Spring at the Turchin Center brings hemlocks, sculpture, photography and alumni

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts stands as a pivotal cultural connection between Appalachian and the High Country community. With 25 exhibits, numerous lectures and seemingly countless workshops presented each year, Brook Bower, the museum's assistant curator, proclaims: "The Turchin Center's program offerings are the most diverse of any you will find in the High Country."

The museum offers auxiliary classrooms and discussion topics that, given its current exhibitions, range from the environmental impact of invasive species, to what it means to construct complex stories out of simple commodities, to what Appalachia is to its visitors and citizens, to how Appalachian graduates are using their art degrees. On any given day, these, and many more conversations take place among the works at the Turchin Center.


Neil Coleman, Exhibition Coordinator, Turchin Center for the Visual Arts: The Turchin Center is a fine arts cultural facility here in Boone. We bring in about 25 exhibitions a year that focus on both things going on on the campus through our international programs and also artists from the local community.

NC: We try to interact as much as we can with the community and with the students through our programming, relating to courses that are taking place on campus, courses that take place within the facility, our own special events within the community, outreach into the schools and other organizations.

NC: When visitors come in to the Turchin Center, if you start here in the Mayer Gallery, what you see is the Lowell Hayes exhibition. It's dealing with the plight of the hemlocks, with the woolly adelgid. They can find this exhibition in both the Mayer Gallery and Gallery B upstairs as well as B overflow. When you come in to the Hemlock exhibition, it's a fairly entertaining process for me. A lot of planning went into this particular show. The artist, Lowell, incorporated a lot of the natural materials that he's speaking about within the pieces. It's a very interesting way of communicating his point.

NC: This particular show was a hybrid of a traditional show, where the artist hands the work over to us, and also there is an installation portion to this that the artist himself did while we were installing the rest of the exhibition. Part of the fun in doing that, is that you really get to experience the passion that this particular artist had for his subject matter, how important the hemlocks are to him and how important it is for him to preserve this particular portion of his region and his environment.

NC: David Meyer's show, In the Void, is another very interesting piece because it's not necessarily a really traditional medium. David works with the spaces and installation artist and this particular exhibition, he's using flour, the same that you would bake with, and type x filters to get the particular patterns and textures that he wants into the flour that's throughout the room. It's one that you can interact with. It's a good example of using non-traditional media and expanding the definition of what we show here.

NC: Now, once you've seen the exhibitions on this particular side and you cross the bridge into the Main Gallery, you're going to be into the Alumni exhibition. You have a combination of textiles to one side, installations to the other, graphic design, video art, streaming internet and also some fairly traditional forms of art. It's a good way to see what alumni are bringing to their communities after they leave Appalachian.

NC: Also in the Main Gallery right now, is the AMPC show, Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition. This is a juried exhibition. It's a partnership with Outdoor Programs. It raises money for SOLE, Student Outdoor Learning Expeditions. This is an entertaining show, it's an interesting show. It doesn't just focus itself on this particular portion of Appalachia. The artists can be from any portion along the trail. The photographs can be from any portion of the trail from top to bottom. It really does encompass all parts of Appalachia.

For more information about the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and its exhibitions, visit http://tcva.org.