Arts council opens arms to the creative and curious

art frThere’s a buzz going on at the Mahogany House in Waynesville.

Normally, one could attribute that to a woodturning tool, handheld blowtorch or whatever else an artist might need to turn one’s vision into a physical reality. But today, that buzz is hearty conversation about the upcoming exhibit at the Haywood County Arts Council up the road on Main Street.


“This is all about showcasing local artists, new artists, and even some older artists getting out there with new pieces,” said artisan Teri Siewert, owner of the Mahogany House. “We’re focusing on local flavors, where each artist contributes a unique vision to the exhibit.”

A collaboration between the Mahogany House and the Arts Council, “Something New and Exciting,” is an exhibit opening at the council’s Gallery 86, which will run from Feb. 4 through March 29. An opening reception will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 9 featuring artist/harpist Betina Morgan.

“My hopes are that folks from this area will be drawn together to see beautiful pieces created by artists from right here in our community, our county, and our region,” she said. “People will be enriched by what they see in this exhibit.”

Though she has performed many times before at the council, this will be Morgan’s first display of her paintings in Gallery 86. Her work will be one of three featured artist demonstrations throughout the showcase. Morgan will do a live acrylic painting from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 8. Painter Sylvia Hirschegger will also demonstrate her oil palette knife techniques on Feb. 15, with collage artist Wendy Cordwell Feb. 22, acrylic on metal leaf painter Melissa Enloe Walter March 1, quilter Joyce Brunsvold March 8 and encaustic artisan Siewert March 15.

“Artists in this area are doing pieces from the heart, all of what they’ve collected throughout their lives,” Morgan said. “What you find here is that people are caring, genuine and real, with a true support for the community arts.”

Having her work in Gallery 86 has been a longtime goal for Enloe Walter.

“I’m so proud to be part of this,” she said. “This showcase will be a great cross-section and sampling of artists in this area — it’s really impressive.”

Alongside the demonstrations, there will also be photography, cold wax, woodwork, glass, art books, metal work, jewelry and ceramic mediums presented. All of this is in an effort to not only keep the lines of communication open between the arts council and local artists, but also to inspire and ignite the creative passions of any and all who inhabit and wander the exhibit.

“We are advocates of the imagination, and without that you get a life uninspired,” Siewert said. “They took away our crayons after grade school, and we’re trying to give people their crayons back. We want them to get that box of crayons back out and get that creativity back.”



Want to go?

The new exhibit “Someone New and Exciting” will run from Feb. 4 through March 29 at Gallery 86 in the Haywood County Arts Council in Waynesville.

Besides weekly demonstrations, the following artists will also have works on display: Terry Thompson (jewelry), Melissa Enloe Walter (acrylic painting on gold and silver leaf), Mark Schieferstein (metal work), Joyce Brunsvold (quilt art), Ron Brunsvold (photography), Cory Plott (ceramics), Craig Burgwardt (oil), Vicki Pinney (cold wax), Wendy Cordwell (collage), Becki Kollat (art books), Barbara Sammons (photography), Tadashi Torii (glass), T.E. Siewert (encaustic), Betina Morgan (acrylic), Jere Smith (woodwork), Sylvia Hirschegger (oil), Crystal Allen Coates (ceramics), Steven Lange (mixed media), Carol Blackwell (3-D assemblage), Waylon Christner (mixed media), Corina Pia Torii (visual artist), and Constance Williams (encaustic). or

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