The High Country is known for its rich heritage. Today, many of its residents keep tradition alive by creating arts and crafts using methods that have been passed down through their families from generation to generation. Whether performers or craftsmen, the art produced by these inhabitants of the High Country links the past to the present and, in doing so, has gained a special place in the hearts of many. Since 1981, the Watauga Arts Council (WAC) has endeavored to protect and promote Appalachian art through a variety of community-based activities and events. In support of local arts, the WAC will be holding its annual fundraiser, the Artfull Palette, on Friday, March 12, 2010, at Rosen Concert Hall in Boone NC.

This exciting event is so named because it showcases not just visual or performing arts, but art in all of its many forms. The evening, which starts at 6 p.m., will feature performances by local musicians and dancers, tasty refreshments, and a silent auction. This year’s fundraiser introduces a new element into the mix: Facebook. Those interested will have the option of bidding on items via the WAC’s Facebook page. Bids will be accepted until 4 p.m. on the day of the auction, and the highest Facebook bids will be used as opening bids during the silent auction.

At 6 p.m., the Artfull Palette fundraiser will kick off in the lobby of Rosen Concert Hall, where visitors will have the opportunity to mingle with friends both old and new, sip on some drinks from the bar, and nibble on delicious hors d’oeuvres. They will also have the opportunity to participate in the silent auction during this time. Featured items will include dinner packages, local artwork, a trip to Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC, and an assortment of other unique odds and ends.

At 7 p.m., the focus will shift to local performers, with classical Pianist Aaron Ames, the Watauga High Pacers dance team, classical violinist Vanessa Chumbley, and bluegrass artist Amantha Mill all taking turns at center stage. Once the audience has gotten its fill, they will move back into the lobby to enjoy refreshments and learn the results of the silent auction. Dessert will consist of handcrafted cakes by local baker Jo Ann Hallmark of Blowing Rock NC’s Hallmark Cakes, and coffee from Espresso News.

Coordinators of the event, which is scheduled to wrap up at 9 p.m., are hoping that this year’s fundraiser will be more successful than last year’s, which raised a total of $3,000. Not only are the arts an integral part of the community’s identity, but they are also a major source of revenue. A 2004 study conducted by Appalachian State University estimated that the arts alone brought $26,000 dollars worth of income to Watauga County. This great event is more than just a fundraiser—it’s a way to preserve the community’s identity while supporting one of its most important sources of income.

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