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WNC Student Artist Exhibit


The WNC Student Artist Exhibit will run through July 31 at the Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC). HCAC is focused on building a strong relationship with students to get them involved in the arts and give young people an opportunity to experience what it feels like to be a working artist. 

“Involving youth in art and encouraging art education is a main component of our mission,” says Morgan Beryl, HCAC Executive Director.

Collegiate students from all over western North Carolina were invited to apply to enter the exhibit free of charge. Students applied from many different schools and showcases student work from Appalachian State University, Western Piedmont Community College, Warren Wilson, Western Carolina University, University of North Carolina Asheville, and Asheville – Buncombe Technical Community College. 

The exhibit’s curator, Emily Reason, says, “We have several strong academic art programs in Western North Carolina. These artists’ work deal with a range of topics - social justice, identity, utility and beauty. I am excited to highlight this work in Haywood County.” 

Reason, an HCAC Board Director, chairs the HCAC Gallery Committee and runs the Professional Crafts Clay Program at Haywood Community College. “My hope is that an exhibition of student work at HCAC will be recurring so that we may form a bridge between our arts councils and the young generation of artists receiving their education here in Western North Carolina. It is essential for emerging artists to connect with their community, and a local arts council offers great opportunities.” 

The exhibit is just one-way HCAC is making connections with students. Beryl notes that she is reaching out to regional colleges and universities to explore building educational partnerships such as master classes, traveling exhibits, and internships. 

HCAC is also connected with local Haywood County high school art programs and is developing volunteer opportunities and mural design and painting projects for students. Hailee Locklair, an incoming Western North Carolina University senior, joined HCAC as an intern in May 2022. “My recent study in a Philosophy of Art class fostered my love for art, and I’m exploring what art means to people and how impactful art can be,” Locklair says. “I am learning about nonprofit administration, what it means to be an artist as a full-time job, and how it really takes a community of all different types of people to run a successful nonprofit arts organization.” 

The Haywood Handmade Gallery is open seven days a week from 10 am – 5 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am – 4 pm on Sundays. More information: