Current Exhibitions

Afghan Girl ©Steve McCurry

Afghan Girl ©Steve McCurry



Through May 8, 2016
Coe Gallery

69 stunning images by the universally recognized photo-journalist Steve McCurry presented by Catawba Valley Camera Club and Hickory Museum of Art. Through the faces of people from around the world, McCurry’s photography illustrates the beauty and the tragedy of cultures and conflicts in their everyday life.   

Regarded as one of today’s finest image-makers, McCurry (born 1950) is best known for his evocative color photographs. One of his most famous photographs was taken in December 1984 in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan of a young refugee girl named Sharbat Gula. Featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine’s June 1985 issue, “Afghan Girl” is perhaps the most recognizable photograph in the world. It will be part of this HMA exhibit.

Exhibition Sponsors

Shurtape Technologies

Individuals from the Catawba Valley

This project was supported by the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

Opportunities are still available to sponsor individual photographs featured in the exhibition. To learn more, email Lisë C. Swensson Executive Director, or call (828) 327-8576, Ext. 202.

Catawba Valley Camera Club Photo Competition

Through July 17
Entrance Gallery


The winning submissions from a regional photography competition juried by the Catawba Valley Camera Club are featured in this exhibition. The entry divisions include amateur and youth. This is the ninth annual exhibition which will be held at the same time as Steve McCurry’s Unexpected Beauty (April 16 – May 8).


Photo by Tim Duffy.

Photo by Tim Duffy.

Arlee Mains, Old Water Mill and 50 Acres, acrylic on watercolor paper, image size 22x30", Collection of George and Linda Mahoney

Arlee Mains, Old Water Mill and 50 Acres, acrylic on watercolor paper, image size 22x30", Collection of George and Linda Mahoney


April 30, 2016 through July 24, 2016
Shuford Gallery

We Are the Music Makers: Preserving the Soul of America's Music is a multi-media exhibit of photographs, audio recordings and video from Tim Duffy, founder of Music Maker Relief Foundation. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Museum's third floor installation Discover Folk Art: Unique Visions by Southern Self-Taught Artists.

30 exhibition panels feature photographs and stories of little known Southern musicians and southern music culture, active over the past 20 years. Visitors are able to access audio and video recordings using their smart phones and kiosk in the exhibition. The multi-media materials highlight questions of how poverty, geography and age have limited the exposure of these artists, causing the widespread idea that the musical traditions they perform have “died out.” Southern contemporary folk art from the Museum’s collection as well as borrowed from the Music Maker Relief Foundation highlight the visual arts actively being created in our region, deeply rooted in Southern culture and tradition.

GRAMMY Award-winner Marty Stuart said, “Throughout We Are The Music Makers, the viewer is granted access to worlds that are beyond reach and off limits to most. There is less than a razor’s edge of difference in royalty and rogue at the bedrock of American roots music.”

Click here for audio/video recordings and interviews with the music artists featured in the exhibition.

Music Makers Blues Revue + BBQ/ May 14 Click Here for details


April 23, 2016 through July 24, 2016
Regal & Gifford Galleries

Opening Reception & Book Signing:
Thursday, June 23
6 PM

An exhibition of 73 memory paintings by Boone, NC folk artist Arlee Mains. The exhibit features works on loan from The Art Cellar Gallery and local collectors. Presented in conjunction with “We are the Music Makers!”

More about Arlee Mains here.

Sponsored by The Friends of Arlee Mains


William Edward Bloomfield Starkweather (1879-1969), Late Afternoon Light, 1915,  oil on canvas, Gift of the Artist, 1954.15.1

William Edward Bloomfield Starkweather (1879-1969), Late Afternoon Light, 1915,  oil on canvas, Gift of the Artist, 1954.15.1

Juie Rattley III, After the Demonstration, oil on panel, Museum purchase, 2014.7.2

Juie Rattley III, After the Demonstration, oil on panel, Museum purchase, 2014.7.2


October 31, 2015 through August 14, 2016
Whitener Gallery

Paul Whitener, the founder and first director of the Hickory Museum of Art, collected 9 William Edward Bloomfield Starkweather paintings during his tenure, most of them gifts from the artist. The Museum has recently collected 8 more, gifts from collector and Starkweather expert Peter Falotico. The exhibition features a selection of new and old acquisitions, as well as correspondence from Starkweather to Paul Whitener.

