ASHEVILLE NC – The Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University is presenting an exhibition of images of the Great Smoky Mountains that in turn helped inspire the creation of the nation’s most visited national park.
Through June 30, the museum will display “Vision and Vistas: Great Smoky Mountains,” with collected photos from the pre-park period by a veritable who’s-who of early 20th-century regional photographers, such as professionals like George Masa, Jim Thompson and George Grant, and accomplished amateurs like Herbert Pelton and Nace Brock. Pencil drawings by Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees Irving Fromer, J.D. Chaffin and Alan Youngblood also are on display.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934 and formally dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The 530,000-acre park is located in Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, receiving as many as 10 million visitors annually.
This is the centennial year for the National Park Service. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior to maintain parks and monuments. In celebration of that milestone, the National Park Service has launched an initiative to promote community connections to public lands, natural resources and cultural heritage.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, with extended hours on Thursdays to 7 p.m. Admission and parking are free. To learn more, go to fineartmuseum.wcu.edu or call 828-227-3591.