integral roots to Appalachia. Established in 1946, “Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual,” the oldest Native American artist’s cooperative in the U.S., preserves the unique beauty of Cherokee artisanship.
Displaying over sixty-six works from various Cherokee artists, such as Joel Queen, Karen George, Fred Wilnoty, Geraldine Walkingstick, and Davy Arch, this exhibition explores a combination of Qualla arts and crafts. On view until March 6, 2021, this exhibition centralizes the ancestral and current contributions of the Cherokee nation to Appalachia at large.
“Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual” is produced in partnership with Qualla Arts & Crafts and WCU’s Hunter Library Digital Initiatives, was co-curated by Mountain Heritage Center curator Pam Meister, Qualla outreach coordinator Tonya Carroll, and WCU Digital Initiatives project leader Anna Fariello. The exhibition was developed with funding from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.
“Drawing from Life: Ben Long & Tony Griffin”
Ben Long and Tony Griffin share a special bond, first formed when Tony was only six years old. As Ben mentored Tony in formal drawing techniques, the pair unknowingly embarked on a lifelong friendship. Years later, Ben and Tony traveled Europe together, studied under masters, such as Pietro Annigoni, and strengthened each other’s artistic endeavors. “Drawing from Life” showcases, for the first time, a selection of Ben and Tony’s figure drawings and portraits on paper. It’s also the first duo exhibition the two have had together.
Over the course of several summers, Ben and Tony lived and worked in Blowing Rock, becoming active members of the arts scene. Drawing from their surroundings, the works in this exhibition reveal as much about their intimate lives as they do the models portrayed in their work. Ben, most renowned for his large-scale frescoes, and Tony, for his drawings and paintings, showcase their shared relationships of art, travel, and companionship in this exciting exhibition. Visitors can enjoy the displayed works until March 20, 2021.
The museum would like to thank The Art Cellar (Pam & Mike McKay), Katy Thompson & John Carlson, Mark L. Richardson, Claudia & Andy Heath, Melissa & Matthew McDonald, Philip Smith, Larry & Brenda Sorkin, and Ed & Anna McMahan for their support of this exhibition.
“Blue Ridge Conservancy: Place Matters”
If you’ve ever witnessed the four seasons in the High Country, you’re sure to appreciate the dynamic and encapsulating beauty of our mountainous region. The scenic magnificence feeds our local economies, through recreation and tourism, becoming integral aspects of our culture. Centering the work of Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC), “Place Matters” investigates the pragmatic endeavors for safeguarding the lands we treasure most. Since its inception, BRC has successfully protected over 22,000 acres of land in northwest North Carolina. Their contributions to the long-standing practices of land conservation sustains wildlife, human life, and our local communities. As development measures increasingly ensue western North Carolina, preserving these lands is now more crucial than ever. This collection remains on view until April 10, 2021.
“Small and Mighty Acts Altar for Black Lives”
“If you are Black in America, ‘tomorrow’ is a precarious concept. ‘Tomorrow’ means that you live another day to occupy spaces that were never meant for you. ‘Tomorrow’ means that you have the burden of carrying in your body, generations of trauma born of race-based oppression. ‘Tomorrow’ means that the very breath you draw into your lungs is an affront to the supremacy run rampant in our country and those who uphold it, willfully or unintentionally. ‘Tomorrow’ is not something generously offered to you by the ideals enshrined in our country’s founding documents. ‘Tomorrow’ means you must fight harder than you are fighting today.” – Cara Hagan, SAMA
“Small and Mighty Acts Altar for Black Lives,” on view in BRAHM’s Alexander Community Gallery through March 27, memorializes quotes, posters, stories, thoughts, and shared grief from the Altar for Black Lives that stood in Downtown Boone, NC in 2020. This reinstallation of the altar commemorates the global impact of anti-Black violence, inviting viewers to honor Black lives lost and question their own place in our shared battle against systemic racism. The exhibition is organized by Cara Hagan, interdisciplinary artist and leader of Small and Mighty Acts (SAMA). SAMA is a volunteer grassroots organization whose mission is to help people meet their civic potential.
Blowing Rock Art & History Museum – BRAHM
Located at 159 Ginny Stevens Lane at the end of Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock, NC, BRAHM is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Museum is closed on Sunday and Monday. For more information, please call (828) 295 – 9099 or visit www.blowingrockmuseum.org.