Skip to main content

Exhibition History

Contemporary Clay

Contemporary Clay: A Survey of Contemporary American Ceramics, Fall 2016, Installation View

Viewing Our Past Exhibitions

  • Explore our dynamic listing to view past exhibitions from Fall 2020 - present. 
  • Download the full WCU Fine Art Museum exhibition history from its opening in 2005
  • Discover exhibitions below, beginning with Spring 2020, expanding back to 2014. Many listings include a link to learn more about that exhibition.

52nd Annual Juried Undergraduate Art Exhibition
February 18 – March 20, 2020

Western Carolina University’s Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition is one of the longest-running Catamount art traditions. For emerging artists, this exhibition is an extraordinary opportunity to share their artwork with a larger public and to enhance their skills in presenting artwork in a professional gallery setting. Their work is reviewed by an outside art professional who has the challenge of making selections from the many talented students who submit an application. This year, the exhibition is juried by Tracey Morgan, owner of Tracey Morgan Gallery in Asheville. Learn more.


Time and Again: Glass Works by Sara Beth Post and Kit Paulson
January 29 – May 1, 2020

Funded in part by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, this exhibition brings together two Penland-based artists—Kit Paulson and SaraBeth Post—whose works in glass explore ideas about time, history, memory, and the antique. In many of their works, objects from the past are remade and reimagined in glass, creating a bridge between past and present. Learn more.


Curious Terrain: WNC From the Air
January 22 – May 1, 2020

Experience stunning aerial photographs of the WNC region by Alex S. MacLean, an artist and pilot with over 45 years of experience taking images from the birds-eye perspective of an airplane. Newly commissioned by the WCU Fine Art Museum, MacLean's striking images of the seven western most counties of North Carolina capture the unique qualities of the region’s built environment while also raising broader questions about humanity’s impact on the land through agriculture, energy, industry, and housing. Funding for this exhibition was provided in part by a grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Learn more.


Claire Van Vliet: Stone and Sky Art 
January 21 – April 24, 2020

This exhibition brings together a selection of vitreographs by Claire Van Vliet, a renowned printmaker and book artist. The landscapes on view, printed at Harvey Littleton Studios in Spruce Pine, NC between 1993 and 2010, depict dramatic rock formations from New Zealand, Ireland, and the American Southwest. A vitreograph is a printmaking medium that uses a glass plate to produce a printed image. See an example of a Van Vliet glass plate from her time at Littleton Studios on display in the WCU Fine Art Museum Exhibition. Learn more.

BFA Portfolio Exhibition: Studio and Graphic Design
November 12 - December 6, 2019

Experience work by graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts students from the WCU School of Art and Design. Highlighting their comprehensive course of study at Western Carolina University, this exhibition serves as a preface to their forthcoming careers as professional artists. The exhibition features student artwork from both the Studio Art and Graphic Design programs. A list of exhibiting student artists will be available in November. Learn more.


Resounding Change: Sonic Art and the Environment
August 20 - December 6, 2019

Featuring sound-based artwork that encourages visitors to listen more closely to the natural world and to think about how sound is being used in a time of environmental crisis. What can sound tell us about the current conditions that shape our planet? And what aspects of environmental change can we better understand through sound? Through these and other themes, the works in the exhibition consider our connection with the natural world and humanity's place in Earth’s intricate ecological web. This exhibition was supported in part by the WCU Campus Theme Committee, the WCU School of Art & Design, Guitar Center, and Winding Stair Nursery in Franklin, NC. Learn more.


Chakaia Booker: Auspicious Behavior
August 20 - October 25, 2019

Chakaia Booker: Auspicious Behavior features 19 prints, 3 wall sculptures, and one free-standing sculpture. Her utilization of the printmaking process chine collé allows her to create unique prints comprised of collaged lithographs and ink drawings. Booker has developed her own method to create her prints; Taking full advantage of the various tools and materials available in the print studio, Booker cuts into woodblocks with drills, chisels and grinders and paints on paper with gouache, watercolor and film ink to create an array of lively marks: some sharp and rough, others organic, swirling and energetic. Tires resonate with her for their versatility and rich range of historical and cultural associations. Booker slices, twists, weaves, and rivets this medium into radically new forms and textures, which easily withstand outdoor environments. The Ewing Gallery worked with the EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop to secure the loan of 16 prints. An additional three prints were produced in the University of Tennessee printshop by Booker, Blackburn Workshop master printer, Justin Sanz, and University of Tennessee printmaking students. Booker has been making prints with the EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop since 2009 and has been collaborating with master printer Justin Sanz since 2016. Learn more.


Cultivating Collections
June 4 – July 26, 2019

Cultivating Collections: Photography, Artist Books, Contemporary Native American Art. Experience highlights from three growing areas in the WCU Fine Art Museum Collection. This multi-year exhibition series highlights specific areas of the WCU Fine Art Museum permanent collection. In 2020, Cultivating Collections features paintings, ceramics, and work by Latinx and Latin American artists. Working under Curator Carolyn Grosch, undergraduate students in WCU’s Exhibition Practicum course assisted in the selection of works to display, interviewed artists, and evaluated strengths and opportunities for the collection. Learn more.


