Friday, April 29, 2011

Clayton High School Student Art Show at The Clayton Center in May

Thirty to 40 Clayton High School art students will exhibit their art in May in a show sponsored by Clayton Visual Arts.

The show at The Clayton Center will have pieces from young artists in grades 10 through 12. Their art teachers are Jane Roberts and Crystal Seagroves.

The work will encompass a variety of media—acrylics, watercolor, color pencil, ink, oil pastels, graphics, paper mosaic and mixed media.

Subject matter will vary from self-portraits to abstracts, graphic design, architectural painting, radial designs and illuminated letters.

This year, photographer Sue Mitchner of Zoom-In Photography donated time to take photographs throughout Clayton that she gave to the art classes for students to paint from. These works will be a highlight of the show for townspeople.

Mitchner also invited Roberts’ students to a studio sitting, and they used those photographs to paint self-portraits.

In the fall, students worked with artist Allen Montague and learned how to paint an iris and a window box.

Several students have participated in previous student art shows, including the Woman’s Club arts and crafts exhibit in January and last year’s CHS art show in May 2010.

A free, meet-the-young-artists reception will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5, in the lobby of The Clayton Center, sponsored by Clayton Visual Arts. Light refreshments will be served—cookies, fruit, cheese and punch.

Everyone is invited, adults and young people alike.

The student show will run May 3-31 and also is free and open to the public. The center is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Unplugged" Musician Profile

Taylor Leopold

The 16-year old singer-songwriter picked up the guitar for the first time when she was 10 years old. She has written dozens of songs over the past few years and is now working towards releasing them on a self-published album, with an expected release date in late 2011. She was the 2010 Clayton Idol winner this past fall at the Harvest Festival, sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.  This is a good opportunity to spotlight this up and coming singer-songwriter and provide a new audience.

Scott Dameron & Jay Ladd V

Scott Dameron and Jay Ladd fall comfortably in the mold of the new “singer/songwriter”. Accomplished musicians, singers, and lyricists, their sound is a mixture of new/fast-folk, americana, pop, and any other trendy genre that includes acoustic-based, thoughtfully written, and melody-driven music. Jay Ladd’s dynamic and emotive voice, as well as his stylish keyboard playing, perfectly seams and connects with Scott Dameron’s acoustic guitar, which can be rhythmic and percussive, but also melodic and soulful.

Kathy Hinton Nixon

Kathi Hinton Nixon is a local singer/songwriter with a love for bluegrass and Americana music. In 1994, she and her sister Kellie Hinton produced a CD with a majority of the songs written by Kathi. She performs locally, sometimes accompanied by other musicians. Kathi performed at the 2010 Millstock Music and Art Faire.

Ironing Board Sam

A truly gifted and engaging performer, Sam’s powerful, soulful voice and remarkable piano prowess remain undiminished. In fact, he believes that he’s only getting better with age. “This is the time when in my life it seems to be that I’m at my best because I know more on how to write music, know more how to play it, know more how to get it to the audience, know more about everything. I’m 70 years old. It took this time, you know.” -Ironing Board Sam -

Mr. Mustard

Mister Mustard pays tribute to influences like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elton John, CCR, The Band, etc., but also serves up a plateful of hot, spicy new material. All four sing lead and harmony, play a variety of instruments, and write. Mister Mustard's gigs are remarkable mostly because they're just fun - Harry, Rick, Mark and Kevin really are good buddies, and they revel in sharing good music with their friends. The onstage camaraderie and chemistry of Mister Mustard is contagious!

Large Crowd Helps Dedicate "Horne Square"

Several dozen residents crowded into the center of downtown Tuesday for the official dedication of the new "Horne Square."

Mayor Jody McLeod, who teamed with Town Manager Steve Biggs to lead a years-long effort to turn the vacant lot at the corner of Main and Lombard Streets into a downtown "centerpiece," said the new downtown plaza "is a dream come true after such a long time."

