The Art of Giving

holiday-rgbEach holiday season the members of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts transform the gallery to showcase original ornaments and hand-made gifts. The gallery’s 21 members work in a variety of media, providing a wide array of art and fine craft for holiday shoppers.

The glass art includes hand-blown vessels, ornaments, solar lights, paperweights, and jewelry. Fiber art on display includes framed collage quilts and hand dyed stitched cloth, knitted scarves; and fabric handbags. The jewelry in the show covers a variety of styles and techniques, from copper and bronze to sterling and fine silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings, some with gold accents and stones.  Visitors will also find metal sculpture, pottery, turned wood, enamels, and carved ironwood with turquoise and silver inlay. Fine art photography, oil and acrylic painting, encaustics, scratchboard, and mixed media work festively surround the three dimensional pieces on pedestals.

Explore the wonderful art exhibited at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts to find a special gift for that special person.

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Colorful Language

Michele Yellin
Several of the paintings that I created for this year’s featured artist exhibit carry a secret inside of them.They are filled with colorful language. By that I don’t mean that I have painted curse words all over them, although at times I am tempted, but rather, I have first written a phrase in paint on the surface of the canvas.This is a good way for me to get a painting going. It provides a  structure for the painting, and an interesting or profound thought to keep in mind throughout the arduous process of creating.
 Michele writing
In the painting Giving Up On Being Perfect, this is what is written in the underpainting:
“The thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” by Anna Quindlen.
After I paint the phrase, I fill in the rest of the surface with lots of color creating an abstract
painting that eventually obliterates the words. Hopefully I have taken the time to write the phrase on the stretcher boards on the back of the painting, because if I am lucky, the title of the painting will come from that phrase and be perfectly appropriate.
 Michele underpainting
The next step for me is to look at the abstracted painting, and discover what images are hidden in the paint and texture.Using line and color, I will start to define what I see in the paint. Bit by bit, I will add to the painting until the composition is complete.
While I don’t create every piece this way, I use many of the same practices when I am creating art. Color says the things that I can not find the words to say. It is its own language.
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ART from shows

It’s all about the story

Story postcard RGB

It’s All About The Story at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts

In the three novellas that make up “Local Souls,” Allan Gurganus brings to life the complicated relationships of people who are as dark and colorful as the North Carolina town they inhabit. The artists of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts depict these stories of survival, betrayal, love, longing, and liberation through visual imagery in paintings, photography, metal, fiber, glass, ceramics, and wood. It is a show for all those who appreciate Southern fiction and local art.

About the author:
Allan Gurganus is an American short story writer, essayist, and novelist best known for his ground breaking debut novel, “Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All,” which has sold over four million copies. Educated at Sarah Lawrence and The University of Iowa, he has taught at Sarah Lawrence, The Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and both Stanford and Duke Universities. Among his prizes are an Ingram Merrill Award and a 2006 Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in Hillsborough, NC.

Opening Reception

February 26


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What I came here for

Michele Yellin


What I Came Here For was not the first name Arianna Bara, Chris Burniside and I decided on for our Featured Artist Exhibit. In fact, we were pretty committed to our first title, until we found out it was too long (and also, perhaps, slightly too boring). It wasn’t until we met for the third time over cups of coffee and Arianna shared the poem A Morning Offering by John O’Donohue that it was obvious what our exhibit should be called. It comes from the last stanza of the poem and is as follows:

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

There are so many beautiful phrases in this poem, but the line “To do at last, what I came here for” resonated profoundly with all of us. I think that it probably rings a bell with everyone. Why are we here? We have been given this great gift of life. Are we wasting it? Are we doing the things we are meant to do? For Arianna, Chris and me, this exhibit of our work is tangible evidence that we are doing the things we were born to do.


When I am in the middle of working on  a painting, and struggling to solve the puzzle of it, I am often filled with angst and despair. It seems as if I will never get it figured out. I have to remind myself over and over to have faith in the process. No matter how many pieces of art I create, I never feel like it comes easily. It feels just as likely that I will fail in my effort to create something beautiful, something joy-filled, than succeed. And yet, and yet, and yet…as many times as I have considered quitting, I continue to plod on. And then, all at once it seems, I successfully complete a piece of art! And then another! And another! I am doing what I came here for!

