• Kelly Kennon (left) explains to Sherry Barnes at Friday’s Art Walk how she came upon a grouping of stacked water cairns on Fires Creek. A week after her visit, the cairns had been washed over. Photo by Ben Katz
    Kelly Kennon (left) explains to Sherry Barnes at Friday’s Art Walk how she came upon a grouping of stacked water cairns on Fires Creek. A week after her visit, the cairns had been washed over. Photo by Ben Katz
  • Erin Manuel (center) receives a bouquet of flowers from Cherokee County Arts Council representatives Elo-Ly Bailey (right) and David Vowell after winning Best in Show on Friday night. Photo by Samantha Sinclair
    Erin Manuel (center) receives a bouquet of flowers from Cherokee County Arts Council representatives Elo-Ly Bailey (right) and David Vowell after winning Best in Show on Friday night. Photo by Samantha Sinclair

SCOUTING AROUND: Art Walk returns with new and familiar faces

    Murphy – The rain stayed away for the first Art Walk of the year Friday night. About 30 artists, each hosted by a downtown business, filled the sidewalks downtown as families browsed and enjoyed music by local singer/songwriter Heidi Holton.
    This is the eighth year the Valley River Arts Guild has organized the event, which is held on the first Friday of each month from May through December. Jim Allsopp, president of the guild, was pleased the evening was sunny, even though there was a threat of rain all day.
    “It turned out really well,” Allsopp said. “We had quite a few people out there.”
    He noticed several new faces during the night. In fact, almost half of the artists were new to the Art Walk.
    As a member of the Valley River Arts Guild, Kelly Kennon usually volunteers at the event, but Friday night was her first time presenting her art. Kennon, an award-winning nature photographer, is the guild’s artist of the month. She was positioned outside the Murphy Art Center with her matted and framed prints.
    “It’s nice to have people look at your work and enjoy it,” she said.
    Kennon is a mainly self-taught photographer, who started taking the art seriously about four years ago. Her passion grew out of a trip to Yellowstone National Park, where she fell in love with the wildlife there.
    Now that she has tried it, she recommends that other artists participate in the next Art Walk, too.
    “It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase your talent, a great way to meet people in the community and a great way to support our little town,” Kennon said.
    Richard Perry of Murphy said he enjoys visiting the Art Walk each month.
    “It seemed to me there were a lot more artists,” he said. “It looked good.”
    Allsopp said the event is growing because they’ve reached out to more artists in the region and the longevity of the event. For visitors, he added that the MAC always has a new exhibit each month in the Cultural Calendar Room, as well as activities for children.
    “Every month there’s something different,” he said.
    For details on participating as an artist or a host business, email Art Walk coordinator Tim Ford at tlford2035@gmail.com.

Manuel wins best in show
    The Cherokee County Arts Council’s Spring Student Art Show ended Friday with the awarding of prizes and scholarships. Erin Manuel, a junior at Tri-County Early College High School, was named as best in show for her pencil drawing titled “Measure of Love.” It was the second year in a row for Manuel to receive the honor.
    “I’m really glad that the arts council does this and shows our art,” Manuel said.
    The drawing was part of her “Children of the World” portfolio that shows how similar children all over the world are. It features a boy she met in Guatemala in July. He was sitting in a laundry basket in a sewing room, playing with a measuring tape. She was drawn to the child’s eyes, taking a photo that she later used to make the drawing.
    “He’s just so adorable,” Manuel said. “He was so fun to draw.”
    Manuel and Cade Ward, a sophomore at Andrews High School, were the only two artists to receive a ribbon for all three of their pieces in the show. Manuel also won first place for “Jaguar Bookshelf,” a three-dimensional piece she made with Kiera Lewis, and second place for a photo titled “La Granduer.” Ward won both first and second place in drawing for his pieces “Pisgah Fauna” and “Waiting,” as well as first place in pottery for his sculpture “Unseen Scars.”
    Judges for the show were fine art photographer Ruth Harris, fine art painter Tim Ford and Jerry Jackson, executive director of John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown.
    Both Manuel and Ward said while they were thankful for the recognition, their most-praised art was a way they raise awareness for issues.
    “I’m glad I could raise awareness about veteran suicide,” Ward said.
    Ward was also thankful for his art teacher, Dedra Davis.
    “She helped me with all of these,” he said.
    Ward is considering joining the Navy and continuing art as a hobby, while Manuel plans to major in international studies or anthropology.
    For her best in show work, Manuel was presented a $500 prize, provided by the Valley River Arts Guild, which organized the student art show before giving it to the arts council this year.    Manuel was also one of the first recipients of a new scholarship administered by the arts council.
    The David Maxwell Memorial Scholarship was given to Manuel and Amber Harding of Andrews High, who also won second place in pottery for her sculpture “Elephant Calf.” The scholarship was provided anonymously by a family inspired by the work they saw in the student art show, said David Vowell, director of the arts council. The scholarship will be an annual one, and the recipient will be chosen based on their work in the show.
    Local potter and substitute art teacher Mike Lalone presented another new scholarship, the Marcel and Ellie Lalone Art Scholarship, to Emma Bryson of Hiwassee Dam High School. The scholarship was given in honor of Lalone’s parents, who were supportive of both his artistic and athletic pursuits.
    “I feel it is our responsibility to help where we can since I was given the opportunity to further my artistic career through others who helped me,” Lalone said during the presentation.
    Bryson was personally selected by Lalone to receive the scholarship. She said it means “everything” to her.
    “He’s one of the three people in my life who have inspired me to do art,” Bryson said, adding that her art teacher, Cristen Clonts, and her mother, Jessica Bryson, were the other two.
    Bryson plans to major in fine art and become a tattoo artist. Before she does that, she will be the first student to curate an art show for the arts council. The exhibit, which will demonstrate tattoo art, will be presented in the Cultural Calendar Room in August.
    Other students whose art received first- or second-place ribbons were Trevor Shaw of Murphy High School, Meraiah Hunsucker of Andrews High, Arabelle Schultze of Murphy High, D.J. Wytovak of Andrews High, Dakota Gatti of Murphy High and Gracie Prohl of Murphy High.   

    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.

The Cherokee Scout

Mailing Address:
89 Sycamore St. 

Murphy, NC 28906
Phone: 828-837-5122
Fax: 828-837-5832