2015 – 2016



An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia
on Loan from the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
August 2, 2014 – February 1, 2015
Preview Reception: August 7 from 6-8 p.m.

From 1861 through 1865 Virginia stood at the center of a military and social revolution. How we define freedom, liberty, patriotism, and nation today is directly related to the diverse experiences of the individuals who participated in the war. This exhibition encourages visitors to consider how a single event, separated from us by 150 years, so fundamentally reshaped American society that its impact is still experienced today. What was gained by the Civil War, what was lost, and what is left for us to resolve?

An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia consists of two 1,500 square-foot gallery traveling exhibitions—Waging War and Surviving War—that together feature over 200 objects and 17 state-of-the-art audiovisual programs.


Mapping the Cosmos: Jan Hurt and a Constellation of Artists
Opening Reception First Thursday, February 5 from 6-8 p.m.
February 6 – May 17, 2015
United Company Contemporary Regional Gallery

William King Museum of Art is proud to host this multi-media exhibition modeled after Jan Hurt’s many collaborative exhibitions from far and recent past- in particular the Tarot Card Art exhibition held at the Starving Artist Café in the late 1990s. Mapping the Cosmos began with thirteen hand-selected artists from the region who then asked one other artist to participate. The total twenty-seven artists randomly selected part of the Cosmos from a hat and were allowed to interpret their topic in any media they choose. The artists then sought out, in light of current knowledge or totally disregarding current knowledge, to re- imagine, explore, and reinterpret the Cosmos.

Carole Blevins
Nancy Brittelle
Leila Cartier
Shawn Crookshank
Stephen Curd
Tracy Ference
Kathy Gibian
Olivia Gibian
Lindsey Holderfield
Greg Howser
Jan Hurt
Perry Johnson
Barbara Kozero
Val Lyle
Aaron McIntosh
Pat Mighell
Lillian Minix
Peter Morgan
D.R. Mullins
Miles Polaski
Ron Sachs
Ralph Slatton
Eric Drummond Smith
Misty Stratton
Ray Stratton
Nadya Warthen-Gibson
koreloy wildrekinde~mcwhirter


The Proud and the Profane: The Colorful Life, Literature, and Illustrations of Lucy Herndon Crockett
Opening Reception First Thursday, March 5 from 6-8 p.m.
March 6 – July 12, 2015
Price-Strongwell Galleries

Lucy Herndon Crockett was born April 4, 1914 in Honolulu, Hawaii and passed away near her Seven Mile Ford, Virginia home on July 30, 2002. Her father, an aid to Theodore Roosevelt, provided for art lessons in New York lending to her talents as an illustrator and designer. Her service as an American Red Cross worker in the South Pacific during World War II set the stage for her most recognized novel, The Magnificent Bastards, which was later made into a Hollywood film The Proud and the Profane starring William Holden and Deborah Kerr in 1956. After settling in Smyth County Virginia, Crockett became increasingly paranoid of those around her; for example, threatening behavior toward then President John Kennedy led to a period of house arrest. Crockett left behind more than eight novels, dozens of illustrations, and a collection of letters, newspaper clippings, and many interesting antiques and relics salvaged from her last residence. This exhibition focuses on the many rumors, legends, and artistic talents of the late Lucy Herndon Crockett.


Into the Green
June 5 – September 27, 2015
Opening Reception: First Thursday, June 4 from 6-8 p.m.
United Company Contemporary Gallery

“We all crave story, a narrative that will see us safely through the dark forest of our lives. We know that we will confront dragons there as well as evil witches, greedy kings and a very few kindly helpers. We know that if we can only win through to the other side of that wood then we will come to the tall, lean tower where our truth lies hidden. Art. Nature. Music. Reading. All help us along that twisting path.”

Into the Green showcases art from the fantastical worlds of Charles Vess including new works, personal favorites, and an exclusive gallery-wide mural that illustrates the journey we all travel through life.

Award winning fantasy artist and illustrator Charles Vess is known around the world and has called Abingdon, Virginia his home since 1991. Recent publications include illustrations for Charles de Lint’s novels Seven Wild Sisters and The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, which are set in Washington County, Virginia. Collaborations with writer Neil Gaiman have resulted in numerous projects including several illustrated issues of his acclaimed Sandman series and the four-part series Stardust, which was made into a motion picture in 2007 and an exhibit at William King Museum of Art in 2006. Vess has worked on other commissions including the fountain Midsummer Play across from the Barter Theatre, is represented locally by Mallory Fine Art, and keeps a studio steps away from Main Street in Abingdon.

image: Charles Vess, Gathering the Worlds, 2013, colored inks

BackcountryMakers_announcement copy

Backcountry Makers: An Artisan History of Southwest Virginia
and Northeast Tennessee
Based on the scholarship and recent publication by Betsy K. White
July 31, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Opening Reception First Thursday, August 6 from 6-8 p.m.

Abingdon’s own scholar, Betsy K. White, brings to life the material-culture heritage of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee in her recent publication Backcountry Makers: An Artisan History of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. This exhibition will include biographical sketches sampled from the seventy-five makers included in the book —potters, weavers, spinners, quilters, embroiderers, cabinetmakers, metalsmiths, clocksmiths, gunsmiths, and artists — alongside examples of their work gathered from important public and private collections throughout the region. These vignettes offer a fascinating glimpse of the people behind the various pieces, describing their background, family life, and where they learned their trade. Using census records and other documentary evidence, White has traced the earliest of these artisans from their origins in such places as Europe and Philadelphia down through the Great Valley of Virginia to their ultimate destinations in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee.

Backcountry Makers is the 31st exhibition resulting from the Betsy K. White Cultural Heritage Project, which documents and presents the artistic legacy of Southwest Virginia and Northeast


Schools of Thought: Paintings and Drawings from the King University Museum of Fine Arts
Opening Reception First Thursday, September 3 from 6-8 p.m.
September 4, 2015 – January 17, 2016
United-Legard Galleries 

In December 2003, King University Trustee Neal Caldwell and wife Alice (Morrow) Caldwell (’51) presented King with a group of works from their personal art collection. Since that time, the University has continued to receive gifts from the Caldwells, forming an impressive collection that now features more than 360 original pieces of art and 65 artifacts spanning centuries, genres and media. These original works include such masters as Rembrandt, Corot, Turner, Picasso, Dalí, Toulouse-Lautrec, Whistler, Marsh, Chagall, and Matisse, among others. This exhibition will focus on the academic traditions around the nineteenth century represented in the King University Museum of Fine Arts collection and illuminate the schools of thought that brought them their position in the evolution of aesthetics and content that now define Western art history.

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