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An Artfull Palette

Article Published: May. 19, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
An Artfull Palette

Amantha Mill performs at last year's Artfull Palette fundraiser for the Watauga Arts Council. This year's event is scheduled for May 28.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

To celebrate how the Watauga Arts Council has been "dishing up" the arts for the region for the past 30 years, this year's Artfull Palette fundraising event is dishing up local food in addition to local performing and visual art displays.

Artfull Palette brings community members together for food, an auction, celebration, and the experience of some of the local arts that have been supported by the council over the years.

The event will be held on Saturday, May 28, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Rosen Concert Hall on the campus of Appalachian State University.

The event began in the late 1980s and acquired its name from an element that was originally a part of the evening.

"When it was begun, they used to do it with the High Country Chefs, and at that time they were showcasing culinary arts, as well," Cherry Johnson, director of the Watauga Arts Council, said.

This year, though, the High Country Chefs are not represented, and the food will be crafted by Crave, a Boone tapas restaurant and martini bar; tapas are small portions that together make a meal in Spanish cuisine.

The event was not held from 1995 until 2006, but in honor of the 25th anniversary of the council, organizers brought back this fundraiser and have kept it as an annual night since.

The evening begins in the atrium of the Rosen Concert Hall, where there will be music and a silent auction, while the Crave hors d'oeuvres are served, along with a cash bar.

"There will be some arts, some crafts, some gift certificates, some things that board members are donating themselves, like some beautiful glass pieces, an assortment of things," Johnson said.
The arts are not limited based on genre this evening; music, dance, sculpture, painting and more will all be represented.

"It's a fundraiser for the arts council, yes," Johnson said. "However, it's also a celebration of the incredible array of the artists in our communities. It is a showcase, a sampling."

After the silent auction finishes and the music in the atrium comes to a close, the attendees of this evening will go into the concert hall itself for a widely varied show that portrays the multicultural yet local nature of the arts in the High Country.

"They are going to get a smorgasbord of the arts," Johnson said.

The line-up for the evening includes the Forget-Me-Nots, a local group of classical musicians who play Celtic folk music, composed of Willa Finck, Maura Shawn Scanlin and Ledah Finck. There will also be barbershop music, classical piano, African drumming and dancing, and more.

After the conclusion of the performances, the attendees will adjourn back to the atrium for the 30th anniversary birthday cake and toast with champagne the successes and the future of the arts council.
The fundraiser has made thousands of dollars in the past, and the council uses this money toward the wide array of programs it hosts in Watauga County.

"We do a lot of things," Johnson said. "We have a grants program, we have galleries in the Jones House, we have a strong educational program, a traditional music program, a big variety of things."
The impact of arts in the community is impossible to chart, but the work of the Watauga Arts Council strives toward its stated mission "to sponsor and encourage the cultural arts in Watauga County, with an emphasis on arts in education and the traditional arts."

Tickets are $40 for one person or $75 for two, and can be purchased through the Watauga Arts Council website,, or over the phone at (828) 264-1789. Tickets should be purchased by May 23.

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