The Mountaineer

May 5, 2023

The Haywood County Arts Council will hold an opening reception for a Cherokee art exhibit and dedicate the new Cherokee-themed mural on Wall Street in downtown Waynesville during Art After Dark on Friday, May 5.

The exhibit, “Renewing the Fire Through Education,” features work from Cherokee High School students and art teachers, curated by Cherokee artist and teacher Lori Reed. Student work includes a variety of mediums including jewelry, baskets, beaded feathers, pottery, and colored pencil and pastel drawings.

“I am happy to have an opportunity to showcase the work from my students alongside my and other teachers’ work,” Reed said. “Many of our students take what we are trying to teach them to heart and truly push themselves to learn as much as possible.”

“I want to continue making them as she did,” said Jackson.

The Cherokee mural is part of a make-over to the back of the arts council building on Wall Street, including installation of a native pollinator rain garden. The Cherokee mural was inspired by the purchase of the building by the Cherokee tribal development arm, Kituwah LLC.

“HCAC really embraced incorporating the Cherokee culture into the Wall Street revitalization vision. Kituwah was excited to support that effort while improving the aesthetics and sustainability of the grounds,” said Travis Crisp of Kituwah.

The mural depicts the Cherokee myths of the mud dauber and spider, credited for teaching pottery and finger weaving to the Cherokee people.

“With my mural design, I am paying respect to the stories of the Cherokee culture, along with our arts,” Reed said.

Volunteers who helped paint the mural left their handprints on the door, adding to the theme of renewing the fire through hearts and hands, which is written in English and Cherokee language over the back door.