MFA Thesis Exhibition
April 9 – May 3, 2019

The exhibition spotlights works by three graduating artists and represent a synthesis of each student's experience at the WCU School of Art and Design MFA Program in Studio Art. The MFA Thesis Exhibition features work in a variety of media and surveys a range of conceptual themes and creative approaches that characterize the global cultural landscape and contemporary art practice. MFA candidates represented in this WCU Fine Art Museum exhibition are Chelsea Dobert-Kehn, Lauren Medford, and David Skinner. Learn more.


51st Undergraduate Exhibition
February 18 – March 22, 2019

The exhibition provides an opportunity for students to share their work with the campus and community while enhancing their skills in presenting artwork in a professional gallery setting. The students must write artist statements, compile digital images of their objects and prepare their work for display by framing, matting and creating mounts. Their work will be juried by Lee Walton, Associate Professor of Art at UNC Greensboro, where he directs both the Graduate Program and the Interdisciplinary Arts and Social Practice program. Learn more.


School of Art and Design Faculty Biennial
January 15 - May 3, 2019

Outside of the classroom, faculty members in the School of Art & Design are active artists and scholars that make significant contributions to the arts. They regularly exhibit in venues across the globe, from New York to Los Angeles to Japan and speak at major conferences in their fields. The School of Art and Design Faculty Biennial Exhibition provides students and the public an opportunity to view recent work created by these distinguished faculty members whose primary research output is studio based. Learn more


Outspoken: Paintings by America Meredith
January 15 - May 3, 2019

As a painter, independent curator, and publishing editor of the First American Art Magazine, Meredith uses visual art and writing to address important issues in the Native community. Her work celebrates Cherokee language and culture, examines changing customs, and challenges Native American stereotypes. This exhibition draws particular attention to the importance of language in Meredith's work, bringing together paintings that incorporate Cherokee syllabary, reference Cherokee oral histories, and pair found-object text with visual imagery. This exhibition draws particular attention to the importance of language in America Meredith's work, bringing together paintings that incorporate Cherokee syllabary, reference Cherokee oral histories, and pair found-object text with visual imagery. Learn more.

BFA Portfolio Exhibition
November 20, 2018 – December 7, 2018

Western Carolina University’s Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition is one of the longest-running Catamount art traditions. For emerging artists, this exhibition is an extraordinary opportunity to share their artwork with a larger public and to enhance their skills in presenting artwork in a professional gallery setting. Their work is reviewed by an outside art professional who has the challenge of making selections from the many talented student submissions. This exhibition features the studio art and graphic design production from graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts students in the School of Art and Design. 
Learn more.

Defining America
September 11, 2018 – May 3, 2019

Inspired by WCU’s 2018-19 interdisciplinary learning theme of the same name, “Defining America” brings together artists with varying perspectives on the concept of “America” and asks visitors to reflect on the values, definitions and assumptions attached to that concept. Learn more.

Julia Buffalohead: You and I
September 11, 2018 - December 7, 2018

The exhibition features mixed media works by Julie Buffalohead, a contemporary artist whose enchanting depictions of animal and human figures investigate the complexities of relationships, both personal and cultural. An enrolled member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, Buffalohead’s work is inspired by elements of Native storytelling, particularly the animal and “trickster” characters that are prevalent in Native mythologies. Of Ponca and non-native descent, Buffalohead uses her work as a platform for considering differences in cultural perceptions, the intricacies of bi-racial identity, and contemporary issues facing indigenous communities. She also addresses a number of shared human experiences, including motherhood, childhood, and emotional struggle. You and I examines the feelings of both togetherness and separation that are expressed in the artist’s images. Learn more.

Grids and Gradients: The Visual Systems of Vernon Pratt
August 21, 2018 – November 9, 2018

Drawn primarily from the collection of the WCU Fine Art Museum, this exhibition brings together a selection of recently-acquired paintings by Vernon Pratt, an artist who worked at the intersection of art and mathematics. Pratt took a systematic approach to his creative process, often exploring the rich array of possibilities within a given set of parameters. The paintings on view focus on two of Pratt’s characteristic elements—the grid and the gradient. Math activities for both college-age and middle-school students will be developed in conjunction with the exhibition to help illuminate the connections between art and math that permeate Pratt’s work. Learn more. A special thank you to The Vernon Pratt Project for their support of this exhibition.

Glass Catalyst: Littleton's Legacy in Contemporary Sculpture
June 14, 2018 – December 7, 2018

Celebrating the efforts of Harvey Littleton, one of the greatest proponents of using glass as an expressive medium, the exhibition explores the work of contemporary artists concentrating in glass and how they are building off the foundations laid by Littleton during the early years of the Studio Glass Movement. Artists featured in the exhibition include Alex Bernstein, Carol Milne, Hayden Wilson, Matt Eskuche, Shane Fero, Robert Burch, Dean Allison, Carmen Lozar, Carole Frève and others. Glass enthusiasts, sculptors, lovers of innovation, and even knitters will especially enjoy this display of works ranging from cast figures to blown glass to delicate lamp-worked forms. Learn more.


Mary Althea Parker: Abstract Impulse
June 15, 2018 – August 24, 2018

This exhibition is a small selection of Mary Althea Parker’s works held by the WCU Fine Art Museum, focusing primarily on Parker’s paintings made after 1950. Mary Althea Parker was a passionate painter and educator who dedicated her career to exploring abstraction. In 1948, Parker saw an exhibition of Hans Hofmann's work at the Addison Gallery of American Art that had a significant impact on her paintings. Hofmann's "brand" of abstraction, with its vibrant color and dynamic energy, resonated with Parker, and motivated her to take classes with Hofmann in Provincetown, Massachusetts. While many of her titles continued to reference the real world, her approach to painting shifted to being non-representational and followed Hofmann's credo that "There are bigger things to be seen in nature than the object." Learn more.


