Archived Arts & Entertainment

A world of art in your backyard

art coverComing into its fourth year, Cullowhee Mountain ARTS has grown into a vast array of workshops, one that seamlessly brings together professional artists from around the country. It is a program aiming to nurture creativity at every skill level, where students and teachers alike are able to flourish in an electric environment.

“I love working in a community of artists,” said Norma Hendrix. “I really like pulling all of those dots together, where you create a sense of community with the energy of people working side-by-side.”

Executive director of Cullowhee Mountain ARTS, a nonprofit organization bringing creative workshops to the campus of Western Carolina University, Hendrix is gearing up for this year’s installment of programs kicking off this week.

“It is astonishing to me how quickly it has become known internationally,” she said. “In only a four year span we have gained a reputation for creating a program of high quality workshops in state of the art studios.”

The summer series will offer 30 one-week workshops in the Fine and Performing Arts studios at WCU. These workshops range from printmaking, painting, mixed media, ceramic, bookmaking, sculpture, as well as poetry, creative memoir, and fiction. 

“When people come and experience these programs, they are totally energized about learning, and being involved in a community of other artists,” Hendrix said. “All of these artists go back to their studios completely charged up and ready to create.”

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CMA exists to support artists and writers of every skill level. It is committed to providing exceptional art and writing instruction in superb facilities in the midst of inspiring settings. The workshops and programs are designed to stimulate imagination by providing instruction of the highest caliber with artists of national and international reputations. 

The artists and writing instructors are nationally known and are experienced teachers. Participants will have an opportunity to get to know fellow artists and develop a community and network among other artists and writers from all points in the United States and abroad. There are assistantships and scholarships offered to regional artists, teachers and students. Youth programs are also available.

Hendrix pointed out numerous presentation and demonstrations that will be free and open to the public during the week. As well, through the Friends of the Arts at WCU, scholarships for workshop tuition are given out to WCU students interested in a career in fine art. Internships are also provided for other students looking to learn about a creative medium right from the source.

“These college students get the workshop for free with their assistantship,” Hendrix said. “They get to work side-by-side with an artist and see firsthand how the creative process works, and how to become a professional in their field.”

As a nonprofit, its commitment is to supporting the arts and developing a community of artists in the region and across the country. According to one estimate, CMA’s summer program participants have spent $28,700 in the local economy. 

“Everyone who comes ends up wandering through the area, which is a great way to infuse the economies of Cullowhee and Sylva,” Hendrix said. “People that come here will end up meeting other artists and making lifelong friends from another part of the country.”



Want to know more?

The Cullowhee Mountain ARTS summer program series is currently underway. Specializing in a wide spectrum of artistic mediums, it offers something for every skill level. The courses are as follows:

Week 1 (through June 19)

• Book Arts: Randi Parkhurst “Magical Book & Box Structure”

• Ceramics: Hayne Bayless “Slabs and Extrusions” 

• Mixed Media: Dean Nimmer “The 100 Drawing Challenge”

• Printmaking: Jane Nodine “Printing with Wax”

• Creative Writing: Lola Haskins “Poetry, Plein Air and Otherwise”

Week 2 (June 21-26)

• Book Arts: Alice Austin “Book Theater”

• Mixed Media: Ken Kewley “Abstraction for the Realist”

• Painting: Stuart Shils “The Structure of the Visual Moment”

• Printmaking: Kate Rivers “Mixed Media: Collage & Monotype”

• Creative Writing: Richard Goodman “Capturing Your Reader”

Week 3 (June 28-July 3)

• Ceramics: Alice Ballard “Finding Your Form Through Nature”

• Painting: Janice Mason Steeves “Exploring Cold Wax Medium”

• Mixed Media Printmaking: Jeff Hirst “Wax & Mesh: Screenprinting Onto Encaustic”

• Painting: Susan Lichtman “Person, Place, Thing — Painting Invention”

• Creative Writing: Lawrence Coates “The Story & The Novel — Forms & Variations”

Week 4 (July 5-10)

• Book Arts: Laura Wait “Writing as Imagery/Sewn Book Structures”

• Ceramics: Sue Tirrell “Surfaces: Design & Technique”

• Mixed Media: Lorraine Glessner “Mixed Media Encaustic”

• Painting: Catherine Kehoe “Light on the Figure”

• Creative Writing: Ellen Bass “The World Split Open”

Week 5 (July 12-17)

• Ceramic: Debra Fritts “Allowing the Figure to Speak”

• Painting: Lisa Pressman “Digging Deeper — Painting to Find your Voice”

• Painting: Rebecca Crowell “Cold Wax — Advanced Techniques & Concepts”

• Painting: Charles Basham “Landscape Painting: Observation, Interpretation”

• Printmaking: Julie Friedman “Thematic Monotypes”

• Creative Writing: Joseph Millar “Three Elements of Poetry”

During this summer program series, CMA will also offer two weeks of Youth Art Classes too. The dates for these are: June 22-25 for ages 5-8; and June 29-July 2 for ages 9-12. Spaces are still available for Youth Art Classes.

For information on Cullowhee Mountain ARTS workshops, course descriptions, costs and registration, click on or contact Norma Hendrix at 828.342.6913.


Lake Logan art retreats

In the late summer and autumn, Cullowhee Mountain ARTS will be offering several workshop/retreats at Lake Logan (near Canton). These will include visual arts and creative writing with the opportunity to get away, enjoy the natural beauty, and deepen artistic development. The retreat will offer sessions that include movement, meditation, nighttime fire circles, and more. or 828.342.6913.

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