Art After Dark draws a crowd

Grace Cathey art dedicated to park
By Michelle Bacallao | Sep 09, 2013
Photo by: Michelle Bacallao Artist Grace Cathey stands next to her steel flower sculpture 'Bee Balm.'

Art after Dark, a once-a-month event hosted by the Waynesville Gallery Association, had a big turnout on Sept. 6 in downtown Waynesville.

The night kicked off at 5:30 p.m. with a dedication celebration of artist Grace Cathey's three steel flower pieces, “Wildflowers of the Smokies.” Cathey was chosen in March by the Waynesville Public Art Commission to complete the project, which is the sixth and final piece for Waynesville's Mini-Park, located at the corner of Depot and Main streets.

“She is one of the finest artists I've known since I moved here. ...She is so down to earth and people oriented. I think that has something to do with her talent,” said Jan Griffin, chairwoman for the Public Art Commission.

Cathey gave credit back to the Public Art Commission.

“I've been making big flowers for years but it was the Public Art Commission who called for the sculpture — and the town of Waynesville who supported it,” she said.

Mayor Gavin Brown also made an appearance at the dedication ceremony. He emphasized that art is about heritage and thanked the town of Waynesville for its contributions.

In preparation for her project, Cathey traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and asked what the favorite flowers of the Smokies were. She was told there were too many to decide so she brought a book home and chose her favorites, including the Bee Balm, the Lady's Slipper and the Butterfly Weed. Her project took about four to five months to complete.

Cathey, who says she is inspired by the work of Georgia O'Keeffe, has now completed about five public sculptures.

Several other artists and musicians made an appearance for Art after Dark.

Inside The Jeweler's Workbench, 'Round the Fire, a classic jams band of four, including Craig Summers and Lee Kram, performed a traditional piece. Rick Hills showed off his spray paint talent outside Cedar Hill Studio. His pieces incorporate artifacts of nature such as rocks and leaves.

Artists and storeowners alike had nothing but good things to say about the event. According to Cedar Hill Studio owner Gretchen Clasby, it increases exposure for artists and brings the community together.

“My favorite thing about the event is just meeting people and talking about art,” said artist Rick Hills.

A few participating art galleries include Cedar Hill Studio, Earthworks, Jeweler's Workbench, Twigs and Leaves Gallery and Grace Cathey Sculpture Garden and Gallery.

The event takes place the first Friday of each month from May through December and goes from 6-9 p.m. in downtown Waynesville. It is funded in part by the Haywood County Development Authority. The Waynesville Gallery Association supports a wide range of talented artisans and craftspeople. For more information, visit