by Mary Karr

“How my heart gladdened, as the light of spring came from the sun, with zephyrs and with showers, waking the earth to beauty, and the woods to music.”   James G, Perceival

How great it is to begin to shake off winter’s icy crystals and contemplate the bright sunny landscape with daffodils and tulips poking their way through the ground and bird song floating through the clear warming air.  The promise of spring is all around us and we are so thankful for the earth’s renewal.  It’s time to move outside and travel in the countryside.  One of my pleasures in doing so is to visit the wonderful small art museums that abound in many of our towns, large and small, throughout the land.  They will astound you with the history of their various pasts using art as a tool to do so.  The Chamber of Commerce is an excellent source to guide you to their art museums and galleries.

The following are some of my favorite art museums nearby.  In Black Mountain one can enjoy the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, and then continue on to Asheville to enjoy the new Asheville Art Museum.  The museum will reopen this spring following a total renovation.  It will be of great interest to explore its new space and exhibitions in the heart of downtown Asheville.

The Renolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem is offering an interesting exhibit, “Hopper to Pollock”, which explores these American artists who are called the Abstract Expressionists.  After the Second World War, artists began mining the subconscious for artistic material, and these artists use the subject matter for a dynamic new way of expressing themselves.  If your travel takes you here you must visit the Renolda Gardens.  You will see the pale yellow daffodils along the wooded areas of the entrance drive along with weeping cherry trees and saucer magnolias.  The evergreen azaleas come next and then peonies will open just in time for Mothers Day.  It is a glorious sight to behold!

The Lake Lure Artists are busy this spring with new work being done and art shows planned.  Check their art at local restaurants, the Mountains Branch Library and shops throughout the Hickory Nut Gorge.

William Wordsworth’s beautiful poem of spring certainly expresses how we appreciate this time of rebirth.

“I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high over vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils.”