Current Exhibitions

Afghan Girl ©Steve McCurry

Afghan Girl ©Steve McCurry



September 12, 2015 through May 8, 2016
Coe & Entrance Galleries

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.

Joël Urruty, Tête, wood and 23 carat gold leaf

Joël Urruty, Tête, wood and 23 carat gold leaf

James Biggers, Untitled

James Biggers, Untitled



September 19, 2015 through February 28, 2016
Shuford Gallery

Closing Reception:
Friday, February 26, 6 - 8 PM

The Hickory Museum of Art welcomes back artist Joël Urruty in an exhibition that combines two very different bodies of work that pair together harmoniously.

In the Gold series the primary material, wood, is gilded in 23K gold leaf. The luminescent quality of the gold allows light and shadow to play off the subtle shifting facets of these carved sculptures.  

The Wall Hangings are wood assemblages, designed and constructed from salvaged pallets discarded from nearby factories. The wood is cut and burned, then composed in unique ways to create minimalist, one-of-a-kind pieces rich in texture and character.

Joël Urruty was born in San Francisco, CA in 1968, the son of Basque immigrants. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology at San Francisco State University. He apprenticed as a furniture maker under David J. Marks, Master Craftsman, and later went on to earn a Masters of Fine Art in Woodworking and Furniture Design from the School of American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology. His work has been shown in Japan as well as galleries and museums throughout the United States. His work has also been widely published in magazines and books.

Sponsored by Charlotte Paint Company, Inc.

Visual Jazz: Digital imagery by james biggers 

January 16 through April 17, 2016
Regal & Gifford Galleries

Inspired by the music of jazz giants Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, North Carolina artist James Biggers depicts visual rhythm through colors, shapes and forms in his new collection of work, Visual Jazz: Digital Imagery by James Biggers.

Biggers, a native of Gastonia, N.C., describes his most recent body of work --which includes digitally manipulated photographs -- as an extension of the Harlem Renaissance Era. He is the nephew of artist John Biggers, an African-American muralist who came to prominence after the Harlem Renaissance and toward the end of World War II.

Visual Jazz is part of the Museum’s tribute to the 1920s Harlem Renaissance -- a time of racial pride in music, literature and the visual arts. This exhibition is presented in conjunction with another new exhibition at Hickory Museum of Art – Tribute to the Harlem Renaissance: Works from the Permanent Collection, which opens in the Windows Gallery on February 6.

James Biggers was born in Gastonia, N.C., in 1948. He graduated from Highland High School in Gastonia, before going on to earn a B.A. in Art Education from North Carolina Central University, and a M.A. in Art Education from Appalachian State University.

Biggers taught art in the Gaston County School System for 30 years before retiring in 2000. He has also served an adjunct professor at a number of universities and community colleges in the region, and led numerous workshops.

Biggers has been exhibiting his art work at museums, galleries and cultural centers since 1968. He has been commissioned to create numerous murals, including his work “North Carolina Belongs to Children” at the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh. Biggers has earned arts and education awards through his career, and was honored with the Gaston County MLK Unity Award on January 19, 2015.

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.