Friday, April 25, 2008

Johnston County Arts Council Celebrates Johnston County Schools Visual Arts Teachers

The Johnston County Arts Council Annual Meeting will be held this year on Tuesday, May 6th. Each year the organization recognizes members of the community that have contributed to the betterment of our county through the arts. This year the Arts Council has chosen to honor the visual arts teachers of the Johnston County Schools. There will also be an Art Exhibit by Johnston County School students and a Silent Auction of work created by local artists.

The Annual Meeting will be held in the Great Hall of Johnston Community College in Smithfield and will begin at 6:30pm. A dinner buffet will be provided by Casey’s Catering. Tickets are just $35.00 per person and can be purchased by calling Jessica Meadows, Executive Director, at 919-553-1930. All proceeds will go to the programs of the Johnston County Arts Council.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BILL LESLIE: TARHEEL TALES AND TUNES Presented by the Clayton Historical Association

As a native of Morganton, NC and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bill Leslie, WRAL-TV5 news anchor, is a Tarheel through and through. Not only a talented story-teller, Bill is a world renown musician, praised by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma as "one of the greats in modern Celtic Music."

The Clayton Historical Association is proud to present an afternoon of Bill’s music, with a cultural event entitled Tarheel Tales and Tunes, to be held at The Clayton Center, located at 111 East 2nd Street, in historic downtown Clayton, NC on June 1, 2008 at 3pm.

This special event will include selections from Bill’s recently finished album titled Blue Ridge Reunion – a CD and companion book project available this fall. For this project, Bill revisited his late father’s favorite mountain vistas that inspired his father’s watercolors. Bill drew musical inspiration from these same vistas for his new songs. The companion book will feature the late William Leslie’s Blue Ridge paintings, along with Bill’s narratives.

Tickets for this event are $15 (General Admission), $10 (CHA members), and $8 (Children under 12) and are available at the Clayton Center box office at (919) 553-1737, online at, or by contacting the Clayton Historical Association at

Proceeds from this event go to the Clayton Historical Association (CHA). The mission of the CHA is to preserve and share the history of Clayton and to recognize and preserve the historic properties of Clayton. The Clayton Historical Association is funded in part by the Town of Clayton Cultural Arts Fund. To find out more about the CHA, visit them on the web.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Town Council Supports Mural for The Clayton Center

The Town Council will likely approve a mural installation inside The Clayton Center on a second floor wall. The artist, Dorothy Demboski of Clayton, proposed the idea to the Council at their April 21 meeting. The mural (left) depicts scenes and symbols found in Clayton. Mayor Jody McLeod said the artwork is a "great interpretation of Clayton" and that, "a local artist doing local work is a good draw." Councilman Bob Ahlert said the mural is "a worthwhile endeavor" and supported a request for $4000 toward the $10,000 project. Other funds will come from the Clayton Visual Arts and the artist will sell "shares" in the work. The work will begin soon after the Council officially approves the request on May 5.

Organizational Meeting for Clayton Farmer’s Market Scheduled Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 pm

An organizational meeting will be held for Clayton residents interested in creating and promoting a Farmer’s Market in downtown Clayton. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:00 PM on Thursday, April 24 at the Clayton Center, located at 111 E Second Street in Room GS-223.

“The DDA is responding to numerous requests to have a farmers market in downtown Clayton,” said Joyce Blackley, Chair of the Clayton Downtown Development Association. “We are hoping to bring a group of citizens together who are interested in organizing and managing a farmers market once or twice a week in downtown.”

Last year, 80 residents, business and property owners from throughout Clayton developed “Downtown Clayton: Vision 2012” a vision statement for downtown Clayton. An open-air or farmers market is in that vision and was near the top of the list of things the public would like to have available in downtown Clayton.

“A farmer’s market will provide an opportunity for individuals to sell what they’ve produced locally. Things that may be available could range from organic produce and homemade baked goods to pottery or other crafts,” according to Downtown Development Coordinator, Bruce Naegelen. He added that “the market would also benefit downtown businesses by giving people yet another reason to visit the downtown area.”