"I know people wondered if this would ever be anything but an old, dusty parking lot," the Mayor said. "I'm thrilled to be here today with all of you at the official dedication of this wonderful new downtown square where that dusty parking lot once stood. It's a great day in Clayton."

The tree-covered sanctuary with beautiful sidewalks, benches, greenery and design, has earned the praise of residents all over town, including downtown business owners. Town officials recently settled on the name ”Horne Square” in memory of the old Ashley Horne mansion, which once stood on the site. Granite from the old home was used in construction of the new Square, which is expected to become a popular meeting place, as well as a home for downtown activities. The town already offers free wireless internet service there.

The Mayor joined with Ashley Grady of G2 Design, who helped design the new Square, to unveil a temporary placque proclaiming the site "Horne Square," while town officials and the crowd looked on.

Biggs said the new Square should be a huge boost to efforts to revitalize downtown.

The enthusiasm and size of the crowd that assembled for the dedication is indicative of the community spirit here, he said.

"It's one of the things I like most about Clayton, that the people here care, that they come out in the middle of the day to share in an event like this," he said.

The new Horne Square includes 30 premium parking spaces. The $300,000 project is being funded through a $310,000 easement fee for a communications tower at the Operations Center property.

For a look a photos from the dedication ceremony, please visit the town's Facebook site at Town of Clayton, NC

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Video Clips from the Horne Square Dedication

Here are some video clips from today's dedication of Horne Square at Lombard & Main:

Mayor Jody McLeod's comments

Town Manager Steve Biggs comments

Unveiling of temporary sign

Beautiful Day for Horne Square Dedication

Town Council Dedicates Horne Square at Lombard & Main!
In photo, from left to right: Councilmen Butch Lawter, Bob Satterfield, Mayor Jody McLeod. Landscape architect Ashley Grady, G2 Design; Town Manager Steve Biggs, Councilmen Michael Grannis & Art Holder. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

“Horne Square” Dedication Tomorrow (4/26) at Noon

(photo by Heidi Wood)

The Town of Clayton will dedicate the new public space at the corner of Lombard & Main Streets at noon tomorrow (April 26). The public is invited and refreshments will be available.

Mayor Jody McLeod will offer remarks and recognize those involved in the development of the project, which transformed a long-time vacant lot used for parking into a tree-covered sanctuary for downtown visitors with beautiful sidewalks, benches, greenery and design.

The Town Council recently voted to designate the space as ”Horne Square” to commemorate the old Ashley Horne mansion which once stood there. Horne was a prominent citizen with an impressive residence on the most visible corner in town.

The downtown "centerpiece," which includes 30 premium parking spaces, was championed over the last few years by the Mayor and Town Council as a way to help with downtown revitalization.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Clayton is Having Fireworks on July 4th Again

Yea! Clayton is having fireworks on the 4th this year!

After taking fireworks out of last year's Independence Day celebration due to the economic downturn, the Town Council agreed Monday night to shift enough money from a parks study to buy $18,000 worth of fireworks for this year's celebration.

Town Manager Steve Biggs said the parks study can go forward next year.

"We're all 100 percent behind it," said Councilman Art Holder.

Councilman Bob Satterfield said the July 4 celebration is important as a "morale booster" for a community weary from several years of economic hardship.

Last year's cancellation of fireworks was a huge disappointment to a large number of residents. Many said it painfully underscored the hardship they were already enduring.

"But, we're not in that place anymore," said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Grannis.

Increasing revenues is a welcome change from last year when leaders had to slash the town budget for the third year in a row and lay off employees for the first time in town history.

Clayton has traditionally held the largest July 4 celebration in the area, attracting thousands of area residents with live music, games, events for youngsters, contests, traditional summer foods and the area's biggest fireworks display. Donations pay for part of the cost, but the town usually provides the fireworks. That didn't happen last year after Biggs reported that the town was "financially stressed."

Friday, April 08, 2011

Music, food mix at third Farmer's Market opening

HOLLY LOCK• 04.06.2011
Clayton News Star
The Clayton Farm and Community Market kicked off its third year on the Town Square Saturday with live music by the Tailgaters Band and a dance performance by DPM Dance Studio. Approximately 15 vendors were present selling locally grown and produced goods.

