Visual Arts in Jackson County



Jackson County North Carolina

The following information is excerpted from a booklet entitled VISUAL ARTS in Jackson County North Carolina. The booklet is compiled by Perry Kelly and published August 1955 by Studio Cullowhee, P O Box 755, Cullowhee, NC 28723. The booklet is sponsored by The Jackson County Arts Council and The Jackson County Visual Arts Association.

In addition to the excerpted information below, the booklet contains names, addresses and phone numbers of Artists and Crafts persons in Jackson County, as well as the name address and phone numbers of Art Resources in Jackson County.

Contact Perry Kelly at (704) 293-5458 or by email to: Dr. Perry Kelly

Excerpted from the booklet "VISUAL ARTS in Jackson County North Carolina.

"This survey of the visual arts in Jackson County was undertaken by Dr. Perry Kelly, professor emeritus in art at Western Carolina University, after he learned there were no data available on the artists, or their economic impact on the economy, of Jackson County to support the declaration of the "Year of Arts Education:. This survey does not attempt to make value judgements about the art. We thank those artists who cooperated with Dr. Kelly in gathering the information. If this information serves your purposes or if you have suggestions about it please contact Dr. Kelly. Your input will be appreciated.

"The term "Visual Arts" as used here is inclusive of the "Fine Arts" of painting, sculpture, etc. as well as the "Crafts" of pottery, woodworking, fiber arts, etc. Jackson County is fortunate to have a heritage in both and the information in this booklet may surprise many citizens of the county who may be unaware of the size of the currently active community of artists within the County. The information presented here should be of interest to our artists, local officials, county/city planners, chambers of commerce and the tourist industry.

"The survey indicates that there are more than 270 artists in Jackson County who earn their livelihood from the sale of their art and at least twenty-three percent of those artists depend on the sale of their art as a major source of income. Annual incomes reported were: less than $ 1,000 forty-eight percent; between $1-10,000 thirty-five percent; $ 10-20,000 eight percent; $ 20-40,000 two percent; and above $ 40,000 seven percent. For artists in Jackson County the average income from the production of art is about $ 9,245, in a total income of about $ 2,496,000.

"At least seventy-eight percent of these artists are native to North Carolina and about sixty-one percent of them are natives of Jackson County. Others come from at least eighteen other states and the District of Columbia, one from Kenya and one from the United Kingdom. Many of the artists work in their own studios or in their homes but belong to cooperatives for distribution. Others have production studios from which they distribute and/or sell their production through galleries, guilds, sales shops, and fairs. Sixty-nine percent of these artists are continuing a family tradition of art.

"To questions about education, fifty-three percent said their art had been influenced by art instruction in high school, ninety-eight percent have high school education, seventy-seven percent have college degrees, and forty-seven percent have advanced college degrees including at least eight with doctorate degrees.

"In Jackson County there are over eighty-five businesses in the production and/or sale of art. Three of the largest businesses report income in the range of $ 400,000 to $ 800,000. About fifty percent of the other businesses reported annual incomes over $ 70,000. Fourteen percent reported incomes of between $ 50-70,000. Seven percent between $20-50,000. Twenty percent less than $ 10,000. The average sales of these art related businesses is about $ 51,000, with total revenues of about $ 4,352,000. These businesses are public and private exhibition galleries, sales galleries, craft sales shops, production studios, art supply stores, and two large craft cooperatives: Dogwood Crafters in Dillsboro with forty-one members living in Jackson County and Qualla Art and Crafts Mutual Cooperative in Cherokee with eighty members living in Jackson County. Combining the income of the artists with that of businesses indicates that the visual arts in Jackson County amounts to about $ 6,848,000. However some of the income reported by artists is derived through these businesses.

"Western Carolina University maintains three exhibition galleries, a folk heritage museum, and a visual arts department of eleven faculty members with 120 art majors in undergraduate and 18 majors in graduate degree programs. The University also maintains an outdoor sculpture exhibit across the campus. The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching located in Cullowhee has extensive exhibition spaces, a large collection of North Carolina art and outdoor sculpture. Southwestern Community College sponsors exhibitions and has a visual arts department. The Museum of the Cherokee Indians at Cherokee offers permanent and temporary exhibitions of art by Native Americans. The Qualla Mutual Art & Craft Cooperative in Cherokee maintains a large sales shop alongside a large exhibits gallery. Whiteside Gallery in Cashiers offers changing exhibits of paintings primarily by William Whiteside. The Oaks Gallery in Dillsboro exhibits sophisticated contemporary crafts. Gallery One in Sylva, operated by the Jackson County Visual Arts Association, maintains a vigorous monthly schedule of exhibits with a wide range of content. City Lights Bookstore and Cafe has an exhibition gallery as well as revolving exhibits in the cafe. Emil Fray Studio and Gallery in Sylva exhibits photographic art as does Front Street Gallery in Dillsboro. Each of the public schools in Jackson County employs an art teacher and Western Carolina University offers a major in art education at undergraduate and graduate levels.

"From this study one can see that Jackson County has an extensive art industry, art facilities and art interests which contribute to the cultural and economic opportunities for its citizens."

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