Arts in the Hickory Metro Area

Our Region Values Visual and Performing Arts
The Greater Hickory Metro is well-known in the state for its dedication to the arts. Historically, the area’s art scene has thrived and residents pride themselves in their support of many great institutions. Arts have always been important to the area, and as we move into the future, will continue to be a vital focus here.

Hickory Museum of Art
This Museum is the second oldest art museum in the state. It was started in 1944 by Paul Whitener. Many of his works are available for viewing in the gallery today. In 1986, the Museum moved to its current location in the SALT Block in Hickory. The Museum focuses on American Art, and has new installations frequently. Self-guided iPod tours are available, and the Museum is free to the public. The education department also offers art classes for children and adults.

The Hickory Choral Society
This group began in 1978, touching music lovers in the Catawba Valley with the spirit of song.  Approximately 120 singers join together to perform exceptional concerts for the residents of our region. They host many concerts each year at a variety of locations.   Information about their concert series are available on their site where you can also purchase CDs.

The Western Piedmont Symphony
This group is housed in the SALT Block. Their mission is to provide musical performances of distinction that enrich and enliven the community’s classical music experience and to nourish new audiences through school concerts and family outreach programs. They host active concert series in several locations in the county, and also provide performances for local schools.

The United Arts Council
The council strives to advance the cultural life of Catawba County through grants, marketing, fundraising and facilities management.  The Council was formed in 1960, and has been vital in the county ever since. They manage the facilities at the SALT Block, which houses many of the Arts groups in town. They also provide a very thorough calendar for arts events.

Full Circle Arts
This non profit is a cooperative of regional artists of all disciplines. The members work together to encourage public appreciation of, and education in, the arts. The group was established in 2000, and among other things, provides studio space and a gallery for members. They are located in Downtown Hickory.

The Hickory Community Theatre
This theatre is the area’s oldest community theatre. It began in 1949, and has become a local mainstay. They are located in downtown Hickory, in the Old City Hall.  They offer at least 9 full length plays a year, in addition to children’s shows and one-acts in the Fireman’s Kitchen. They recently won the coveted “Outstanding Production” award from the Metrolina Theatre Association.

The Green Room Community Theatre
This theatre is  based in Newton, North Carolina. They began in 1986, with the goal of bringing increased opportunity to experience live theatre in the area. They produce 9 shows each year, and have recently renovated the Old Post Office in Newton, and are enjoying their first full season there. They offer a Shakespeare Camp for youths each summer.

This is an auditorium based in Morganton, NC. CoMMA is an acronym for “The City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium. They host several plays on the mainstage each season, and also present traveling musicians and other artistic groups. The space is also available to the public for rentals.

The Footcandle Film Society
The Footcandle Film Society, in place since 2008, is dedicated to helping grow the arts community of our area by bringing award-winning, thought-provoking, lesser-known films that may not have shown in the local multiplex. Documentaries, foreign films, and locally-produced films can all be seen on the society’s playlist.

In addition to the many arts organizations local to our area, there are also many events that raise arts awareness. Several times a year, Downtown Hickory hosts an “Art Crawl”. The Art Crawl is held twice a year and features local artists showcasing their talents in many downtown businesses. Maps are provided and participants walk around downtown, browsing the art, enjoying refreshments and meeting with the artists. The artwork is available for sale during this exhibition.

Each Sunday night, the Tap Room in Downtown Hickory hosts “Jazz on Tap”. This is a weekly jazz performance with different musicians and a unique atmosphere. Jazz on Tap was even featured on PBS in 2003!

Historically, our area was known for its great pottery. As early as the 1830’s, the region began to build a reputation as a great location for potters. A locally derived ash glaze, which is thick and runny, characterizes the pots from this region. The glaze is very murky, and it doesn’t lend itself to subtle decoration. The glaze’s dramatic effect is a trademark of the region. This glaze is now used statewide, but older pots from this region are extremely valuable.

Arts have always been important to the area, and as we move into the future, we will continue to focus here.