Quick guide to High Country art scene

Denise Casalez and Asher Davidson

Whether a local in Boone or just an upcoming student, there are many ways to get into the art scene of this quaint mountain town. Checking out art galleries or music venues is one of the easiest ways to get into that scene, some are even a minute walk from campus. 

Appalachian Theatre of the High Country

Appalachian Theatre was built in 1938 and, despite its complex history, is a staple of King Street. 

“Different iterations of this building have existed and being able to represent those today is something that we are really striving to be,” said Suzanne Livesay, the executive director for the Appalachian Theatre. 

After being burned down in the 1950s, this theater still serves the public with a range of events from film festivals, live music and plays. Appalachian Theatre is home to Boone Docs Film Festival which celebrates the life of local residents living in the area. 

 “We are hoping to be considered the High Country’s living room,” Livesay said. 

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts 

Opened in 2003, the Turchin Center has been a big spot for art in Boone. Turchin’s “most valuable role to students is offering free access to world class art through a variety of constantly rotating visual arts exhibitions, visiting artist engagements and hands-on arts experiences,” said Christy Chenausky, director of arts education and outreach at the Turchin Center. Visitors and students can go on tours, attend workshops and participate in Art Talks and Lunch and Learn. 

Turchin Center employs students to work at the front reception area with the goal of providing “valuable experience” to students of different majors and backgrounds before entering their professional careers, said Lynn Rees-Jones, the marketing director for the Turchin Center.

“Students can expect an art experience that is committed to bringing art outside of the Boone area,” said Elle Green, director of the Visitor Center. They added that students can participate in the Arts Corridor that is opening in September as it connects through campus with the unveiling of new sculptures from North Carolina artists. 

The Jones House

A family home built by one of the first physicians in Boone in 1908, The Jones House is used as a cultural and community center, “owned and run by the Town of Boone and houses the Cultural Resources Department for the town,” said Brandon Holder, the cultural resources coordinator for the Town of Boone. This center organizes fun and friendly events such as Boone Boo and the Boonerang Music and Arts Festival. Summer concerts are held on the front porch and in the Mazie Jones Gallery there is a different visual artist featured every month, said Holder. Throughout the year, The Jones House hosts Old Time Jam Sessions and also offers lessons. 

“There is a rich cultural heritage to this area and we try to present some of that,” said Holder.

The Jones House is a unique exhibition venue for the local visual artists and musicians that come and perform and display work, plus it’s in the center of town and easily accessible from campus, said Holder. 

Schaefer Center for The Performing Arts

The Schaefer Center is home to campus and community events throughout the school year. Offering a dynamic arts menu such as art, film and dance, it provides a space to engage in the arts and culture of this mountain town. It is home to BANFF film festivals and productions from the Hayes School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance. It is also responsible for APPlause, a K-12 program every season. 

According to their website “students experience everything from high-energy acrobatics and Appalachian music to international dance and literary classics brought to life through theatrical productions.”


Located on campus, Legends is the local spot for live music and entertainment.  There are other clubs in Boone, but Legends is a “full fledged night club” that is regionally famous and a perfect spot for artists to come through for a sold out show on their way to a larger venue, said Assistant Director of Campus Activities Craig Lutz. Once a Winn-Dixie grocery store, Legends has hosted a wide variety of artists including Doja Cat in 2019. Legends requires an ID for all attendees to show they are 18 years or older and Legends is a BYOB venue. 

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum has served visitors a taste of the arts and local history since 2011. 

“This region is often misrepresented by people outside the region and that has led to the proliferation of a lot of stereotypes about people from western North Carolina,” said BRAHM’s Program and Outreach Director Williard Watson III. “So it is very important for people to seek out sources of trusted and scholarly information of the place they are at.” 

BRAHM’s goal is to bring history towards the community and contribute to cultural enrichment. 

BRAHM offers educational programs, exhibitions, activities and permanent collections. BRAHM is free of charge and is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

BRAHM has eight galleries with American art, contemporary craft and history exhibits about North Carolina and the northern Appalachian Region, said Watson. BRAHM has student memberships that are $10 and that allows members free admissions to the adult education programs, lecture and film series. Students can also volunteer and seek out apprenticeships for the opportunity of “hands-on experience of working in art and cultural preservation,” said Watson.