Around Town: Bardo Arts Center’s latest show explores the sights of sounds

LET THERE BE LIGHT: High-caliber LED stage lights recently procured by the Bardo Arts Center made the new Seeing Sound show possible. Photo courtesy of Seeing Sound: A Musical Journey of Water and Light

What does sound look like?

That’s the question Scott Ashley hopes to answer with his latest project for Western Carolina University’s Bardo Arts Center.

“Light, sound and water all express themselves through wave patterns, so I set out to see if there was a way to translate the wave patterns of sound into those of water and light,” says Ashley, the Bardo Arts Center’s technical director.

The result is Seeing Sound: A Musical Journey of Water and Light, which opens the center’s fall season Thursday-Friday, Oct. 14-15, at 7:30 p.m.

The multimedia show will synthesize live music played by more than 60 musicians into light. Each musical note will create a unique color that will then be registered by an LED that shines its light into water, allowing the rippling reflections of color to project into the space. The music was composed by Russian pianist Alexander Scriabin.

“After you get a chance to see the music for the first time, it feels as though it makes sense at a level that has been there all along,” Ashley says of the immersive experience. “Even at our early stages, the results of seeing the character and personality of music are beautiful and deeply satisfying.”

Seeing Sound is a collaboration of the different departments in WCU’s Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts, along with members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and area musicians. Zay Jarrett, a senior in the stage and screen school, is the sound engineer for the program.

The Bardo Arts Center is at 199 Centennial Drive, Cullowhee. Tickets run $5-$20. To buy tickets or for more information, go to

Pumpkins o’plenty

If you want to get into the Halloween spirit, plan a trip to Transylvania (County).

After a year off due to COVID-19, Pumpkin Fest returns to Silvermont Park and Mansion in Brevard. The celebration begins Friday, Oct. 8, and continues every Friday and Saturday through the month, 6-9 p.m. (with an earlier 5 p.m. start time on Saturday, Oct. 30).

Visitors to the annual event will see lighted, carved pumpkins in 19 scenes along a half-mile trail. Among the displays will be Pirates Cove, Butterfly Garden, Ghost Circle Dance and, new this year, The White Squirrel Circus, designed by Jeanne Hunter.

Many of the scenes originated with Stingy Jack’s Pumpkin Patch, a commercial Halloween event run for years in the county by Alisha Swicegood and family. When the family decided not to continue the pumpkin patch, they donated their materials to the county, which in turn gave them to Friends of Silvermont. The group launched Pumpkin Fest in 2015 to raise money and showcase the historic 8-acre property.

Food, live music and a chance to visit the 104-year-old mansion are also on the agenda each night during the festival. Kids activities, such as face painting, costume photo op and games, will be available as well.

“We are really getting a very enthusiastic response from the community about the return of Pumpkin Fest in terms of many new volunteers stepping forward to help us put on this event so we can keep it affordable for families,” says Pinkie Byrd, volunteer coordinator. Admission is $5 per person.

For more information, go to

Home is where the art is

The Kenilworth Artists Association Studio Tour returns with 14 stops in Asheville’s historic Kenilworth neighborhood Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 9-10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Participants in the free, self-guided tour will get a chance to visit the studios and homes of artists.

“Seeing where the art is made and where the artist lives is a very personal aspect to our tour,” says Lisa Murphy, a mixed-use artist whose home studio will be part of the tour. “You can see what is all around them acting as inspiration.”

Some of the participating artists have free-standing studio buildings on their property, while others have designated studios inside their homes, Murphy notes. In some cases, an artist’s workspace extends throughout the entire house.

And some of the homes include shared spaces where artists show their work together. Murphy, for instance, displays her own paintings in her home and hosts Marianne Soufas, a neighbor who uses Murphy’s patio for her pottery and artwork.

The neighborhood is situated between Biltmore Village and downtown Asheville.

“Kenilworth as a neighborhood is so diverse and also a historically rich community — it really is an interesting backdrop in itself,” Murphy says. “Workers brought here to work on the Biltmore Estate settled here as seen in the wide variety of architecture and homes. I’d say visitors really get a slice of Asheville life on this tour.”

For more information and to see a map of the tour, go to

Eliada reimagines fall event

The severe flooding that hit the area in August washed out Eliada’s annual corn maze. That’s bad news for the nonprofit agency; the October attraction is its largest fundraiser each year.

But  rather than, umm, shucking the whole corn maze thing, Eliada has reimagined this year’s event as a fall festival, running Fridays, 3-7 p.m., Saturdays, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Oct. 31.

The festival includes an extended tractor hayride, a spider web climber, tube slides, corn cannons, a straw-bale maze, an inflatable castle and face painting.

Eliada is at 2 Compton Drive. For more information or to purchase $10 tickets for the festival, go to

Harpies, Hybrids and Hidden Worlds

Bender Gallery is presenting Harpies, Hybrids, and Hidden Worlds, a solo exhibition of paintings by Columbus, Ohio artist Laine Bachman through Sunday, Oct. 31. The gallery, 29 Biltmore Ave., is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays.

“Inspired by myths, folklore and nature, Bachman infuses the colorful worlds she creates with lush foliage, archetypal imagery, underlying themes, exotic fauna and meticulous detail,” according to a press release from the gallery.

Bachman counts French artist Henri Rousseau, Mexican surrealist Frida Kahlo and American visual artist Andrew Wyeth among her influences.

For more information, visit

It’s all in the wrist

The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts has introduced a wristband that will allow people to bypass vaccination check lines at the venue.

The “Ready for Live Performances!” wristbands are available at the box office or during shows to anyone who shows a proof-of-vaccination vaccination card. The wristbands can then be shown to attendants to gain quick access to performances.

The Wortham Center is at 18 Biltmore Ave. The box office is open Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and one hour prior to all performances. For more information, go to


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About Justin McGuire
Justin McGuire is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate with more than 30 years of experience as a writer and editor. His work has appeared in The Sporting News, the (Rock Hill, SC) Herald and various other publications. Follow me @jmcguireMLB

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