Kick up your heels at “The Burnsville Glass Gateways Fundraiser” on Sunday, September 17 from 6 to 8:00 pm at the Burnsville Town Center. Tickets are $50 and available at a variety of locations, including the Burnsville Toe River Arts Council Gallery and the Yancey Chamber of Commerce.

Project coordinator and public artist Jack Mackie will join with local glassblowers Rob Levin, Kenny Pieper, David Wilson, Hayden Wilson, Loretta Forde, Courtney Dodd and Nick Fruin to talk about the progress. Dinner and drinks will be catered by Pig N’ Grits, with entertainment throughout the evening provided by Debbie Phillips and the five-piece, 42nd Street Band.


The Burnsville Glass Gateways is a key part of the Burnsville component of the North Carolina Arts Council’s SmART Initiative, which focuses on arts-driven economic development strategies to build strong economies and communities.  In early 2016 local glass artists began making the thousands of glass objects at Penland School of Crafts for Burnsville’s new Public Art Project.  The glass objects will be featured inside large telescope-like structures made of glass and steel anchoring both the West and East entrances into Burnsville. Recent funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and North Carolina Arts Council along with local funds will make the first telescope possible.

Nationally known Public Artist/Planner, Jack Mackie, designed the town’s gateways.  Jack was hired by Burnsville and Toe River Arts Council in 2014 as a part of a North Carolina Arts Council smART Initiative to support communities through their creative economy efforts. Ever since he has been working closely with NC Arts Council, NC DOT, the Town, and community in developing the concepts for this project that will tell the story of Burnsville and reveal its treasured inventiveness, artistic heritage, rural mountain setting, and vision. 

The handmade glass objects will be placed into metal wire-mesh baskets, which will then be wrapped around tall steel cylinders to give the sculptures their distinct telescope look. They will be solar powered to showcase the colors reflecting sunrise for the East entrance, and sunset for the West.

The artistic telescopes will signify this amazing arts community, the dark sky designation, and our ability now to view the night sky with the completion of Mayland Earth to Sky Park and Bare Dark Sky Observatory.

Check Explore Burnsville for information.

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