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WCU Stories

Artist collective plans artwork in Dillsboro, sets town hall meetings

In partnership with the Appalachian Women’s Museum and the Jackson County Public Library, Western Carolina University’s LIVLAB Artist Collective will be hosting two town hall meetings to gather local stories of women who have built, nurtured and sustained local communities and Western North Carolina.

Those stories will be incorporated into the making of a new public artwork in Dillsboro at the Appalachian Women’s Museum. Located at the Monteith Farmstead, the museum is dedicated to preserving the stories of ordinary women leading extraordinary lives.

The meetings are set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Both will be held in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library.

The LIVLAB Artist Collective in WCU's School of Art and Design is made up of WCU assistant professor of sculpture Morgan Kennedy, regional artist Shanna Carvell, master of fine arts students Raymond Baccari and Mo Kessler, and WCU fine arts alumnus Todd Martin.

“The story of Appalachia is often told by outsiders and obscures key parts of our history, particularly the central role of women in the development of Appalachian communities,” Kessler said. “The LIVLAB/Appalachian Women’s Museum project will reflect the stories of women who have shaped this region as told and collected from those who live here.”

Carvell said countless oral histories are passed along by the women of the mountains. “Our origins, lineage, accomplishments and humor are retold at every gathering, whether in mourning or teaching or celebration or blended together in union,” she said. “Women have carried these intangible lines for generations. What better way to make these voices stronger than by bringing them together in a shared story of identity.”

The meetings are free and open to the public. Childcare will be provided and food will be served. The library is located at 320 Keener Street in Sylva.

For more information, contact Kennedy at

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