An existing downtown business, Lee’s Produce & Garden Center at 401 W Main Street already provides some of what a farmer’s market might offer, according to Leslie Hubbard, the vice chair of the DDA’s Economic Restructuring Committee. “Lee’s Produce is a true gem for Clayton residents who've discovered it. They carry a great variety of fresh produce as well as other North Carolina and Johnston County products, many that you just can’t find in the grocery stores.” She added that they offer fresh made butter and candies; home canned jams, jellies, relishes, tomatoes and pickles; frozen cooked collards and greens; pecans and peanuts; as well as an excellent choice of healthy flowers, shrubs, trees and hanging plants.

The meeting is being hosted by the Downtown Development Association. For more information please contact Bruce Naegelen at 553-1545 or via email at

Monday, April 21, 2008

Our Green Earth - Earth Day Celebration in Clayton

Saturday was the big day for celebrating and educating folks about conservation of so many of our natural resources. Eye of the Eagle Art, a downtown art consortium, organized the first Our Green Earth Day in the Town Square in downtown Clayton on Saturday. There were many organizations and groups there, including the Johnston County Agricultural Extension Service, Keep Johnston County Beautiful, and artists showing how to recycle our trash into art! I'm hoping to have some video from some of the booths here in the next day or so...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First Downtown Clayton Facade Grant Project Nearly Completed

Cider House Studio at 236 E Main Street in downtown Clayton has nearly completed their facade improvement - the first project utilizing the Town's Downtown Facade Improvement Grant program. The program reimburses an approved project 50% of the cost up to $5000. Owners Brandon and Holley Carpenter describe the improvements below...

The Downtown Facade Improvement Grant program is administered by the Clayton Downtown Development Association. A Fact Sheet of the program is available online at the Town of Clayton website.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Webster Falls Films Announces First Casting Call for Blaire’s Bridge Movie

The producers of the motion picture, Blaire's Bridge, will hold the first casting call for the film on Apr. 29, 30 and May 1, 2008 from 3-5 p.m. each day, at the Clayton Center in downtown Clayton.

The film will feature several parts in a wide variety of age groups ranging from high school to senior citizens. For details on the casting call process, visit and click on "Casting Call."

Blaire's Bridge will be filmed on location in Johnston County and Randolph County beginning in late September. The film's premier is scheduled at the Clayton Center on March 9, 2009 as a kick-off to the first annual Clayton Film Festival.

The movie is based on the novel written by the film's director. The book will be released in late May. More information about the film may be found on the website.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Wall Graphics" Ordinance Approved by Town Council

The Clayton Town Council Monday night added regulation of "Wall Graphics" to the Town's sign ordinance. The measure assures that artworks and other non-advertising graphics on commercial buildings will be regulated by a "Public Art Advisory Board" with the authority to hold them to a list of standards that include a size limit of 35 percent of the wall area.

Wall graphics will be permitted in all commercial zoning districts, and in O&I zones only by approval of the Town Council.

The Public Art Advisory Board is expected to be appointed later this month.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Organizational Meeting for Clayton Farmer’s Market

An organizational meeting will be held for Clayton residents interested in creating and promoting a Farmer’s Market in downtown Clayton. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:00 PM on Thursday, April 24 at the Clayton Center, located at 111 E Second Street in Room GS-223. The meeting is being hosted by the Downtown Development Association. For more information please contact Bruce Naegelen at 553-1545 or via email at

The Clayton Center: Standing Room Only for Chris Thile & Punch Brothers

Nickel Creek's mandolin phenom, Chris Thile, took time to pose for the camera after his Standing Room Only performance at The Clayton Center this Saturday. Thile is touring with his latest project, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile. The March 29 performance closed out The Clayton Center’s 2008-09 season. Next year’s lineup will be announced in August.

Pictured (L-R) is Sylvia Craig (Clayton Center event staff), Chris Thile and Heidi Stump (Executive Director)

Beginning & Intermediate Art Classes in Downtown Clayton

Eye of the Eagle Art Center

131 E First Street

Clayton, NC

Beginning Mondays, April 7, 2008 6 Sessions $90

Call Cheryl to Save your space Instructor: Cheryl McCardle

Phone: 919-550-4991 or 919-812-0557

Beginning & Intermediate Painting - Oil or Acrylic - all levels

Beginners will learn basic painting techniques in oils, acrylics, or other media. Instruction includes basics on design, color, and composition.