Feature Articles

December 2011

Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, NC, Offers Winter Exhibits

The Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, NC, has opened its winter exhibition, Art of Faiths, Religions of the World: Tolerance and Diversity along with the 9th Annual Artist Invitational, both on view through February 11, 2012.

Art of Faiths is the first of a multi-year series celebrating the diversity of present day faith. Three artists explore Christianity through their artwork in this exhibition. Consecutive years’ series will explore Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. Featured artists are Robert Doares (Salisbury, NC , posthumously), Immanuel God with Us, the Life of Christ in Art, and new works by Michele Wood (Atlanta, GA), and Ed Byers, (Asheville, NC).

A native of Maxton, NC, Robert Doares and his wife Kay lived in Salisbury, NC. After graduating from high school in 1929, he moved to New York City to begin his art career. While working in a department store, Doares asked if he could cover a blank wall with a mural. That opportunity helped launch his career. He enrolled in the Grand Central School of Illustration to study under Harvey Dunn, the “dean” of American illustrators and quickly found ways to develop his talent through drawing covers and illustrations for major publications such as Doubleday’s and Harper’s.

As an artist for the Medical Department of the Armed Forces, Doares drew illustrations for training materials and other assignments for the Army Hospital. After the war, he became a freelance illustrator, drawing covers for Outdoor Life, Redbook, Doubleday, and Harper’s. He also drew the illustrations for Phillip W. Keller’s book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, which is still in print.

In 1952, Doares had a life-changing experience with the Lord. In response, his art became his offering of worship and praise to the Lord. He began to paint the life of Christ in a series titled “Immanuel, God With Us: The Life of Christ in Art” that represents 30 years of his life. LightShine Ministries arranged to bring these paintings to North Carolina from Illinois to share Doares’ story and artwork.

Asheville, NC, clay artist Ed Byers began working in clay in 2003 and soon found himself with an intense interest in figurative sculpture. Using earthenware, he strives to make representations of our human experience - beauty and spirit through color and form. His inspirations are folk, American-Southern, African and spiritual beings, usually set in a place of joy, peace, and hope. All of Byers’ sculptures are handbuilt and multiple-fired with oxide washes, underglazes, and slips.

Originally from Huntsville, AL, Byers is a graduate of Auburn University and has completed post-graduate studies in ceramic sculpture in Asheville, Penland, NC, and Santa Fe, NM. He is a member of the American Craft Council, Southern Highland Craft Guild, and Piedmont Craftsmen Guild.

American Book Award-winning artist Michele Wood has inspired the hearts and imaginations of readers with her books, entertained art lovers with her exhibits, and educated students in her workshops and residencies. Through her artwork, she shares a personal journey through faith and devotion.

After graduating from college, the Apex Museum (Atlanta, GA) awarded her a grant that allowed her to embark upon a pilgrimage to Yoruba Land in Africa where she had the opportunity to work with acclaimed Nigerian sculptor and educator Lamidy Olaude Fakeye. This experience deepened her appreciation for empowering cultural and spiritual values and traditions. She produced the Atlanta Jazz Series Poster in 1994 that elevated the status of her work.

In 1996, Wood published her first children’s book, Going Back Home: An Artist Returns to the South. It established her, not only as a major modern artist, but also as an important commentator on the history and culture of African-American people. In her book, I See the Rhythm of Gospel, Wood combines her distinguished artistry, Christian faith, and passion for cultural history through the book, CD, and corresponding art exhibit. The American Library Association awarded Wood with the 1999 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.

Through her dedication to artistic craftsmanship and spiritual integrity, Wood continues to create amazing art and enduring cultural legacies.  

The 9th Annual Artist Invitational Exhibition features ten of the region’s finest emerging and established artists exhibiting mixed media artwork. Featured artists are Lisa Durbin (Asheboro, NC) - ornamental craft, Ric Erkes (Davidson, NC) - wood, Sharon Hamilton (Winston-Salem, NC) - ornamental craft, Mary Linn Norvell (Salisbury, NC) - ornamental craft, Cara Reische (Salisbury, NC) - fine art jewelry, Kirsten Reynolds (Salisbury, NC) - fine art jewelry, Ron Slack (Salisbury, NC) - wood, Mark Stephenson (Misenheimer, NC) - paintings, Matthew Thomason (Julian, NC) - printmaking, and R. Wayne Wrights (Salisbury, NC) - fine art photography.

Please join us for a Meet and Mingle with artists Ed Byers, Michele Wood, and the Reverend Dale Steele of LightShine Ministries as they give informal gallery talks on Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, at 4 pm. Wood will be signing copies of her new book, I Lay My Stitches Down at 5pm. The Opening Reception will follow from 6-8pm. Light refreshments will be served. These events are free and open to the public. To help us better plan, please RSVP to by e-mail to (marketing@waterworks.org) or call 704/636-1882 if you plan to attend.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Center at 704/636-1882 or visit (www.waterworks.org).


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