Meet the HMA staff in headshots

Many of you already know us, but for those who don’t yet, here we all are. Come see us in person!

Top to bottom, left to right, row by row: Jon Carfagno Executive Director, Clarissa Starnes  Associate Director, Mary Johnson Business Manager, Ginny Zellmer Education Manager, Debbie Reed Communications & Design Manager, Kelly Smith Development Manager, Molly Blanchard Membership Coordinator, Kristina Anthony Exhibitions Manager, and Karin Borei Projects Coordinator.

Thank you photographer Paul van Breemen for those lovely photos!

taking staff pics.jpg

Two new exhibits are now up for your viewing pleasure


POP: Everyday Imagery as Art
July 7, 2018 - January 6, 2019

Selections of Pop Art and works inspired by that movement from the Museum’s collection and on loan from private collectors are presented in the Windows Gallery in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Art.

Artists include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and more. This etching of a Pizza is by Claes Oldenburg (b.1929). It is dated 1964, and was a gift of John Van Kirk in memory of Ruth H. Van Kirk.

Dear Paul Letters: The Correspondence that built HMA's Collection
June 30, 2018 - January 6, 2019


The Museum is fortunate to have letters written to Paul Whitener, HMA’s founder and first director, from artists and donors regarding early acquisitions to the Collection.

Works of art by Wilford Seymour Conrow, Ella Richards (the first work by a woman artist acquired by HMA), Guy Carlton Wiggins and others are on display in the Whitener Gallery alongside the letters, offering an “insider” perspective to HMA’s early days of collecting.

This exhibition paves the way into HMA’s 75th Anniversary celebration.  Support provided by the Kenneth K. Millholland & Suzanne G. Millholland Endowment Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation.


Foothills Folk Art Festival wins statewide award and gears up for the next festival.

On March 14, 2018 at an awards ceremony in Clayton, NC,  the Foothills Folk Art Festival won a statewide award from the N.C. Department of Commerce, for Best Downtown Special Event. A panel of judges chose the award winners from dozens of applications submitted from throughout the state; and NC government officials presented the award to Newton Mayor Anne Stedman and Hickory Museum of Art Executive Director Jon Carfagno. The festival's principal organizers, Shannon Johnson, Newton’s Main Street Program coordinator, and Clarissa Starnes, Associate Director of Hickory Museum of Art and the Foothills Folk Art Festival artist contact, were also at the awards ceremony.

The result of a partnership between Hickory Museum of Art and Downtown Newton Development Association, the mission of the Foothills Folk Art Festival is to celebrate and support contemporary folk art locally and regionally, while maximizing the benefits for the artists and to Downtown Newton both economically and culturally. Shannon Johnson says, “Thanks to the the efforts of hundreds of volunteers throughout the year, we [together] are able to bring close to 100 amazing artists to the festival for a day that celebrates folk art. This award from the N.C. Department of Commerce speaks to the quality of the festival, and we are dedicated to to making the festival even better each year.”

The Third Annual Foothills Folk Art Festival will take place on Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 10 AM to 4 PM in Downtown Newton. This family friendly festival, expected to once more draw thousands of visitors from throughout the region, will again showcase a variety of local and regional contemporary folk artists whose work will be for sale, as well as artist demos, hands-on art activities for kids, two locations with free live music, food from area restaurants and food truck vendors, beer gardens, and more.

The Foothills Folk Art Festival is a juried event dedicated to folk art. The festival's artist committee is looking for themed artwork intensely influenced by and displaying the spirit of folk, visionary, and outsider art.  Information for artists wishing to be considered for participation in the 2018 festival is here


Says Clarissa Starnes about the festival award, "We would like to thank the many hands that went into making last year's event a success, including the artists, participants, sponsors, local businesses, volunteers, staff members, and visitors to the Festival! We look forward to an even bigger, better Festival this October!"

More information about the Foothills Folk Art Festival itself, including signing up to volunteer, here

Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since March 2015.