269 Oak Avenue  Spruce Pine  NC  28777
10:30AM to 5:00PM Tuesday – Saturday


Reception: Friday, April 26

Blacksmith lecture following the reception

This year marks Toe River Arts’ 13th year hosting the Annual Blacksmith Exhibit, which will be displayed from March 30 through April 27, 2019. Each year, the exhibit runs for the month prior to the Fire on the Mountain Festival, which is sponsored by Spruce Pine Main Street, Penland School of Crafts and Toe River Arts. The festival will be held on Saturday, April 27, 10am – 4pm in downtown Spruce Pine.

The monthlong Blacksmith Exhibit showcases blacksmith and metal worked art from around the nation and offers the public an opportunity to learn more about the smiths and their craft.

Toe River Arts Executive Director Nealy Andrews said, “For over a decade, Toe River Arts has showcased the art of blacksmithing to the wider community. This year’s selection of metal work promises to be just as impressive and diverse as in years past, and we’re looking forward to presenting pieces from the most talented blacksmiths from across the nation during this special annual event.”

 A public reception will be held on Friday, April 26 from 5:00-7:00 p.m., offering the opportunity to share a slice, lift a pint, and get to know the blacksmiths who are showing work in the exhibit and participating in the Festival.  Participating blacksmiths are eligible to win $2,500 in cash prizes—$1,000 best in show, $600 most outstanding nonfunctional, $600 most outstanding functional, $300 emerging artist award and the People’s Choice Award is a handmade piece by Seth Gould. Awards will be announced at 6:30 during the reception.

Following the reception, at 7:00 pm, this year’s master blacksmith, John Rais, from Philadelphia, Pa, will hold a public lecture and presentation in Toe River Arts’ ARC Center. Rais, who earned his BFA in Sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, has operated his studio business since 1998. He designs and creates one of a kind furniture, sculpture, and architectural metal art and has had solo and group shows at Purchase College, The National Metals Museum, and Massimo Bizzocchi NYC, among others. His work is featured in numerous publications, including a cover article in Metalsmith Magazine. In 2012, John installed a large series of decorative panels for the main staircase at Yale University Art Galleries for the museum’s permanent collection. Most recently, John Rais Studios designed nearly all of the metalwork for a massive renovation project for a famous Addison Mizner Home in Palm Beach, Florida.

“Both the Blacksmith Exhibit and the Fire on the Mountain Festival bring to life the rich history of our region and country and celebrate the art of blacksmithing. We’re proud that Spruce Pine is the premier destination for highlighting this craft and all of the wonderful artists involved with it,” said Libby Phillips, Executive Director of Spruce Pine Main Street.

For more information, call (828) 765-0520 or visit www.toeriverarts.org. Gallery hours are 10:30 am – 5:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about the Fire on the Mountain Festival, visit www.downtownsprucepine.com.



Toe River Arts is a non-profit organization founded in 1976 to promote the arts in Mitchell and Yancey Counties. The organization is funded in part by a Grassroots Art Grant through the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; both Mitchell and Yancey County Schools; and the Yancey County Community Fund. For more information about the educational arts programs Toe River Arts offers, visit www.toeriverarts.org or call 828-682-7215.

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