Artist Tom Vogler shows Rebekah Simonds one of his pieces during the art show portion of the event. Photo by KEVIN HENSLEY

SCOUTING AROUND: Dinner celebrates area's harvest, arts

   The seventh annual Harvest to Table Dinner featured the area’s finest in art, music and food all in support of the Valleytown Cultural Arts & Historical Society and the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center in downtown Andrews.
   “We love what they are doing, and they need all the support they can get,” said Linda Pullium, who with her husband has been supporting the society for 17 years. “This building is one in a million. We’ve got to preserve it.”
   Board member Erla Jones said funds raised from the dinner support the society’s budget for the full year, which includes maintenance of the center – a historical building that was once First Baptist Church of Andrews. The society gets no funding from other sources, including government bodies.
   Jones said the goal for the night was to raise $5,000. Besides the tickets sold, funds were also raised throughout the evening with a silent auction and wine pull.
  To help keep costs low for the fundraiser, most of the food was donated or provided at a discount. The meal began with a festive corn chowder featuring crops from Wood Farm.
   The main course included fish from Carolina Mountain Trout, feta cheese from High Mountain Meadows Farm & Creamery, vegetables from Murphy Farmers Market, candy roaster from Maynard Brown, cabbage from J.D. Owenby and rolls from Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel.
   Andy and Kelly Pyle provided apples for the cake dessert. Beverages for the evening were from Granieri’s Italian Restaurant, Monte Alban Mexican Restaurant, Calaboose Cellars and Ferncrest Winery.
   “The dinner was fantastic,” said Roslyn Heaton, who walked away with two silent auction items and a bottle of wine. “I really enjoyed the chowder and the cake.”
   The evening began with an art show featuring oil paintings, mixed media, ink drawings and pyrography by Tom Vogler, director of the Andrews Art Museum on the second floor of the center. It was a different experience for him.
   “I’m usually curating other people’s art,” he said. “My goal has always been to share other people’s art. I usually don’t like being the center of attention.”
   Throughout the evening, Dana Rogers, a singer/songwriter from Chattanooga, Tenn., sang classics while playing guitar. She is frequent performer in Cherokee County.
   “We love her mellow kind of music,” Jones said.
   At the beginning of the dinner portion, master of ceremonies Travis Salinas recognized two supporters of the arts who passed away.
   Eva Wood and Geneva Zaranagra were two women who “never failed to be here,” said Rebecca Hoilman, one of the society’s board members. And Wood’s family donates something from the family farm for the meal every year.

Artists wanted to exhibit
   Once the traveling exhibit “All God’s Children” leaves the Murphy Art Center at the conclusion of the month, two exhibits plan to take its place in the MAC’s Cultural Calendar Room.
   For one of those exhibits – the “Smoky Mountain Autumn” art show – the Cherokee County Arts Council and Valley River Arts Guild are looking for local artists to submit their work.
   Pieces may be two- or three-dimensional, and artists may submit up to three pieces that fit the theme. The entry fee is $10 per piece for non-members, or $10 total for members of the council or guild.
   The deadline for submissions is Saturday, Sept. 30, and applications may be picked up at the MAC. The opening of the show will be held from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, the evening of the October Art Walk.
   The “Smoky Mountain Autumn” art show will share the space with works by the Cherokee Trails Decorative Painters.

Affordable wellness program on Thursdays
   Faithful Families, a health and wellness program for families, is offered from 6-8 p.m. Thursdays at Andrews United Methodist Church. The first hour program is a free nutrition class, while the second hour is an exercise class that costs $10 per session. Child care is provided.
   The nutrition session is taught by Renay Knapp from the Cherokee County Extension Office in downtown Murphy, while the exercise classes are taught by Rose James.
   “Faithful Families is a nutrition and wellness program geared toward families to teach affordable ways of incorporating healthy food and daily exercise into their lives,” said Rebecca Guzman, the church’s director of children, youth and outreach.
   “We recognize that with food costs going up, it is difficult for families to afford healthy food.”
   The program is a collaboration between the church, MountainWise and N.C. Cooperative Extension. The church also received a grant from the N.C. Council of Churches Healthy Congregation Initiative to help with the costs of the program and babysitting.
   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.