And now, if I only I could waste my heart on fear no more….


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what I came here for

April postcard RGBPlease join us

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Deadline Sept. 15 !

HGA ImageResolutions 2015

Calling all North Carolina Artists!

The deadline to enter your artwork in the inaugural Hillsborough Gallery of Arts juried art show, Resolutions 2015, is September 15th.  North Carolina artists 18 and over working in 2D an 3D media are encouraged to apply.

The show will display in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts featured exhibit gallery from January 5th through 25th of January 2015. An opening reception will be Friday, January 9th from 6-9 pm.

Awards juror for Resolutions 2015 will be Timothy Riggs, the Curator of Collections at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, NC.

This is an opportunity to share your work in an established and welcoming gallery and connect with new collectors and fellow artists.

Complete prospectus and application can be found at 

Artists can also find a link from our website,

it’s all about the story



In “It’s All About the Story,” local gallery presents second annual exhibit of art inspired by the work of a local writer. Feb. 24 – March 23. Opening reception February 28th, 6-9 pm. Reading by the author March 2nd 2-4 pm..

The members of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts are presenting the second annual “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STORY” show, celebrating a local author. This year they have selected award-winning Hillsborough writer Jill McCorkle to be their muse.

For It’s All About the Story, gallery members have created art inspired by McCorkle’s 2009 short story collection “Going Away Shoes,” published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

“In honeymoon shoes, mud-covered hunting boots, or glass slippers, all of the women in these stories march to a place of new awareness, in one way or another, transforming their lives. They make mistakes, but they don’t waste time hiding behind them. They move on. They are strong. And they’re funny, even when they are sad.”

“Jill’s writing is quite visual,” says painter Chris Graebner “however, I’ve chosen to paint my response to the emotions in her story, Surrender, instead of illustrating the plot. I’ve read the story many times and it always makes me tearful. The Nursing Chair is my interpretation of the need to nurture and the need to be nurtured that the grandmother, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in the story are dealing with.”

Fabric artist Alice Levinson says of her work “the written word often provides the initial impetus for my artwork. And so it was with the works I’ve produced in response to Jill McCorkle’s volume of stories. Each piece is built on a base embedded with text from a story. This verbal motif provides the context and subtext for the cloth construction, as well as determining my method of working the cloth in the piece in question.”

Levinson has produced two pieces for the show. The first, Read Between the Lines, “is built of layer upon layer stitched down and then cut back to reveal in a reverse appliqué  method. The theme of constriction, and repression of underlying feelings and unspoken wishes which I felt in many of the stories inspired this way of working. The overall book-like form is a visual homage to the author and her work.”

A second piece, Thirty Odd Years, was inspired by McCorkle’s story Driving to the Moon, a narrative of the arc of a relationship over the course of thirty years. Says Levinson “the text I choose describes each phase. I chose to build this piece of organza, fragile, transparent. I sculpted the fabric into soft undulating folds, stitching by hand throughout. In this manner I built the piece gradually, incrementally, as a relationship evolves between two people, day by day, word by word, promise by promise, from hopes to reality. Little in life between two people is linear, hence the mandala motif.”

Sculptor Lynn Wartski was also inspired by Driving to the Moon. Her piece, Driving in Reverse, is a mixed media art doll. “The story simultaneously looked forward to a trip, and backwards in the life of the main character …  It highlighted individuals, like an old boyfriend, and objects, like an old car, that may serve as major mileposts in one’s life.  My figure “Driving in Reverse” is driving ahead while keeping one eye on her rear view.  She is keenly aware of time passing in her head, and seems to have something locked up in her heart.”

Jill McCorkle will be reading from her stories at a reception for the author on Sunday, March 2nd from 2 – 4pm at the Gallery.

About Jill McCorkle

Jill Collins McCorkle is an American short story writer and novelist. She graduated from University of North Carolina in 1980, where she studied with Max Steele, Lee Smith, and Louis D. Rubin – and from Hollins College with an MA. She has been awarded the  Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, the North Carolina Award for Literature and the New England Booksellers Award.

Opening Reception

Feb 28


121 N Churton St