Joshua Adams: Facing Culture
June 15, 2018 - August 24, 2018
The exhibition brings together a selection of masks and carvings of the human face by Eastern Band Cherokee artist Joshua Adams, who expresses a deep reverence for his culture through his artwork. A teacher of woodcarving at Cherokee High School, Adams' work reflects on the importance of preserving his culture and how outside influences have, and still do, impact Cherokee life and belief. Intended for display rather than ceremony, these representations of the human face range from traditional Cherokee forms to contemporary twists on tradition. Made from a variety of woods with details fashioned from rabbit fur, feathers, porcupine quills, and traditional arrows, Adams' works demonstrate the technical complexity of mask making and the array of materials that enliven this artform. Sculptors, wood carvers, historians, craft enthusiasts, and those interested in Cherokee art and culture will not want to miss this exhibition. Learn more.

January 16 – May 4, 2018

LINING: SHEATHING is a large-scale installation about the tactile and protective qualities of textiles by collaborators Denise Bookwalter and Lee Running. The artists have been working together for five years, creating installations and artist books that include printed fabric, handmade paper, woodblock prints, custom garments, and embroidery. This installation has been developed in residencies at Penland School of Crafts, Penland NC, Constellation Studios, Lincoln NE, and Small Craft Advisory Press, Tallahassee FL. The focal point of the installation is a room-size tent suspended beneath a skylight. The tent is made from large printed and dyed textile panels which create a space that viewers can enter. Viewers are invited to try on one of the handmade garments and view the series of eight queen bed sized woodblock prints on handmade paper. For the exhibition at the WCU Fine Art Museum, Bookwalter and Running will also create a three-story site-specific window installation for the atrium of the Bardo Arts Center. Learn more.


Willie Cole: Soles and Boards 
January 16 – May 4, 2018

Since 1989, Willie Cole has employed the image of the clothes iron in his work. Cole morphs this utilitarian object to represent and reference a range of associations from African masks to scarification to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. This exhibition presents prints from Cole’s time working at Highpoint Editions in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 2011-2012. Learn more.

50th Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition
February 27 - March 30, 2018

A highlight of each spring season, the Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition is the longest running exhibition tradition at Western Carolina University. Dr. Beth Hinderliter, Associate Professor of Cross-Disciplinary Studies at James Madison University, serves as the juror for this display of creative expression in a variety of media by undergraduates at Western Carolina University. All undergraduate students enrolled at WCU are eligible to apply. Learn more.

Alumni Invitational Exhibition
February 13 – May 4, 2018

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the College of Fine & Performing Arts, the WCU Fine Art Museum invites 12 accomplished alumni of the School of Art & Design back to campus for this exhibition. Exhibiting artists include Amy M. Anderson, Connie Bostic, Mary Charles Griffin, Luzene Hill, Sally Jacobs, Cole Johnson, Dakota Ling, Jeff Marley, Olivia Mears, Tom Pazderka, Byron Tenesaca, and Preston Tolbert. Learn more.

BFA Portfolio Exhibition : Studio Art & Graphic Design
November 21 - December 8, 2017

This exhibition features the studio art production from graduating seniors in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in the School of Art and Design. Following a comprehensive course of research and studio production, students present a group portfolio exhibition as a debut to their careers as professional artists. Exhibiting artists include: Laura Casas, Sarah Cook, Tayler Coursen, Hannah Faub, Eric Garcia, Steven Handy, Garrett Hawkins, Erin Johnson, Skyler Kicinski, Derek Moose, Starkim Noble, Louis Panchy, Taran Swimmer, Gabriella Thompson


WCU Collects: Recent Acquisitions
October 3, 2017 - January 26, 2018

This exhibition showcases a selection of artworks given to the Museum during the past two years and includes a number of artists not previously represented in the collection. The WCU Fine Art Museum stewards a collection of more than 1,500 art objects in all media—from painting and printmaking to book arts, sculpture, ceramics, and contemporary craft. As we continue to research and interpret the collection, we also work to expand and strengthen our holdings through purchases and gifts. New acquisitions find their way into the collection through a variety of routes and particularly through the generosity of our donors. Learn more.


Return from Exile: Contemporary Southeastern Indian Art
August 21 - December 8, 2017

The exhibition features more than thirty contemporary Southeastern Native American artists working in a variety of media including painting, drawing, printmaking, basketry, sculpture, and pottery. The WCU Fine Art Museum will be hosting the national traveling exhibition Return from Exile: Contemporary Southeastern Indian Art, curated by Tony A. Tiger, Bobby C. Martin, and Jace Weaver. Return from Exile is one of the first major exhibitions to focus on contemporary artists from tribal nations with a historical connection to the Southeastern United States. These include the so-called Five Civilized Tribes, the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Muscogee (or Creek), and Seminole, all of whom were forcibly removed in the 1830s to present-day Oklahoma as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The title of the exhibition represents the return of these artists to their ancestral homelands. Learn more.


