Individual studios housing potters, wood turners, watercolorists, oil painters and other artisans dot the Mooresville landscape – a sign the arts are growing in the area.
Two galleries, Mooresville Arts at the Depot on West Center Avenue and Andre Christine on Ervin Road, provide opportunities for artists to showcase their work.
Sandwiched between these creative displays is the Mooresville Museum, the filling that holds the key to the town’s history.
Among the three, the fall calendar is packed with events.
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“We have lots of different exhibits and great events from now until the end of the year,” said Jessica DeHart, Mooresville Arts at the Depot gallery chairman.
The Depot’s schedule kicks off with “Emerging Artists,” a new show open to artists ages 15 to 40.
“The goal is to attract younger artists into art exhibits and give them an opportunity to show and sell their work,” said Elizabeth Patterson, Mooresville Arts president.
While focusing on events at the Depot, Mooresville Arts members are branching out. Look for them at the LangTree Art Festival, the American Wine Society’s National Convention in Concord, Art Nights at SpringHill Suites on Gateway Boulevard and other places.
“One of Marriott Hotels’ corporate projects is the arts,” Patterson said.
So in conjunction with SpringHill, Mooresville Arts is sponsoring an Arts Night featuring Sterling Edwards. The watercolor artist will conduct a workshop in September.
Edwards and his students will display their work at the hotel. Patterson said visitors will have “a good chance to buy paintings at a reasonable price.”
In October, Artoberfest, a familiar favorite, returns for its 32nd annual show. Two- and three-dimensional pieces will hang in the galleries, while pottery will be displayed in the Warehouse during the Trackside Pottery Festival.
Patterson and DeHart are excited about the artists’ reception for Artoberfest, Oct. 10. Singers with Opera Carolina will perform selections from an upcoming opera. This is a first for Mooresville Arts.
During November and December, juried items such as small paintings, Christmas cards and art crafts designed by Mooresville Arts members will be available at the “Give a Gift of Art” holiday sale.
The season winds down with an exhibit from the N.C. Watercolor Society traveling show. A painting by Mooresville Arts member Annie Glacken has been selected to be displayed at the society’s annual meeting.
In addition to these activities, classes and workshops are in session at the Depot. The sign by the door beckons visitors to step inside for a look.
Although it’s not within walking distance, Andre Christine Gallery, off N.C. 150, showcases all kinds of art – from large outdoor sculptures to small pieces of carved wood.
Owner Lynne Gingras changes exhibits every few months. She provides another avenue for artists to show and sell their work. Prior to an opening, she contacts 60 artists and selects the top pieces.
“Shows are the highlight of two to three months worth of the artist’s work. Sometimes the pieces are fresh from the easel,” Gingras said.
“Contemporary Mixed Media” featuring 13 artists opened this month and will run through October. The exhibit displays different concepts such as an updated look at Japanese bookmaking, experiments with alcohol ink and the juxtaposition of contemporary pieces in natural settings.
“I try to bring in all kinds of different art. People need to have that mixture,” Gingras said.
“Small Works” opens in November. No framed piece will be larger than 18 inches by 20 inches. Gingras described the show as a “nice wrapup to the year.”
Like Mooresville Arts members, artists teach classes and workshops at Andre Christine. Sometimes demonstrations are available for new offerings such as “Felting with Wool,” a class that begins in September.
Although the galleries provide a place to see new art, older photos and sketches depicting the history of Mooresville are housed in the Mooresville Museum at East Center Street.
Through funding of a part-time position by the town, the museum is open for limited hours Monday through Friday, in addition to being open the first and third Saturdays of each month.
David Whitlow, museum president, has seen an increase in visitors with the new hours.
A local baseball exhibit opens in September.
This year’s collectible ornament, a replica of the former post office on Main Street, goes on sale in October.
In December, displays will showcase highlights of past Christmases.
Whitlow hopes to make the museum available for school trips. “I believe kids will see something that will spark their interest,” he said.