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A Very Jones House Christmas

Article Published: Dec. 1, 2011 | Modified: Dec. 1, 2011
A Very Jones House Christmas

Currently the house is open to the public from noon until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Photo by Jeff Eason

When Mazie Jones was a little girl and celebrated Christmas with her family in Boone, she probably had no idea that her little cozy home on the hill would one day be a yuletide focal point for hundreds of High Country residents.

The Watauga Arts Council annually decks out the Jones House Community Center, as it is now known, with hundreds of white lights and lots of traditional Christmas decorations. Its seasonal decorations make it a “must-see” destination during the holidays.

Currently the house is open to the public from noon until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The public is invited to stop by the Jones House for free holiday cookies and hot apple cider.

The Jones House Community Center will also present an open house reception on Friday, Dec. 2 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. It will give the public a chance to tour the historic home and also view three new art exhibitions.

New art exhibitions

The December exhibit in the Mazie Jones Gallery features the latest creations of western North Carolina artist Janet Montgomery. It includes paintings, photographs and works in other mediums.

“I’ve been drawing since I was a child growing up in eastern North Carolina,” said Montgomery. “My drawing won approval, so I continued to draw. I didn’t learn anything about painting until I was in college majoring in what would now be called graphic design.

“The paint of choice was acrylic, which I didn’t like. It was only in my middle years after I discovered the sensuous properties of oil paint that I began to love painting. Since then I have expanded into other mediums, such as encaustic (painting with wax), assemblage and digital art forms.”

Montgomery’s new exhibit in the Mazie Jones Gallery features a little bit of everything when it comes to displaying her fondness for different mediums.

“In the last few years I have become interested in digital media, including photography and digital image-making using cloud computing,” said Montgomery. “I have also become very interested in how mixed media allows me to explore art-making in ways that one medium alone does not.”

Through a Regional Artist Project Grant in 2009, Montgomery studied encaustic at Penland School of Crafts.

“That experience led to my latest work that includes a first step toward three dimensions,” said Montgomery. “Art is research to me. It’s a process of exploring what a medium will allow and and what color will do.”

Artist JoAnn Pippin explores the great outdoors with her latest exhibition, “Just Being There: National Parks Up Close and Personal,” now on display at the Open Door Gallery, upstairs at the Jones House.

A longtime nature lover and artist, Pippin first began selling her watercolor paintings in summer art fairs and galleries in 1995, after she retired from a career in electronic publishing. She and her husband, Ron, have traveled all over the country—from Key West to the far west—visiting our nation’s national parks in their camper. According to JoAnn, the couple’s favorite two parks are Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado and Acadia National Park in Maine, where they have been volunteers in the parks’ visitors centers, campgrounds, educational programs and artist-in-residence programs.

“When visiting a national park, it is of course thrilling to seek out the scenes that appear in the calendars and the coffee table books,” said Pippin. “But there is so much more to understand about these places. In these paintings, I have tried to portray things that people don’t normally see. My goal is to convey a sense of place and time, and to encourage people to look around to find this for themselves when they visit our great environmental preserves.”

Pippin is a member of the High Country Watermedia Society, the National Watercolor Society, and the arts councils of Watauga and Avery counties.

The Jones House’s Serendipity Gallery now features the annual Senior Art Exhibit. Over 40 artists associated with the Lois Harrell Senior Center have painted paintings that are all 5”x7” and framed. Each one is for sale for $25.

Also for sale at the Jones House this holiday season are CDs by a variety of local musicians, holiday cards, and a special Jones House Christmas tree ornament. In addition to this ornament, the Jones House has a limited number of ornaments from the Appalachian Cultural Museum collection. The now defunct Appalachian Cultural Museum created a special Christmas ornament each year and this represents the last little bit of its gift shop stock. All of the ornaments are $5 apiece.

For more information, call the Watauga Arts Center at (828) 264-1789.

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