“Great Places in North Carolina” is an awards program established by the state’s chapter of the American Planning Association in 2012 to honor the state’s remarkable places and the communities and citizens, planners, business leaders, and elected officials who create and sustain them.
The public is invited to vote each year – with a hundred words and a photo – for “Great Street”, “Great Street In The Making”, “Great Transformation”, “Great Historic Rehabilitation” and “Great Public Art”.
More and more, people have come to value communities that see the importance of highlighting their creative sides. And Downtown Lenoir, renowned for its displays of public art, was chosen the 2019 winner in that last category for international sculptor Thomas Sayre’s monumental work “Across The Grain”. Weighing 40,000 pounds and twenty-six feet in diameter, it’s an impressive centerpiece for Caldwell County’s Sculpture Art Trail.
The Sayre piece is sure to draw plenty of attention during the 34th annual Sculpture Celebration on September 7th in T. H. Broyhill Walking Park in Lenoir. Visitors can stroll and look at the entries, talk with the artists, and buy sculptures.
This popular event is one of the things to do in Lenoir NC that attracts enthusiasts from all over. They come to enjoy our wonderful early Fall weather and learn more about this very special part of the state. There’s a lot to explore, and September’s a great time to enjoy festivals and other outdoor fun.
Long-time residents may remember that the Sculpture Celebration began modestly with a single piece: the chicken weather vane that now adorns the roof of the Caldwell Arts Council building at the corner of College Avenue and Norwood Street. From there, the County developed what is now one of the largest collections of public sculpture in the United States. There are over 80 publicly-displayed works, most of which are outdoors.
The Caldwell Arts Council has a reputation for quality exhibits of art from all over the country. The galleries are housed in a historic home that’s over a hundred years old, and you’ll find everything from
contemporary to traditional, with both 2-D and 3-D works on display. New exhibits are featured each month, and one of the things to do in Lenoir NC that’s a must for art lovers is attending the opening receptions to meet the artist, typically held on the first Friday.
Sculptural artwork is offered for sale in Tucker’s Gallery. The name has historic significance. The Tucker family settled in what is now Lenoir around 1797, and their barn became a center of activity in the area. It served as a voting precinct, a militia muster ground, a store and a place for “frolics” and celebrations, at least one of which featured a drum corps, a march of Revolutionary War veterans and speeches by General William Lenoir.
Pieces remain on display in Tucker’s Gallery for one year or until they’re sold.
The Caldwell Arts Council’s programs are supported by a grassroots grant from the North Carolina Arts Council – a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources – and by individual and corporate donors.
When you visit for the Sculpture Celebration or to take advantage of the many other things to do in Lenoir NC, be sure to set aside some time to visit The Coves Mountain River Club, a community designed and built to represent the very best of what it means to live in the Blue Ridge foothills. We’re proud of what we have to offer, and we’d love to give you a tour.
Lenoir is just over 70 miles from both Asheville and Charlotte, southwest of the Brushy Mountains and next to the beautiful Pisgah National Forest.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.