Ancient Forms, Modern Minds: Contemporary Cherokee Ceramics
May 29 - November 10, 2017 

The pottery of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians originated in Western North Carolina nearly 3,000 years ago. Pottery techniques have changed and altered over time, from initial constructions of large, thin-walled pots with stamped geometric designs, to blackware from the early 20th century. Using contemporary techniques, Cherokee potters often incorporate Cherokee syllabary and other popular Cherokee symbols and forms into their work. This exhibition features the work of 11 Cherokee artists, such as Joel Queen and Davey Arch, and brings together both historic and contemporary pottery techniques. Ancient Forms, Modern Minds was organized by the Asheville Art Museum and made possible through the generous support of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. The WCU Fine Art Museum is the last venue to host this important touring exhibition. Learn more.


Water Portraits: Barbara Tyroler
May 29 –August 25, 2017

Barbara Tyroler is an artist, photographer, educator, and community worker based in Chapel Hill, NC. This exhibition features select works from her water portrait photography. Her water portraits of individuals, groups, and couples are semi-abstractions produced from within or outside of various swimming pools. In some photos, her subjects’ bodies are recognizable, in others, only an impressionistic surface is visible. Tyroler’s portraits are lyrical studies of form and design as well as the story of people and places visually transformed by the reflective properties of water. Learn more.


Print Plus One: Beyond the Glass Matrix
May 29 - July 28, 2017 

In the late 1970s, Harvey K. Littleton, founder of the Studio Glass Movement, relocated to Spruce Pine, NC. Here, Littleton continued his experiments in vitreography, a printmaking technique that eventually became the creative focus of his workshop, Littleton Studios. Print Plus One: Beyond the Glass Matrix, features the work of seventeen artists who produced vitreographs at Littleton Studios. Many of these artists did not typically work in the print medium but were painters, sculptors, ceramists, or glass artists. The exhibition pairs vitreographs with objects made in these artists’ primary medium from the collections of the WCU Fine Art Museum and Asheville Art Museum. Learn more.


Voice: The Charge of Art and Activism
May 29 - July 28, 2017

Every artist employs certain convictions in their work. For some, it is a commitment to the formal aesthetic and material possibilities of an image or piece. For others, the notion that art must be a thing of beauty is traded for the immediacy of the message and the desire to draw attention to social injustices and inequities, no matter how difficult the subject; beautiful or not. The four artists represented in this exhibition, chosen from the WCU Fine Art Museum permanent collection, were selected for their humanist intervention as agents of change. Through vastly different images, each artist is fearlessly devoted to exposing and giving voice to the often challenging issues facing the human condition.

Artists featured in this exhibition include Drew Cameron, Erwin Eisch, William Kelly, and Corita Kent. Curated by artist and Exhibition Designer, Greg McPherson. Learn more.


MFA Thesis Exhibit: Sara Rincon

April 5 – April 14, 2017

“My work lives between formal design and chaos. subLiminal's pieces are a series of journalistic vignettes about personal life, death, fear and politics. These connotations are secondary to a more tactile visage created with expandable foam, faux fur and other inclusions.” – Sara Rincon


MFA Thesis Exhibit: Jordan Krutsch

March 22 –March 31


MFA Thesis Exhibit: Donna Sepulveda

March 1-17


49th Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition

April 3 - 28, 2017
Colorado-based artist Martha Russo serves as juror for this exhibition that features the best of new and innovative creative expression in a variety of media by undergraduates at Western Carolina University. Learn more.


Miwa Matreyek: Infinitely Yours

February 7 – May 5, 2017

Animator, director, designer and performance artist, Miwa Matreyek creates live, staged performances where she interacts with her animations as a shadow silhouette, at the cross-section of cinematic and theatrical, fantastical and tangible, illusionistic and physical. Learn more.


Soft Diplomacy: Quilting Cultural Diplomacy in Liberia 

January 17 - May 5 

Quilting is a responsive expression of Liberian women's identities and reactions on nationhood. Soft Diplomacy examines the ways that Liberian women participate in nation-building and facilitate cultural diplomacy across the Atlantic. The exhibition included a panel discussion on Thursday, February 9 discussing cultural exchange with Soft Diplomacy curator, Stephanie Beck Cohen and WCU professors, Saheed Aderinto and Jennifer Schiff. Learn more.


Women Painters of the Southeast

Jan 17 – March 24, 2017

Selected from the WCU Fine Art Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition fills the museum walls in a celebration of the contributions of women painters from across the Southeastern U.S. Learn more.

BFA Portfolio Exhibition

Nov 21 – Dec 9, 2016

This exhibition features the studio art production from graduating seniors in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in the School of Art and Design. Following a comprehensive course of research and studio production, students present a group portfolio exhibition as a debut to their careers as professional artists. Exhibiting artists include: Charlendez Brooks, Eric Dean, Caroline Drew, Storm Favara, Alyssa Jordan, Ross Byrd, Victoria Simmons,and TyAnn Stubbs.


BFA Graphic Design Portfolio Exhibition

Nov 21 – Dec 9, 2016

Works presented in the BFA Graphic Design Portfolio Exhibition are the result of students’ semester-long studies in contemporary graphic design. Students will display works done in traditional print media, digital design, and motion graphics.


MFA Thesis Exhibition: Janet Richardson

Nov 9 – 18, 2016

MFA Thesis Exhibition: Jenna McDonald

Oct 26 – Nov 4, 2016

MFA Thesis Exhibition: Paul Farmer

Oct 3 – 21, 2016

Contemporary Clay

Curated by Heather Mae Erickson

Oct 6 – Dec 16, 2016

Contemporary Clay, curated by Heather Mae Erickson, is an exhibition that examines the evolving, expanded field of clay and ceramics that runs October 6 – December 16, 2016. There are exciting shifts throughout the field, pushing this limitless material through new processes and concepts. This exhibition aims to show the depth and breadth of this material and its user’s ideas, ranging from, but not limited to, traditional and non-traditional functional objects, rapid prototyping, use of mixed materials in objects and installations and unfired clay as a final material. This exhibition encourages viewers to consider the concepts, processes and contexts of clay in contemporary art. Each artist, from emerging to established, was selected due to his or her noteworthy contribution to the field of contemporary clay and ceramics. Learn more.


The Language of Weaving

Sept 12 – Nov 7, 2016

The Language of Weaving challenges what Western cultures traditionally consider literature. Through a lexicon of designs and patterns, Maya weavers provide rich narratives for the readers of their textiles. This exhibition examines the work of three distinct communities of Maya fiber artists in Mexico. Viewers will experience examples of the work of two female-led cooperatives of Maya fiber artists located in Chiapas state, Tsobol Anzetik in Chenalhó and Jalabil in Oxchuc, as well as the work of the Bonilla family in Santa Elena in Yucatan state. The Language of Weaving translates, for Spanish and English speaking audiences, the woven Maya tales of these communities. Learn more.


Joel Morris: Artist and Friend

Sept 8 – Sept 16, 2016

A selection of work by the late Joel Morris, loaned from the collections of his devoted friends, who have endowed a scholarship in his honor for a student in the School of Art and Design. Morris, a WCU alumnus, made an art career as a painter, producing both traditional canvases, as well as outdoor murals across the state of North Carolina. Here in Cullowhee, he immortalized the Townhouse restaurant, a legendary local hangout, with a drawing that he made into prints. The exhibition is a tribute to his memory and his unique creative spirit.


Faculty Biennial Exhibition

Aug 22 – Sept 23, 2016

Outside of the classroom, faculty members in the School of Art & Design are active artists and scholars that make significant contributions to the arts. They regularly exhibit in venues across the globe, from New York to Los Angeles to Japan and speak at major conferences in their fields. Collectively, our faculty has received recognition and support from Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Endowment for the Arts. The School of Art & Design Faculty Biennial Exhibition provides students and the public an opportunity to view recent work created by theses distinguished faculty members whose primary research output is studio based.



June 13 – August 5, 2016

Elemental : conversations in art and poetry is an exhibition exploring the relationship between the written word and visual art with a focus on the four classical earthly elements. This exhibition features objects from the WCU Fine Art Museum’s collection that express the classical elements of earth, air, fire and water such as Robert Godfrey’s “Rekindling Fire”, Don Reitz’s “Geode Form” and Shan Goshorn’s “Pawnee Woman in a Field from the Earth Renewal Series ”. In an ekphrastic response to these objects, creative writers in residence for the Cullowhee Mountain Arts 2016 Summer Arts Series have created a rich literary experience for visitors to the exhibition. Their poems and short stories will be exhibited alongside the artwork that inspired them. Learn more here.  


Vision & Vistas: Great Smoky Mountains

April 18 - September 23, 2016

Great Smoky Mountains: Vision & Vistas is and exhibition of sixty original photographs and drawings made by photographers and artists inspired by the grand vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains. Professional photographers include such notables as Jim Thompson, George Masa, and George Grant, as well as amateurs who hiked with the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club. Herbert Pelton and Nace Brock created images used by Asheville promoters to advocate for a national park in the Appalachians. Working for the National Park Service, Hiram Wilburn and Charles Grossman documented mountain culture within park boundaries and the road construction projects that forever altered it. Irving Fromer, J.D. Chaffin, and Alan Youngblood, men enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps, made pencil sketches of a wilderness previously unknown to them. Together, these artists focused on the grandeur of the landscape to lobby for a national park and promote conservation in the southern U.S. Without their vision, perhaps the Great Smoky Mountains National Park would not have come into being. Since its inception, the park has been a popular destination, setting visitation records topping 10 million annually.


Next Wave: MFA Candidacy Exhibition

April 18 – 29

Next Wave: Brendan Best, Ali Burnett, Javier FoxG. Vincent Gaulin, Martha Neaves, Zach Rogers, Don Sawyer, Charlotte White


48th Annual Undergraduate Exhibition

April 4 – April 29

Reception: April 21

Juror: Richard Gruber

This exhibition features new works by WCU undergraduate students and includes ceramics, drawing, graphic design, new media, painting, printmaking, photography, and sculpture.  This year’s juror is J. Richard Gruber, PhD, former director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, LA.


Greg McPherson

April 1-15


MFA Thesis Exhibition

Tonya Anderson

March 31 – April 8, 2016

The WCU Fine Art Museum is proud to partner with the WCU School of Arts & Design in the presentation of new work by Tonya Dee Anderson, candidate in the Master of Fine Arts program.  In this highly anticipated exhibition titled ' - - - - - - - ', the work challenges material, form, and space, exemplifying the power of metaphor and semiotics in art.


