The Hickory Museum of Art’s fifth annual Lake Norman Folk Art Festival takes place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 5 at 3630 Drum Campground Road off N.C. 150 in Sherrills Ford.


SHERRILLS FORD – What started out as an effort to showcase area folk artists has turned into a daylong festival drawing thousands of people.

The Hickory Museum of Art’s fifth annual Lake Norman Folk Art Festival is expected to draw its largest crowd of 5,000 people on Oct. 5, said Kristina Anthony, the museum’s communications manager.

About 60 area folk artists will have their work on display and for sale 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 3630 Drum Campground Road off N.C. 150.

The festival gives the museum a chance to gain exposure on the other side of Catawba County, Anthony said. It also allowed the museum to support local folk artists.

For the first three years, the event was held on a private lot, which limited the number of artists who could participate and the crowd that could attend.

The first year featured about 30 artists and 1,000 visitors, Anthony said. When the festival moved to its current location last year, it grew to 48 artists and 3,500 visitors.

Wanda Clark has noticed the festival grow each year. This will be her fifth year showing her paintings at the event.

Known for her use of bright and bold colors, Clark mostly paints scenes and memories from her childhood: returning home from picking blackberries with her father, using a Greyhound bus to travel, and receiving glass milk jugs delivered from the milk man, to name a few.

Clark often donates her artwork for charity fundraising events, but the festival is a chance for her to be exposed to a broader audience.

“I sit back and look at people’s reactions because when you paint, you put yourself out there,” she said.

Her favorite is to watch children contemplate her artwork. Their eyes bounce back and forth all over the canvas, whereas an adult will look it over with a glance, Clark observed.

While Clark works in a traditional medium with paint on canvas, many folk artists will create with whatever is available to them, such as recycled materials, wood and panels.

Salisbury resident John Morehead is one such artist. He creates fish out of anything and finds most of his materials from flea markets, yard sales, dumpster dives and objects given to him.

He once used a cello and ukulele to create the Biblical scene of Jonah and the Whale.

Morehead has developed a following as his work has been seen and sold in area galleries, but this will be the first year for him to participate in the Folk Art Festival. He’s excited to promote his work so close to Lake Norman, gain more exposure and interact with people.

“I don’t take myself too seriously as an artist” Morehead said. “I’m not a fine artist. I’m a fun artist.”

The festival will also include a variety of food, raffle, free children’s craft and new festival gallery in partnership with lead sponsor “Hickory’s Life. Well Crafted.”