Current Exhibitions

Images © Matthew Diffee

 Hootie Bowman

Hootie Bowman

 Margaret H. Berry,  J. Summie Propst House , 1978, Collection of Hickory Landmarks Society

Margaret H. Berry, J. Summie Propst House, 1978, Collection of Hickory Landmarks Society


The Cartoons and other Art of Matthew Diffee

March 3 through July 8, 2018
Coe Gallery

Matthew Diffee was a painter first, of landscapes and abstractions, but then he became a cartoonist for The New Yorker Magazine. He kept painting but no one ever saw that work until now (unless you came to his house for some reason and looked under the bed). In ONE MAN GROUP SHOW, Diffee shares his best cartoon art and the other art he’s been doing for the past twenty years.

Far from cartoony, Diffee’s cartoons stand out for their draftsmanship and aesthetic design. His single panel black and white cartoons appear in The New Yorker magazine. He also does long-form cartooning for Texas Monthly and Esquire, as well as illustrations for bluegrass bands like Punch Brothers and books by Stephen King.

ONE MAN GROUP SHOW includes the original drawings for the cartoons and illustrations that have graced your coffee table and night stand. And for the first time, Diffee will exhibit his more traditional artistic endeavors: realist landscapes, abstract paintings, and collages.

Sponsored by:
George Clay III, DDS -- Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

United Arts Council of Catawba County

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 of the Arts.

71st Annual Paul Whitener
Student Art Show

Elementary School Division:
March 17 - April 3, 2018
Awards Reception: Thursday, March 22, 5:30 - 7 PM

Middle School & High School Division:
April 7 - April 29, 2018
Awards Reception: Tuesday, April 17, 5:30 - 7 PM
Shuford Gallery

This annual event, started by the Museum’s founder and first director Paul Whitener, provides an opportunity for local students from Hickory and Catawba County schools to exhibit in the Museum and for family members and school representatives to demonstrate their support.

Sponsored by:
Hickory Rotary Club


GO… TEAM… GO! Inside the Making of a Mascot Book with Illustrator Hootie Bowman

January 13 – April 29, 2018
Entrance Gallery

Local illustrator Hootie Bowman shows visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the making of his interactive university team mascot books. The exhibition includes original drawings from the books, early versions of mascots, proof pages and final books. Hootie’s humorous narration offers insights into the book process, from licensing procurement to reasons why some teams did not make it to final print. Many of your favorite North Carolina teams are represented. Mascot books will be available for purchase in shopHMA.

ACC Tournament Championship Pre-Game
Saturday, March 10, 6:30 – 8 PM

Stop by the Museum for pre-game snacks and drinks with collegiate mascot book illustrator Hootie Bowman. See his exhibition and make your prediction on who will take-home the ACC Basketball Championship. Then proceed to your favorite place to watch the game which tips off at 8:30 PM.


CELEBRATING HICKORY LANDMARKS: The Art of Historic Preservation

January 13 – April 8, 2018

In honor of their 50th Anniversary, the Hickory Landmarks Society curated a traveling exhibition of photographs and artifacts documenting their history. The exhibit makes a stop at Hickory Museum of Art, which is the only venue that will also include original art from the HLS Collection.

A revised and updated edition of From Tavern to Town: An Architectural History of Hickory, North Carolina accompanies the exhibition and is available for purchase in shopHMA. HLS is a non-profit organization committed to serving the region by leading in the protection of historically or architecturally significant neighborhoods, individual landmarks and traditions.

Gallery Talk: Thursday, February 8, 6 PM
Please join Hickory Museum of Art in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hickory Landmarks Society. HLS Executive Director Patrick Daily and HLS Curator of Collections and Education Coordinator Leslie Keller will share a slide presentation highlighting their organization’s rich history. Come early (5:30 PM) for light refreshments and an opportunity to see the exhibition.


 Paul Whitener (1911-1959),  Big Lynn , casein on board, Bequest of Mildred Whitener Coe, 2008.15.5

Paul Whitener (1911-1959), Big Lynn, casein on board, Bequest of Mildred Whitener Coe, 2008.15.5

 Donna Phipps Stout,  Foiled Melon , 2000/2005, oil on board, Gift of Sandra & Henry Loehr, 2016.34

Donna Phipps Stout, Foiled Melon, 2000/2005, oil on board, Gift of Sandra & Henry Loehr, 2016.34


Embracing a New Form:
Paul Whitener's Later Works 

January 27 - June 24, 2018
Whitener Gallery

Hickory Museum of Art founder and first director Paul Whitener was an accomplished portrait artist and landscape painter. A surgery to partially remove a brain tumor left his right side paralyzed. In order to continue painting, Paul had to train himself to use his left hand. In these later works, Whitener developed a looser, more abstract style. He transitioned into his new style with the use of cato ink and casein paint. This exhibition includes these mediums as well as some finished and unfinished oil paintings.

Paul Whitener’s niece Julie Cline observes, “In these more abstract paintings, there are sometimes hints of inclinations that were shown in previous sketches or underpaintings. As his imagination changed his perception, he began to embrace his new form. He told my mother, Frances Whitener Cline (later Dunham), during this period near the end of his life, ‘I believe that I am just now learning how to paint.’”

Support provided by the Kenneth K. Millholland & Suzanne G. Millholland Endowment Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation

Hickory Museum of Art Collection

Through July 15, 2018
Windows Gallery

Hickory Museum of Art actively collects new works through gifts and purchases. This exhibition will change regularly to showcase paintings, prints and sculpture acquired over the last three years. Artists will include George Pearse Ennis, Donna Phipps Stout, Hobson Pittman, Wolf Kahn, Leo Twiggs, Sterling Strauser, Paul Lancaster, Lee Hall, John Brady, Hattie Mae Leonard, Dan Smith, Pat Viles and many more.


 Photo by Sherrie Wells

Photo by Sherrie Wells

Discover FOlk Art:
Unique Visions by Southern Contemporary folk Artists

Entire Third Floor

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

 Sam Passantino,  Lion , wood and paint, Gift of the Children of Sam Passantino, 2016.22.a

Sam Passantino, Lion, wood and paint, Gift of the Children of Sam Passantino, 2016.22.a

Glass 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.


from the Sam Passantino Collection

Through June 24, 2018
Objects Gallery

This exhibition features 30 animal sculptures by folk artist Sam Passantino. Young visitors will delight in seeing the artist's frogs, birds, turtle, lion, fish, giraffes and more.