Believe it or not

As if we needed any further proof that our region is exploding, in terms of both population and development, a recent study found that Buncombe County now leads the state in overall economic-development performance. According to the Greenville, N.C.-based research firm Problem Solving, Inc., Buncombe ranked first among the state’s 100 counties on a one-year basis, sixth on a five-year basis, and fifth on a 10-year basis.

Among the study’s primary indicators were employment growth, average annual local wage, unemployment rate, the ratio of local jobs to local workers, per capita income and population growth. Each of the study’s nine components was given equal weight in creating the rankings.

In the one-year analysis, Buncombe County ranked first, followed by Wake County (Raleigh), New Hanover County (Wilmington), Forsyth County (Winston-Salem), and Mecklenburg County (Charlotte).

For more information about the report, contact James Kleckley at (252) 355-7774.

Live and learn

Learning is not only good for you, it’s a lot of fun, too. But don’t take our word for it — take advantage of the second annual Winter Learning Sample, and decide for yourself. A collaborative effort involving Mars Hill College, A-B Tech, Montreat College, UNCA’s College for Seniors, Warren Wilson College and Western Carolina University, the Winter Learning Sample gives individuals a chance to learn about a wide range of fascinating topics, from the Irish, English and African roots of traditional mountain music, to building financial security “one piece at a time,” to the life and work of Christian mystic Thomas Merton.

A cross section of instructors from all six participating institutions will teach these special classes, which will be held at Asheville’s First Baptist Church, Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 14-16. Classes will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an hour break for lunch. The cost is $20 per person per course, and the church will offer an optional lunch for $5. The cutoff date for registration is Friday, Jan. 8.

For more information, or to learn more about the classes being offered, call 689-1298.

Show ’em who’s boss

Dr. Richard Cary, chair of the Mars Hill College art department, is getting a chance to show his students just how good he really is. “Panoramic Landscapes,” an exhibit of Cary’s work, is on display at the Walters State College art gallery in Morristown, Tenn., through Jan. 31.

Cary’s work is held in numerous private collections and has appeared in more than 20 solo and juried exhibits throughout the country. The artist, teacher and scholar holds a doctorate in art and aesthetics, master’s degrees in photography and ceramic art, and is the art editor of Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education. Cary’s work has also been featured in various publications, including the contemporary photography periodical Community Voice.

Walters State’s gallery is located in the college library, open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call Elizabeth Campbell at 585-6822.

Tour of duty

Speaking of art, the application deadline for inclusion in the 2000-2001 North Carolina Touring Artist Directory is coming up soon — Feb. 1, 1999, to be exact.

Published by the N.C. Arts Council, the directory is distributed as a resource tool for organizations that hire artists, including musicians, dancers, theater, folk, literary and media artists. Artists and companies selected for inclusion must be willing to tour throughout the state. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of in-state arts professionals chosen for their expertise in a particular discipline or other relevant experience. Applicants will be judged on their artistic quality, history of successful performing and touring or residency experience, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and the educational value of their programs and the quality of teaching materials, if applicable.

For information about applications, contact Vicki Vitiello at (919) 733-7897, ext. 26. To find out more about the Arts Council, call Miriam Sauls at (919) 733-2111, ext. 33.

— colickly compiled by Paul Schattel

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