Around Town: Haywood County students create public mural

COLORFUL COLLABORATION: Students from Pisgah and Tuscola high schools worked with artist Patricia Sweet to design and paint a mural in Clyde. Photo by Patricia Sweet

When the Haywood County Arts Council asked for artists to help high school students create a public art project, landscape painter Patricia Sweet knew she had to get involved.

During her own teenage years in Clearwater, Fla., in the 1980s, Sweet was an artistically inclined student who helped paint murals at her high school. “I went back in my 40s, and all the murals are still there,” she says. “What a wonderful feeling. And I wanted these kids to have that feeling.”

Over the course of five weekly sessions, Sweet worked with 10 students from Pisgah and Tuscola high schools to design and paint a mural on an outside wall at 88 Main St. in Clyde, just across from City Hall. Students sketched ideas on paper and ultimately picked a design depicting the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains at sunrise.

The participating students were Emma Inman, Danae TranthamMayumi CaminitiLandry WillsonNoah KrekelbergAnna Altmayer and Makayla Parton of Pisgah, and Kaitlyn Huston, Gabriel Markley and Palmer Webb of Tuscola.

“They’re gaining some pride in their community and some experience painting outside in the elements,” Sweet says. “Some of them are just meeting for the first time, and some have known each other for years. They’ve had to share ideas and make decisions together as a team.”

The mural was created as part of the arts council’s Mural Mondays Project, which also included murals created by students from North Canton Elementary and Bethel Middle schools. The project, the brainchild of artist Mollie Harrington-Weaver, is funded by the Haywood County Tourist Development Authority and Haywood County Schools Foundation.

For more information, visit

Local setting

Author Marie Bostwick has no personal connections to Western North Carolina, but she has long seen the area as fertile ground for fiction.

That’s why her latest novel, Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly, is set largely in and around Asheville.

“The natural beauty of the region was a big draw, as was the city’s unique character,” says Bostwick, who lives in Washington state. “But the thing that most attracted me was Asheville’s reputation as a haven for artists. That really sets Asheville apart and ended up influencing events and themes in the book.”

In the novel, released by William Morrow Paperbacks on May 30, the title character returns to her grandparents’ lakeside lodge near Asheville to regroup after a series of personal and professional failures. Driving into the city, Esme sees “blue-green waves of mountains reaching the horizon in every direction and the city in the center, looking like the only human habitation in the known universe, suspended in an endless sky[.]”

“If you’re a writer, how can you not write about such a place?” Bostwick says.

Working on the book during the height of the pandemic, Bostwick did most of her research about Asheville online. She finally was able to visit the city in the fall of 2021 and spent many hours exploring. “Over the years, I’ve discovered that the best way to absorb the flavor of a location is by putting on your walking shoes,” she says. “Kudos to the folks who created Asheville’s Urban Trail — it was a terrific introduction to Asheville’s history and helped me identify topics for further research.”

The author will speak at a Books and Bites event hosted by the Mountains Library Friends at the Lake Lure Inn, 2771 Memorial Highway, on Wednesday, May 31, at 5 p.m. She will also speak at the Henderson County Public Library on Thursday, June 1, at 5 p.m. The library is at 301 N. Washington St., Hendersonville.

For more information or to purchase the book, go to

Under the moonlight

Foundy Street in the River Arts District will present Full Moon Dance Party on Saturday, June 3, 9 p.m.-midnight, on the outdoor patio of Wedge Brewery at Foundation.

The free event will feature music from DJ Griffin White and Altumatum as well as vendors such as tarot reader Krysta Beth Heidman, Auburn Lily Healing Arts, LuLu & Oliver Candles and henna artist Maia Sanders.

Foundy Street is a collective that includes RAD Skatepark and Foundation Skatepark, as well as art studios, restaurants, food trucks and other businesses.

Wedge Brewery at Foundation is at 5 Foundy St., N0. 10.

For more information, go to

Mexican connection

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center will present the exhibit Black Mountain College and Mexico from Friday, June 2-Saturday, Sept. 9. An opening reception will be held Friday, June 2, 5:30-8 p.m.

The show will feature works by prominent contemporary Mexican artists, including Jorge Méndez Blake, Iñaki Bonillas and Abraham Cruzvillegas, as well as a selection of historic works by BMC artists.

“Black Mountain College … had important links to Mexico that until now have been little investigated,” the museum says in a press release, adding that the lives of many key BMC figures were touched by experiences in Mexico. “BMC and its legacy have played a significant role in shaping contemporary approaches to art in Mexico.”

The experimental college was founded in 1933 and operated in Black Mountain by a group of academics. Known for its progressive, arts-based curriculum, early racial integration and liberal takes on gender and sexuality, the college closed in 1957.

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center is at 120 College St. For more information, go to

Pretty words

Clint Bowman, co-founder and facilitator of Black Mountain’s Dark City Poets Society, has released Pretty Sh!t, a chapbook of 14 poems focusing on the American South and organized religion.

“Readers are taken on a journey that begins by exiting the interstate and slowly meandering through the side streets and into the trailer parks and surrounding churches,” says a press release from Los Angeles-based Bottlecap Press, which published the collection. “Through awareness of the good and bad, and knowledge of what is in your control, Pretty Sh!t serves as an anecdote on how to accept your past, no matter how ugly it is, while creating a more hopeful future.”

To order a copy of the book, go to To find out about readings and other events, 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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