Art for the Garden
Local artist Diane McPhail

In celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Highlands Biological Station, a unique project involving the intersection of art and science has been quietly taking place at the station, which now includes the Nature Center and the Botanical Gardens.

 A conversation between artist Rosemary Stiefel and Jim Costa, Director of HBS, led to musings about the sometimes overlooked relationship of these two fields and ideas for a collaboration between artists of all fields and the station.

Every Wednesday since May, individuals exploring the garden have happened upon various artists at work – painters, poets, photographers, writers, even musicians, producing diverse work inspired by the Botanical Garden, its environs, and the history of nature-related works produced in the past. More than 20 artists have participated in the garden itself and in the studio, inspired by their time in the garden.

Simultaneously, a core group of artists with long-standing professional and personal bonds began meeting for critique and inspiration, calling themselves The Art Group – TAG for short. Deriving energy from this group, Leslie Jeffrey and Mary Lou Bilbro are now opening a new gallery to serve the needs of the artists and the art-loving public of the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau. Inviting, spacious, and imbued with excellent natural light, The Carolina Gallery of Fine Art will be located on the upper level of Mountain Brook Center. There is ample parking available off Carolina Way. 

The opening for the gallery on September 30 will be the exciting result of this summer’s project, “Where Art and Science Meet.” In addition to traditional painting and drawing, there will be a wonderful variety of forms and media – photography by Kevin Fitzpatrick, who has worked with National Geographic; ceramics from Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor; and Charles Gandy – get ready for knitted birds’ nests unlike anything you have seen before!

“The Garden: Where Art and Science Meet” opens at The Carolina Gallery of Fine Art, Suite 12, 411 North Fourth Street in Highlands on Saturday, September 30, from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. For further information, call (828) 526 3705.