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Art exhibit captures historic sites in Salisbury

The exhibit, located at Heart of Salisbury, is free to the public and runs through Feb. 25.

SALISBURY, N.C. — Historic homes and sites of Rowan County, captured in paint on canvas, are up for display at Heart of Salisbury on East Innes Street. 

For nearly 20 years, the Plein Air Carolina artists have been regularly meeting to paint historic sites in the Rowan County region. 

"We really are blessed to have a lot of history here in Rowan County," Plein Air artist Phyllis Steimel said. "It gives us an endless supply of painting opportunities."

Now, paintings from the Plein Air artists are being displayed as part of the exhibit “And The Story Begins.” The exhibit is free to the public and runs through Feb. 25.

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The paintings featured are the result of the annual OctoberTour in Salisbury. Every year during the second weekend in October, Salisbury neighbors living in historic homes open their doors to over 700 guests over the course of the weekend. 

As part of OctoberTour, Plein Air artists set up outside of the historic homes and paint the scenes.  

"A way to let people learn about history and history of architecture, history of homes, in a fun way versus just listening or reading -- actually get to walk through, see and be a part of someone's home and a part of history," Weston Ewart, the event coordinator for Historic Salisbury Foundation, said.

Heart of Salisbury, which is hosting the Plein Air exhibit, is located in a historic building itself – the Flowers Bakery Building dating back to the 1930s. Heart of Salisbury is a community wellness center offering yoga, meditation, belly dance classes, a teaching kitchen, rotating art exhibits and more. 

Sue McHugh, the art curator at Heart of Salisbury, said art is a natural fit at the wellness center.

"Art is a quality of life feature," McHugh said. "So we want to be sure we're incorporating that. And then for us to be able to support local artists is an important component."

The featured artists include Steimel, Sharon Forthofer, Carolyn Blackman, Sarah White-Harvey, Joe Paskweicz, Ray Richardson, Karen Koritko, Barbara Duffy, and Joyce Cavanagh-Wood.

Steimel added this particular exhibit allows the Plein Air artists to showcase the work they’ve done in the 10-plus years they’ve been aligned with OctoberTour. 

The exhibit also allows the community to see homes they might drive past every day in a new light. 

"Seeing them in an art form -- as we living here believe they are -- but now really seeing them in art form, it kind of puts it in a different perspective," Ewart said. "It kind of makes you appreciate what you have."

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Steimel, Ewart and McHugh hope people who attend the exhibit walk away from it with a greater appreciation for the place they call home. 

"We don't realize what we have here," Steimel said. "Sometimes it comes head first to them when they see it in a painting. And that's what we like as artists."

All of the art featured in the exhibit is for sale, for those looking to take a piece of historic Salisbury home.

Contact Emma Korynta at ekorynta@wcnc.com and follow her on Twitter.

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