Home Arts & Entertainment PRICELESS: New art exhibits front, center (and lakeside) of Blowing Rock culture

PRICELESS: New art exhibits front, center (and lakeside) of Blowing Rock culture

By David Rogers. August 7, 2019. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Some would say “suddenly,” while others offer that it has always been here.

Whatever the historical viewpoint, Blowing Rock is reaching full throttle as an artful place to live, work, play, and visit.

The recently opened “Modern Visions, Modern Views” pair of exhibitions focused on “The Cones of Flat Top Manor” and “The Cone Sisters in North Carolina” have received rave reviews by residents and visitors alike who have visited Blowing Rock Art & History Museum.

Blowing Rock is reaching full throttle as an artful place to live, work, play, and visit.

Selected from their extensive collection, the Cone Sisters exhibition, made possible in part by Wells Fargo Bank as the lead presenting sponsor, features a variety of works on paper, paintings and sculptures. Among the artists who drew the admiration and attention of Claribel and Etta Cone are works by Henri Matisse, Sarah Stein, Jacques Villon, Marie Laurencin, Ben Silbert, John Graham, Everett Bryant, Rembrandt van Rijn, Gertraud Brausewetter, Ilse Breit, and Bernice Oehler. One Blowing Rock Art & History Museum member and patron recently estimated to Blowing Rock News that the collection on exhibit would likely fetch as much as $19 million at auction.

Admission to the museum is always free of charge. Other current exhibits include Southern Strands: North Carolina Fiber Art and The Village of Blowing Rock: Exploring Our History.

Across Town

At the other end of Main Street, on the banks of Lake Chetola, Blowing Rock will play host to Sculpture Walk this week. Over 50 large, mid-scale, and small sculptures will be exhibited from August 9th to 11th.

A Sculpture Walk organizer, Brenda Councill explained to Blowing Rock News that every sculpture around the lake is in a position that is site-specific. “It is intended to best exhibit the beauty and quality of each artwork.”

Every piece is site specific to best display the beauty and quality of the work.

For anyone watching internationally famous sculptor Mike Roig install his “Share My Whirled” work along North Main Street in early June, it will come as no surprise that just setting up an outdoor exhibit of this magnitude is a significant undertaking.

“Many large scale works are sited with a crane, forklift, and a lot of manpower,” Councill observed. “In some cases, it will take four or five hours to set up major pieces. It requires a lot of dedication to their craft on the part of the sculptors who are only exhibiting their art here for one weekend.”

Conceived as a family-friendly and especially educational for younger folks, those taking part will be able to meet renowned sculptors up close and personal while viewing their award-winning works of art.

We’ll be tasting spirits and talking art on Friday, then dancing to the stars on Saturday.

While the daytime activities are free of charge and open to all, reservations and tickets are required for special evening events on Friday and Saturday.

Opening the weekend’s evening activities on Friday (6:30 pm to 9:30 pm) will be “A Spirited Tasting,” featuring internationally known artists, Bob Timberlake and Joe Miller. The theme will include “Prosecco and Painting/Bourbon and Brushes.”  Noted Councill, “We will be tasting spirts and talking art. It will include an illuminated sculpture walk, flights of prosecco or bourbon, hors d’oeurves, a bonfire, and of course live music.”

On Saturday (6:30 pm to 10:00 pm), “Starry Night” includes dinner and a special sculptors’ awards program, as well as dancing “under the stars” with The Starlighters Orchestra. Dr. Lawrence J. Wheeler, CEO and Director of the North Carolina Museum of Art (RET.) will serve as juror and host of the Starry Night celebration and awards ceremony. “Mr. Wheeler is deemed one of North Carolina’s greatest cultural forces,” said Councill, in explaining the importance of his participation.

All proceeds go to benefit the sculptors. This event is made possible by sponsorships from The Watauga County Arts Council, Grassroots Funds of the The North Carolina Arts Council, and generous private donations.


  • Friday
    • 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
    • 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm, RIBBON CUTTING, PUBLIC WELCOME
    • 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, “A Spirited Tasting” (Tickets Required)
  • Saturday
    • 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
    • 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, ART SPLASH (FamilyFriendly)
      • Virtuality games with artist Alan Gordon
      • Kids Clay Corner
      • Lawn Games
    • 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm, “Starry Night” (Tickets Required)


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