Not only will local photographer Ken Abbott's pictures of Hickory Nut Gap Farm make it into his forthcoming book Useful Work, but the artist's visuals will also be on display at the Asheville Art Museum from Friday, July 24, until Sunday, October 11. Photo of longtime farm employee Clarence McAbee by Abbott

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features a photo book capturing Hickory Nut Gap Farm’s storied past and present, a “Barnraiser” to help the farm build a kitchen and butchery on-site and a mobile app for mental wellness information hub MindPod Network.

MUD WORKS: Ron Kane sculpts in the live-work space he owns in Candler. Photo by Sarah Whelan

Sculptor Ron Kane, from apprentice­ships to “Gates of Paradise”

Ron Kane worked as a carpenter on more than 38 movie sets and for four years apprenticed to Egyptian King Faruq’s sculptor Mustaf Naguib, but his career came to a sudden halt when he injured his spine on the set of Road to Perdition. Kane has since settled in a Candler-based warehouse-turned-living space where he crafts wooden artwork for customers. He has also created The Next Step for Humanity — the first of a 50-sculpture series called “Gates of Paradise” — and practices a low-key lifestyle he discovered through Sufism.

“[Hall Fletcher] is a great school, but an unrecognized one,” says the elementary school's principal Gordon Grant, citing the establishment's 72 percent rate for children on free or reduced lunch as the highest in Asheville. “[But] a school for poor children should look as beautiful and attractive as any school for any child anywhere,” Grant says. His team hopes to engage students of all backgrounds by “bringing the classroom outside” with an Outdoor Learning Center. Project renderings courtesy of Hall Fletcher Elementary

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features Hall Fletcher Elementary school’s outdoor learning space, Roots + Wings School of Art and Design’s expansion onto a new campus and local band The Circus Mutts’ quest to raise funds for a new tour vehicle.