To bring people together and inspire creativity through the power of art.


To become a catalyst for a future where creative exploration, inclusivity, and community create the foundation for a more perfect world.

Our Mantra


Core Beliefs

The Power of Art

  • We know that art has the power to engage, inspire and transform audiences of all backgrounds.
  • We unlock this power through purposeful programming, intentional design and diverse experiences.
  • We believe in upholding the highest standards in interpretation, collections management and conservation.

Complete Inclusivity

  • We believe in the need for no-strings-attached inclusivity.
  • We strive to foster a welcoming, nurturing, and empathetic environment.
  • We celebrate that everyone has creativity within them.
  • We pursue a world in which everyone can share their imagination.

The Creative Process

  • We believe in the process of creativity.
  • We know that innovation comes from boldly daring to take calculated risks and that there is always an opportunity for growth.
  • So, we believe in experimenting and in solving problems with a purpose.
  • We believe in lifelong learning and the potential of curiosity.
  • We are educators and optimists.
  • We aim to inspire everyone to make the world a better place.
  • We strive to lead by example, by perpetually asking questions and tracking/measuring impact to continuously better ourselves.

Lifelong Learning

Communicative Collaboration

  • We believe in the power of communicative collaboration.
  • No great work of art is created or enjoyed in solitude; likewise, no great team is led by only one hero.
  • We believe that transparency and effective communication fuel passion. And that passion fuels people.
  • We know that when people are passionate, they can create incredible things together.
  • We believe in creating a sustainable environment for our staff, our guests, and our future.
  • We deeply value our roots and our community.
  • We strive to make a long-term positive impact for all people.

Sustainable Growth


Hickory Museum of Art represents and promotes the Unifour region (Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, and Alexander Counties) as a
center of innovative creativity and inclusive community through its commitment to visual arts, education, and collaboration.

our Story

From the very beginning, the Unifour Region has been a community of creative minds: entrepreneurs, innovators, and risk-takers. Those creative minds built furniture better than the world had ever seen. They made wagons that were sent worldwide and protected our military. They took revolutionary approaches to fighting the polio epidemic. They formed a community of people willing to dig in their heels and fight for one another. Those minds knew that survival depended on a network and collaboration - more than one plumber, woodworker, and doctor, but also with more than one painter, photographer and writer. Simply put, the arts were viewed as essential to the strength of the community. Though its forms have varied drastically, art has helped the creative minds of the Unifour Region build a community that has risen to nearly every challenge it has faced.


Hickory Museum of Art’s visionary Founding Director, Paul Whitener was one of those creative minds. Faced with the challenge of bringing art to Hickory, Paul connected with artists in their various forms and started the museum we know today. This museum brings together people from all walks of life and inspires creativity in a way that launches this community forward as a leader in innovation and culture.

Just like in our region’s earlier days, we find ourselves surrounded by a community of creative minds. Creativity of any kind is what makes us human. It is what brings us together, it is what creates and drives change.  Hickory Museum of Art continues on the pursuit of inspiration, imagination, and creativity. We keep meeting challenges head-on: to continue fostering important conversations, to continue being a catalyst for positive change, and to keep shaping our future, today and every day.