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Moss Arts Center’s summer exhibition focuses on local and regional artists

May 18, 2017

Greg Galbreath banjo
A detailed view of a handmade banjo created by Giles County banjo maker Greg Galbreath. The instrument will be included in the Moss Arts Center exhibition “From These Woods.”

The Moss Arts Center’s newest exhibition highlights the outstanding artistry and skill of artists in Appalachia. Featuring the work of 17 regional artists using a variety of techniques, “From These Woods” draws attention to the potential of the arts for creating an ecologically and economically sustainable future in the region.

From These Woods” opens with a special reception and performance by the local group Happy Hollow Stringband on June 8 from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Lobby of the Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall.

As part of this dual event celebrating regional artists, Galax-based singer-songwriter Dori Freeman will perform in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre following the reception. Tickets to Freeman’s performance are currently available.

“From These Woods” is free and open to the public and will be on view throughout the summer, closing on Sept. 1.

The exhibition showcases a variety of different art forms and provides an introduction to the diversity of artistic techniques used in woodworking. Vessels made by woodturning and carving, as well as woven baskets, sculpture, and furniture, are all included in the exhibition.

“From These Woods” also highlights woodworking practice based in principles of ecological sustainability and forest management. Works by Asheville, North Carolina-based photographer Steven McBride document the Pisgah National Forest, exploring relationships with Appalachian ecosystems, while work from Center for Design Research in Virginia Tech's School of Architecture + Design  shows the global reach of local innovation.

The exhibition also explores themes of economic sustainability, showcasing the work of artists who make a living and create area jobs through woodworking. Artists, as well as foresters, woodworking teachers, and forest product experts, will take part in a related series of gallery talks further exploring the place of wood in a sustainable economy.

A variety of local artists are featured in the exhibition, including Bill and Corinne Graefe from Phoenix Hardwoods in Floyd, Virginia, and Mac Traynham, a banjo maker and master craftsman in Willis, Virginia. Artists from surrounding parts of North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia are also represented in the exhibition, drawing attention to a significant regionwide diversity and abundance of art forms in wood.

Other artists featured include John Albright, Alex Bannan, Charlie Brouwer, Melissa Engler, Greg Galbreath, Travis Graves, Andrew Hayes, Michael Kovick, Jonathan Rugh, Daniel Sanchez, Norm Sartorius, Shanti Yard, and Jennifer Zurick.

The exhibition was curated by Devon Johnson and Jeff Attridge, Moss Arts Center curatorial graduate assistants.

The center offers many opportunities for students, faculty, and community members to engage with artists and their work. To arrange a group tour of the galleries, contact Meggin Hicklin, exhibitions program manager for the Moss Arts Center.

The Moss Arts Center’s galleries are regularly open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kmcallis@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to an event.

Written by Devon Johnson of Blacksburg, Virginia, a graduate student studying material culture and public humanities, a cross-disciplinary program in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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