Artists from the High Country, the Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina and nearby states are constantly featured in High Country galleries. During summer, two of the many galleries come alive with local and regional abstract and contemporary paintings.

Carlton Gallery owner Toni Carlton is looking forward to hosting the gallery’s spring group exhibition and mid-summer group exhibitions throughout the summer. The gallery is open for its 37th year, and Carlton knows what she’s looking for in fine art, handmade crafts and creations varying from traditional to contemporary.

The gallery’s spring group exhibition — “New Beginnings with Jewels of Art” — will run from May 25 through July 15 with an artists’ reception from 2 to 5 p.m. on May 25.

Artists Trena McNabb, Laura Hughes, Debbie Arnold, Egidio Antonaccio, Arlene Mandell and Marion Cloaninger vary styles and subject matter, and all of them will be featured in “New Beginnings with Jewels of Art.” Additionally, the gallery will feature Mary Kamerer, Karin Neuvirth, Ralph James and Allison Chambers during this time.

The mid-summer group exhibition “Edge of Brilliance by Evolution,” will show work by Andrew Braitman. The exhibition will hold an opening reception from 2-5 p.m. on July 27.

“Braitman renders the landscape abstractly using a dazzling color palette. … His contemporary approach to applying paints and textures is masterful,” Carlton said.

Carlton Gallery is located at 10360 Highway 105 S in the Grandfather Mountain community.

Visit for more information on weekly painting workshops beginning May 28. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Mountain Blue Gallery in Banner Elk has a jam-packed summer schedule as well, featuring workshops, new exhibits and artist receptions.

In its second year, gallery owner and encaustic artist Page Smoak is fulfilling a dream of owning her own gallery — which she said was packed during its opening weekend.

Now, Smoak jokes that the gallery has helped her improve her tour guide abilities, along with gallery assistant Brandon’s. Smoak said visitors will often come in to the gallery and ask how to get to the Grandfather Mountain ladders, where to go hiking and where to eat in Banner Elk.

That local feeling is something that Smoak cultivates in her own gallery. Mountain Blue Gallery artwork tends to emphasize local and regional artists.

Smoak has filled her gallery with bright, colorful contemporary paintings during the warmer months, featuring works from Vicci Waits, Brian Hester, Cindy McEnery, Bethany Jewell, Steven Page Prewitt, Sharon Saseen and Jim Magruder.

For a full list of Mountain Blue Gallery’s summer workshops and artist receptions, visit

Mountain Blue Gallery is located at 151 Shawneehaw Ave. S. in Banner Elk. For more information about the gallery, visit the website or call (828) 898-4477.

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