Emily Ashton

March 14-31

Emily Rose Ashton, BFA Senior Portfolio Show: "Terroir [tare WAHr]"

The word ‘terroir’ typically refers to the land that any certain wine is cultivated from. The land’s different climate, soil and terrain all affect the ‘terroir’ of a wine, or in this case, a person. “Terroir” is a collection of images that reflect a space that has nurtured the peoples within it. Using this definition, I have applied the ideal to the cultivation of a person and their moral and social being, and how that is affected by where they are from. These images show my personal surroundings and the places and spaces that have affected me directly.


Solitude, Mystery: John Julius Wilnoty

January 25 - March 25

John Julius Wilnoty has been described as a “legendary” figure. A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, as an artist, he was driven to produce. A self-taught sculptor, he created hundreds of stone pieces, each with its own mysterious iconography. Wilnoty’s carvings are often complex, with multiple figures entwined together. As early as 1970, Rodney L. Leftwich, author of Arts and Crafts of the Cherokee, noted that Wilnoty derived “great pleasure in ‘hiding’ smaller designs of birds and other animals within the figures of larger ones.” Wilnoty had not been carving very long when he gained the attention of the public. He quickly and quietly became famous with his work in high demand. Writer John Parris labeled him the Cherokee’s “Michelangelo”.


Youth Art Month

March 1- 18, 2016

Reception: March 6

Budding artists from across Jackson County receive recognition for their talents during the annual Youth Art Month exhibit that runs through March at the Bardo Arts Center. Hosted by the WCU School of Art & Design this exhibit features artwork by local K-12 students.


Color + Theory : Past + Present

February 18 – May 6, 2016

Although color theory principles first appeared in the early 15th century, major advances were made by the German Bauhaus by artists like Josef Albers. Visitors to the exhibition will see an original 1963 edition of Albers’ Interaction of Color, considered a masterwork of art education, along with its 150 silkscreen color plates. Exhibition goers will have the opportunity to interact with the 150 color plates digitally in the 50th anniversary digital edition of Interaction of Color. This exhibition celebrates modern and contemporary artist who exploremeaning and the use of color in art. This exhibition includes prints by Josef Albers, major works by renown color field painter and Asheville native Kenneth Noland, and new work by Odili Donald Odita, an abstract painter whose work explores color both in the figurative art historical context and in the sociopolitical sense. The exhibition and public programming are sponsored in part by the Ascent Partnership between WCU and Harris Regional and Swain Community hospitals.


Architecture of Survival: Pedro Lobo & Jarod Charzewski

Jan 25 – March 18, 2016

Jarod Charzewski’s site-specific installation uses the idea of land as a capsule for history. A section of exposed earth also known as escarpment reveals sedimentary layers of rock and earth, containing natural geological artifacts. These layers, are in essence, the history of our planet. This project is about fabricating history with our own synthetic and fleeting artifacts as the medium. In his series of photographs, Brazillian-born photographer, Pedro Lobo, documents the favelas or shantytowns in Rio de Janeiro. The favelas in Rio are the longest-lived squatter settlements in the world,. There are about one billion squatters worldwide, one million of which are in Rio de Janeiro. Lobo’s photographic landscapes hint at the organized chaos as homes scale the hills. The photographs capture the hardening of these urban spaces as people put down roots and community develops. These beautifully composed images do not shy away from the sprawl, or the hardships of the favelas, yet they are filled with optimism necessary for like in these marginalized urban neighborhoods. These images attempt to show the human dignity of the “favela” dwellers, in spite of all the difficulties faced by those who have no other choice but to live in these excluded communities.


John Ogburn

Jan 25-Feb 29, 2016 

Artwork by David Holt

Nov 2 – 24, 2015 


MFA Thesis Exhibition: Mary Cozens

Nov 30 - Dec 14, 2015


BFA Portfolio Exhibit

Nov 23 - Dec 4, 2015


MFA Thesis Exhibit: Leigh Ann Parrish

Nov 5 – 25, 2015

The WCU Fine Art Museum is proud to partner with the WCU School of Arts & Design in the presentation of new work by candiddates in the Master of Fine Arts program.  In this highly anticipated exhibition debut, four master artists introduce their work to the campus, community, and the world.


Kimberly Gatozz

Oct 19 – Nov 2, 2015


Brendan Best

Oct 19 – Nov 2, 2015


Connections: Diane Fox & Beauvais Lyons

Oct 12, 2015 – Jan 15, 2016

Photography by Diane Fox, Hokes Archive by Beauvais Lyons

Lyon's mock-documentary project, The Association for Creative Zoology, presents a tongue-in-cheek response to the ongoing controversy of Darwin's theory of evolution. Through prints, photographs, video, models, and other support materials, the installation posits how new animal species collaged together by the hand of God. In confusing the imaginary and real, Lyons challenges the ways that our beliefs about the world are formed. 


Tomb to Taller: Maya Collection

Sept 17 – Nov 1, 2015

Artwork from the collection of Paul Worley & Melissa Birkhofer. 

Inspired by the prehispanic tradition of painted codices, contemporary Mayan book artists produce extraordinary works significant to the field of book arts. This exhibition features artist books from a community of Maya printmakers, papermaker and book artists, Taller Leñateros, the Woodlanders Workshop in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.


Cathryn Griffin Photography

Aug 3 – Sept 25, 2015

Somewhere Between Here and There: Cathryn Griffin

This visual anthology brings to light the liminal moments in time, the regular stuff of life that one neglects to remember. Griffins captures these moments in photographs that command us to stop and consider the power of these quiet moments.