Tina Bolick of Skylines Restaurant was sampling her homemade brown sugar chess pie. "This pie was made with fresh eggs from Darlene Wood [of Wood Family Farm]," she said.

"We would like to see local businesses getting active in supporting our area farmers."  (full article)

Monday, April 04, 2011

April 5 Horne Square Dedication Postponed Due to Weather

Due to the storm that is forecasted for Monday night and Tuesday into the afternoon, the dedication of the new Horne Square at Lombard and Main Street, that was scheduled for April 5 at 12:00 pm, has been postponed.

A new date will be announced in the next several days.

Please visit the Town of Clayton website, or the Downtown Clayton website, for updates.


Back by Popular Demand, In April, NC’s first state icon and renowned pianist, Jimmy Aycock returns to The Clayton Center. Jimmy Aycock will perform a Concert entitled Timeless Tunes at The Clayton Center on Sunday, April, 10th, at 3:00 p.m. This concert benefits the Clayton Historical Association.

Mr. Aycock has had a notable career as an educator in the North Carolina public school system (including Johnston County) that spans 40 years, touching the lives of over 40,000 students with music. His career as a pianist and composer spans an impressive 50 years. Jimmy Aycock’s lifelong commitment to music and education was rewarded when he achieved the honor of becoming North Carolina’s first state icon.

A variety of musical styles will be featured in this concert, ranging from music across the decades of the 20th century, Broadway, classical, sacred, country and jazz . This program has something for every musical taste.

Joining him on stage throughout the concert will be three vocalists to carry the audience through this exciting journey.

Carol-Ann Tucker, native daughter of Duplin County. Carol-Ann has engaged in various musical venues over the years, from big bands and summer theatre, to recording and entertaining with Jimmy for over 40 years. She will take the audience through the decades of the 20th century, a little country and Broadway.

Carolyn Green Myers is a well respected faculty member at East Carolina University, School of Music and has engaged in musical theatre and is a frequent vocalist with the Atlanta Symphony. She is the director of the Greenville Youth Chorale. She will be performing the classical and sacred section of the program.

Laura Didier, a resident of Goldsboro. Laura sings and tours nationally with the Jim Martinez Trio. She is known for her show providing a Doris Day Tribute. As one who performs as a jazz artist, this will be her venue.

Tickets for the April 10th Aycock concert are $10 (General Admission), plus a $1.00 service fee. Tickets are available at The Clayton Center Box Office(located at 111 E. Second Street in downtown Clayton), by phone at 919-553-1737, and online at

Proceeds from this event benefit 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, North Carolina. For more information, contact

"Drop-In" Comment Sessions for Johnston County Comprehensive Transportation Plan

Citizen input is needed for the Transportation Plan for Johnston County. Regional “drop-in sessions” are being held for the Johnston County Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP). The purpose of these sessions is to promote public awareness and participation, and to receive feedback on transportation improvements for Johnston County and its Towns.

Each “drop-in session” will feature the same information and will be held on the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, April 12, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Town of Benson Conference Center
303 E. Church Street (backside of Town Hall)

Tuesday, April 26, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Town of Clayton Council Chambers
111 E. 2nd Street, Clayton (Town Hall)

Tuesday, May 3, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Johnston County Agricultural Center
2736 NC HWY 210, Smithfield

For more information on the plan, please visit or contact Sarah Lee.

The “drop-in sessions” are open meetings and citizen participation is most wanted. Citizens may attend the session that is convenient in location and/or meeting date.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Congrats to Scotty McCreery - Top 10 American Idol Contestant - 2010 Performance in Clayton

Before he became an American Idol, Scotty McCreery, from Garner, NC (next door to Clayton, NC!) was crowned the 2009 Clayton Idol, during the Clayton Harvest Festival. In September 2010, he returned to the Clayton Idol stage just before the 2010 winner, Taylor Leopold, was announced. Here's a clip from his performance in downtown Clayton last year.