Arts and Crafts

Many artists throughout history have had the need for serenity to nurture their creative spirit. Oftentimes artists require seclusion to coalesce with nature for inspiration. The plateau offers the perfect setting for such endeavors, offering artists the sanctity of the mountains needed to create their art. The area is also a magnet for travelling artists to paint its spectacular panoramic views, waterfalls, mountains, and streams.

The mountain population is abundant with full time resident artists, including painters, ceramicists, blacksmiths, and sculptors. Some of these artists include Shari Erickson, who infuses her paintings of both the mountains and the Caribbean with bold color and an impressionistic exploration of light. Doug Gifford, a representational painter of architecture, painstakingly details his work with an invention of a three dimensional technique called Stereo Schema Realism. Karen Weihs works from her 48-acre studio Skylight Farm, where she privately teaches art and paints full time. Her luminous contemporary oil painting embraces many styles, from abstract and realist to conceptual and tonalistic. Wesley Wofford is a figurative bronze sculptor whose style emphasizes the sculptor’s presence, and is characterized by a dynamic use of form and texture. Many of our artists are open to visits to their working studios by appointment and are also represented by some of the local Art Galleries.

Several entities on the plateau feature art prominently in their missions. The Bascom Fine Art Center’s mission is to "enhance the quality of life through a dynamic and inspirational arts experience that inspires and attracts residents and visitors through interaction with all forms of visual arts”. The six-acre campus in downtown Highlands features exhibition space, a ceramic studio, classroom facilities, and a sculpture trail. They have many ongoing programs including exhibitions, classes and lectures. World-renowned Sculptor Patrick Doherty has a permanent installation on the property as well. The Village Green in Cashiers offers several arts related events. A Plein Air festival is held bi-annually where painters juried in from all over the country participate in the outdoor painting event. Painters travel throughout the area from high mountains and trails to waterfalls and streams, making their paintings to be sold at the auction gala at the end of the week. Sculpture on the Green is another program within the 12.5-acre park in the center of Cashiers. It offers a walking tour of a fabulous Permanent Sculpture Collection including a 16-foot concrete and steel sculpture by Peter Lundberg. They also sponsor a Bi-Annual Sculpture Exhibition that exhibits works with a variety of styles and mediums throughout the park from sculptors nationwide. The Art League of Highlands is another local organization that sponsors several shows throughout the year as well as guest speakers for its members.
There are many Art Galleries in the region as well. Main Street in Highlands offers a streetscape setting with coffee shops and cafes sprinkled amongst stores and Art Galleries. The town of Cashiers has more of a village feel, with antique stores and Art Galleries spread out a bit more and connected by an excellent trail system. And there are many more Art Galleries thought out the region carved into the mountainsides and found by taking a leisurely drive through the charming, winding roads.

The area also hosts multiple Art Fairs and Craft Shows throughout the year. These shows start in the spring and there is one almost every weekend until the leaves have fallen off their limbs in late fall.