YeeHaw Press

July 1 - Sept 4, 2015

Yee-Haw: iconic Knoxville print studio 1996- 2012

On display from the WCU Fine Art Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition features works printed at Yee-Haw Industries by founders Julie Belcher and Kevin Bradley. Yee-Haw’s acclaimed rough-cut, honky-tonk style caught the eye of cultural icons like Lucinda Williams, Cormac McCarthy and Ralph Lauren, who commissioned work from Belcher and Bradley. During its time as a working press studio, Yee- Haw held the largest collection of letterpress type east of the Mississippi.


Cullowhee Mountain Arts: Source Material

June 15 - July 24, 2015


Faculty Biennial

April 9 - May 29, 2015

Outside of the classroom, faculty members in the School of Art & Design are active artists and scholars that make significant contributions to the arts. They regularly exhibit in venues across the globe, from New York to Los Angeles to Japan and speak at major conferences in their fields. Collectively, our faculty have received recognition and support from Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Endowment for the Arts. The School of Art & Design Faculty Biennial Exhibition provides students and the public an opportunity to view recent work created by theses distinguished faculty members whose primary research output is studio based.


2015 Juried Undergrad Exhibition

April 23 - May 8, 2015 
Reception; April 23, 2015

The Juried Undergraduate Exhibition is an independently juried exhibition featuring the best of new and innovative, creative expression in a variety of media by undergraduate students at Western Carolina University.


MFA Thesis Exhibitions

March 23 - April 10, 2015

Amy M. Anderson / Kevin McNiff


Youth Art Month

March 1 - March 23, 2015 
Reception; March 22

Budding artists from across Jackson County receive recognition for their talents during the annual Youth Art Month exhibit hosted by Western Carolina University's School of Art & Design & Fine Art Museum. The exhibit at WCU's Bardo Arts center is a celebration of Youth Art Month, a nationwide recognition of visual arts programs and the role they play in the nation's public schools.


Tracking Time

Jan 22 - March 27, 2015

Anna Jensen plays an intended, focused game of hide and seek, pushing and pulling, teasing us, pointing fingers while, at the same time, asking for forgiveness. Her paintings are self-possessed confessions full of emotional underpinnings, littered with pop and art historical references that tend to ground her efforts, keeping them in this world. She refers to her work as 'psychological landscapes' that are more intimately revelatory than therapeutic or settled. Stylistically adventurous, she mixes the beautiful with the grotesque, the personal with the arcane, throwing her world out for us to decipher, forcing us to deal with them. Provocative, un-nerving, calculated, and fragile.

Karen Ann Myers creates naturalistic, intimate portraits of women that she knows or who act as stand-ins for the artist herself. From a view peering in from above, she places each person in an imagined bedroom setting, ripe with patterning fabrics, sparse modern furniture and accessories, an almost fashion layout but much more unsettling, almost dream-like. "I think of all of my paintings as psychological self-portraits, whether I am painting myself or someone else", says the artist. "These portraits are my version of a written diary. Each painting marks a specific time in my life and documents the objects of importance at that time. They are short-stories, mini-narratives, influenced by my intimate experiences with friends, family, and lovers."


Vadim Bora: Portraits

Jan 29 - March 6, 2015 

David Raymond & Eric Oglander

Oct 30, 2014 - Jan 9, 2015

An internationally renowned artist, filmmaker, art collector and arts supporter, David Raymond presents a select sampling of his re-contextualized (and now) artful 'found' photographs that he has been carefully collecting in the US, South America and Europe for the past ten years. Visiting flea markets, thrift stores and searching on the Net, Raymond has amassed a growing collection of several thousand images. When viewed singularly or in 'curated' groupings, these seemingly cast-away and forlorn pictures take on new meaning and in a sense, are brought back to life. Eric Orlander has been collecting images of mirrors for sale on Craigslist for several years and more than 500 lo-res images will be featured that shed light on many aspects of this American life. Opening portals to other worlds, together these two shows merge the everyday and the overlooked with the highest aspirations of what 'art', found or intended, can offer.


Senior Portfolio Exhibition

Nov 17 - Dec 5, 2014
The best of our senior's semester work, in all kinds of media, finds its way into the museum.


Rebecca Ringquist

Aug 21 - Nov 7, 2014

Switching between the slow, gentle rhythm of hand embroidery to the more aggressive speed of the machine stitching, Ringquist creates unique personal and universal narratives informed by modern life infected by a Feminist sensibility. Snippets of text in varying styles, riots of textured color, almost stream of consciousness image making and laying, crowd these misshapen and upstretched fabrics. According to the artist, "I tell love stories and create veiled fractured narratives full of double entendre. My work has been inspired of late by the fictional relocation story of the Swiss Family Robinson and my own cross-country move to Brooklyn. My work is at times careful, contrasted with moments of fast machine-stitched frenzy, expressing implicit and explicit intensities, and alternating between innocence and recklessness."


Teetering on the Edge of the Uncanny

Sep 5 - Nov 7, 2014

Its virtually impossible to visit any urban area anywhere in the world without finding examples of street art, both sanctioned and 'illegal'. Websites such as the long-standing Wooster Collective and the recent Google Street Art Project serve as roadmaps for accessing some of the more noted examples. For Teetering on the Edge of the Uncanny, we invited four regionally-based artists will descend on the WCU campus for several days to create live action paintings on four of FAM's huge four-sided walls, using spray paint and brushes, mixing working plans with improvisation.