"William Starkweather was born in Belfast, Ireland as William Bloomfield. His father, Edward, passed away and William's mother brought him to America and settled into Connecticut. For many years William thought he was born in Scotland, but found paperwork in an old Bible which challenged his belief. Soon after arriving in America his mom passed away, and the young William was fortunate enough to be adopted by the Starkweather family of Winchester, Connecticut. After attending Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut, William moved to New York City to study painting at the Art Students League. It is unclear if Starkweather met his painting teacher John Henry Twactman in Connecticut before he started at the Art Students League or while at the league.

While he was learning to paint, Starkweather managed to save enough money to go to France to study at the Academie Colorassi. While studying at the academy he attended the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900 and was overwhelmed by the Best in Show painting by Joaquin Sorolla, The Sad Inheritance. Sorolla was Spain's most famous Impressionist. The viewing of this painting challenged Starkweather to go back to America and save money to attempt to study with Sorolla in Spain."

-- Excerpt from Hidden Treasures of William Starkweather by Peter Falotico



Through May 29
Windows Gallery

Between 1920 and 1930 an outburst of creativity among African Americans occurred in every aspect of art. The Harlem area in New York City attracted a prosperous and stylish middle class of African Americans who were encouraged to celebrate their heritage; and as a result, Harlem became an artistic center.

Works from the Museum's collection by artists who were influenced by this important movement will be on display in conjunction with the February 14 special tribute programming focused on the Harlem Renaissance. Artists featured will include Elizabeth CatlettRomare BeardenJacob LawrenceSharif BeyJuie Rattley III, Kara Walker and more. (Links connect to HMA blog posts about each artist.)


Photo by Sherrie Wells

Photo by Sherrie Wells

Discover FOlk Art:
Unique Visions by Southern Contemporary folk Artists

Entire Third Floor

The Hickory Museum of Art recently expanded their Southern Contemporary Folk Art Collection and Exhibition space. A new, hands-on exhibition was installed on the Museum's 3rd floor Mezzanine Gallery.

The Interactive Exhibition Features:

         • Re-creations of Artists’ Working Environments
         • Touch Screens
         • Over 200 Folk Art Objects
         • Sounds & Smells
         • Family Activity Stations
         • and More!                                

Free Family Guides for the exhibition are available at the Museum’s check-in desk in the first floor HMA Galleria. Copies of the children’s book, Discover Folk Art: An Adventure with Artie at the Hickory Museum of Art, are also available in the Galleria for $9.95. In the book, Artie (HMA’s art-loving mascot) takes a group of children on a tour of the galleries and introduces them to work by several folk artists including Sam “The Dot Man” McMillan and Q.J. Stephenson.

Robert Levin, Untitled, 1990, glass, Gift of Sonia & Isaac Luski, 2002.1.8

Robert Levin, Untitled, 1990, glass, Gift of Sonia & Isaac Luski, 2002.1.8

Art Glass & Pottery
From the Museum's Collection

Objects Gallery

This exhibition features glass works given to the Museum by Sonia and Isaac Luski, and Rose and Abraham Luski. Several styles of glass blowing are demonstrated, and the show features artists with connections to the prestigious Penland School of Crafts nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

This exhibition also includes American Art Pottery gifted to the Museum by the Frances Johnson Moody Estate. The collection was assembled by Leslie Moody and his wife Francis; both were from Ohio and Leslie grew up in Zanesville, the heart of art pottery country. Several studios are represented including Rookwood, Catalina, Van Briggle, Weller, Tiffany and Roseville.