Rapid River

By Dennis Ray

November 8, 2021

The Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) and the Reece Family, in honor of Jeff Reece, presents the Small Works Exhibit, which opens with a reception on November 12 from 5 pm – 7 pm. “Small works are an opportunity to give the gift of the creative spirit,” says Morgan Beryl, HCAC Executive Director. HCAC is grateful that the giving spirit is already catching on. “A group of artist member families came together to sponsor our opening reception, which really warms our heart and helps make the reception possible.” Sponsored by Linda & Allen Blount, Janet & Darrell Steinke, and Alison & John Parks, the reception will include libations, snacks, and jazzy holiday music from Clyde’s own Jaime Gardner.

This year, the exhibit is sponsored at the producer level by the Reece Family in honor of their father Jeff Reece, who owned the 86 N. Main Street building for many years and is in the process of selling it. “Jeff loved Main Street and spent a significant portion of his formative years in the family business, Massie’s Department Store. He talked longingly about his days as the projectionist at the Strand Theater as a teenager and eating hot dogs at Felix Stovall’s American Fruit Stand. As an adult, Jeff was one of the founders of the Downtown Waynesville Association and a Main Street Champion. As we approach the anniversary of his passing, his family wishes to honor his legacy,” explains Judy Reece.

The Small Works Exhibit is an annual exhibit that expands the types of work for sale in the downtown Waynesville gallery, as well as who can display their work. Other than specially curated exhibits, which occur a couple of times annually, this exhibit is the only one that allows any artist within the western mountain region to participate for a small fee. “Usually, HCAC exhibit participation requires that you are a member” explains Pamela Tiffany, HCAC Gallery Coordinator. “We open up our eligibility for this exhibit for those who specialize in making holidays gifts and would not benefit from year-round participation, or for folks who want to see what it feels like to sell in a gallery before committing to becoming a member.”

With 48 artists participating, the exhibit promises to be eclectic. Although the only requirement is that the pieces be 12 inches in any dimension or smaller, HCAC challenged participants who are making holiday-themed works to consider artistic expressions that are multi-cultural in nature and celebrate the many different holidays, ways of celebrating, and ways of experiencing holidays in the November and December season. HCAC also encouraged participants to create works that celebrate Appalachian heritage and craft. “Our vision is that this exhibit embodies not only the giving spirit, but also a multi-cultural spirit that speaks to the diversity of people, cultures, and religions that make up western Appalachia,” says Beryl.

The exhibit is open from November 10 through December 30, 2021, when the gallery will close for the holidays. More information can be found at www.haywoodarts.org.