Gary Kachadourian: Forest/City

Aug 21 - Oct 17, 2014

Gary Kachadourian's home-brewed batch of 'absurd realism' takes a new route in this full-room size installation titled Forest/City that engulfs FAM's entire main gallery and a portion of the museum lobby. The artist is creating a processed version of the great outdoors that started with a series of pain-staking, detail-oriented, scaled-down pencil drawings and a gallery mock-up that is then scaled-up, re-produced, and mechanically printed to a huge, life-size proportion and installed on the gallery's walls and floor, engulfing the visitor and exaggerating marks, line-work, and distortions caused by the printing process.



May 19 - Aug 1, 2014

Vitreography is a printmaking technique that uses glass matrix instead of the traditional metal, wood or stone. The artists who pioneered this method, alongside the internationally-renown artist Harvey K. Littleton, experimented with a variety of printmaking methods using the glass plate. Tucked away in the mountains of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, Littleton Studios has inspired many artists-in-residence to explore the concepts and aesthetics of the natural world that surrounded them. This exhibition explores a variety of these styles and was selected from the FAM's collection.


North Carolina Art Educators Exhibition

May 29 - July 18, 2014

This biennial juried exhibition features the work of art educators throughout North Carolina and is hosted every two years by different visual art organizations across the state. On exhibit at FAM/WCU this year, the exhibition celebrates the artwork of those artists who ultimately link children with the wonderful and engaging world of art making. This year's selected artists include: Jenny Schultz, Vijay Govender, Kathleen Bennett, Megan Bostic, Madison Crawley, and others.


CMA Summer Faculty Exhibition

June 19 - July 25, 2014

The 2014 Cullowhee Mountain Arts faculty invitational features the work of 23 contemporary artists working throughout the United States, bringing a broad range of contemporary expressions to the Fine Art Museum. Expect an invigorating compilation of art in the following disciplines: Book Arts, Ceramics, Mixed Media, Painting, Printmaking and Sculpture from artists Alice Austin, Jeff Oestreich, Pat Burns, Rebecca Crowell, Jan Mason Steeves, and others.


Remote Sites of War

April 10- May 30, 2014

Ongoing-armed conflicts involving the United States in some place in the world seem to have little effect on us-unless of course, we either have participated in them or know friends and families who have. Generally speaking though, the embodiment of war, what really happens on the battlegrounds or the behind-the-scenes activities are generally hidden from view. Artists Todd Drake, Skip Rohde, and Christopher Sims, veterans in their own right, present a worldview of war that is quietly revealing and poses as many questions for us to consider as it does answers. The artists don't take sides. Instead, they share their forthright observations from what they have experienced, were privy to, or have aimed to interject, each in different ways.


Joan Byrd & George Rector: Ceramics

February 17 - May 9, 2014

The Fine Art Museum is proud to present a special exhibition featuring a selection of works from the ceramic collection of Joan Byrd and George Rector. The much celebrated WCU professor and influential educator Joan Byrd has taught and inspired many students here for the past forty-three years and is set to retire at end of this school year. Some of the artists whose works will be on view (besides pieces by Joan and George) include Lanier Meaders, Burlon Craig, Tatsuzo Shimaoka, and Sandy Simon.


2014 Juried Undergraduate Exhibition

April 10 - May 9, 2014
Reception; April 10, 2014

An independently juried exhibition featuring the best of new and innovative creative expression in a variety of media by undergraduates of the School of Art and Design.


Touch in Real Time: Holly Hanessian

January 27 - April 4, 2014
Reception; Feb 20, 2014

Hanessian collects handshakes form across the country. Each handshake contains a wet piece of clay, imprinting each participant's hand with the artist's. The hold each other for 15-20 seconds, the time it takes for the bonding hormone, oxytocin to be released into our bodies. Hanessian studied the effect of the handshake alongside Dr. Greg Siegle at the University of Pittsburgh TREND (The Transdisciplinary Research in Emotion, Neuroscience, and Development).

The results of Hanessian's ongoing exploration into the intersection of art, emotion and neuroscience culminate in a series of exhibitions that serve as much of a sensory experience as the handshake itself. Her installation, Touch in Real Time, incorporates dozens of handshakes from across the country, artifacts of the moment, that leave the viewer in a constellation of shared experience.


Edward J Bisese: Good Thoughts Better

Jan 16th - March 31, 2014
Reception; Jan 16, 2014

Celebrating beauty, the grotesque, altered realities and real events, Ed Bisese visits us with his oddly vibrant paintings, drawings, and assorted objects. Here you'll find Hawaiian Kings and Hula Dancers, Bunnymen, three-armed migrant workers, dream sequences, and acutely observed portraiture. Bisese paints and draws on unstrectched canvas, wood panels of various shapes, paper, vinyl records, and postcards. On occasion, these images will assume a three-dimensional form, full of exaggerated scale, dream-like expression, and unique sensibilities.


MFA Thesis Exhibitions

Feb 10 - March 14, 2014

Featuring creative research by MFA degree candidates at WCU, the solo exhibitions in a variety of media reveal advanced critical analysis of each artist's creative process and personal passion as emerging art studio professionals.

Exhibiting Artists: Carrie Croom & Amanda Gaebel

To explore the full exhibition history of the WCU Fine Art Museum from its opening in 2005, view our past exhibition history PDF. 

Office of Web Services