Board of Directors

Fiscal Year 2019

Kathryn Ervin (President)
Freelance Artist

Hannah Thrower (Vice President, Treasurer)
Arts Educator, freelance Artist

Kirksey Lowther (Secretary)
Arts Educator, freelance Artist

Kara Jones
Arts Educator, freelance Artist

Michael Berley, PLA
Project Designer, City of Morganton

Melinda Davis, Ph.D.
Educational consultant

Laura McNeely, M.Ed, CPXP
Director, Patient Experience, Carolina Healthcare System



Kathryn Ervin
Co-Founder and Studio Director                                                                                                                                      

Kathryn has spent the last six years investigating the technical and conceptual terms of the visual arts. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from East Carolina University in 2014 with a degree in painting and drawing, Ervin has been teaching art, exhibiting work, and building a nonprofit art advocacy studio in her hometown of Morganton, NC.  Her visual portfolio encompasses interdisciplinary projects that include digital, sculptural, and 2 dimensional media that have been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the Carolinas. 

Her desire for each new project--whether it is in the studio, working with students, or instigating social collaborations-- is to further cultivate the practice of thinking deeply and live fully. She is privileged to encourage others to do the same.

Hannah Thrower
Studio Director         

Hannah graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Art Education k-12 and has 5 years of teaching experience. This year Hannah will be acting as the art instructor at New Dimensions Charter School as well as leading the after school program at TOSS with Kirksey. In her free time she loves to paint, draw, and sculpt and also loves being active through outlets such as hiking, running, and lifting.  Favorite quote? “The mind, once stretched by new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kirksey Lowther
Co-Founder and Studio Director                                                                                                                                    

Kirksey Lowther is an artist and educator, born and raised in Morganton, NC. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor degree in Art Education and she has studied and taught in various art programs in Scotland, and Western North Carolina. She loves crafting the space for big imaginations: For those small hands, and minds hard at work, and for finished masterpieces with proud presenters and wide eyed smiles. Kirksey’s studio practice incorporates primarily 2D works with pen ink, and watercolor. Her works often mirror the outside world: Tight organic lines, the surprise under the veil of a blossom...these are the things that spark her inspiration.

Promoting the Arts in Downtown Morganton

Burke Arts Council enriches the quality of life in Burke County through cultural and artistic activities. They seek to coordinate arts activities in the community, and serve as an information and resource center for the arts. We seek to coordinate arts activities, promote local artists, and arts organizations.

Sketch Art Space is a fine arts studio in Downtown Morganton, North Carolina for kids and families. They offer group and private classes, workshops, open studio time, and camps. Artists explore many different visual art materials and techniques, and discover new ways of using them.

Susan McRae started sewing her own doll clothes at an early age and quickly learned to embroider, crochet and knit; in 1970 she began weaving. She was able to fulfill her life-long dream of opening her own shop in 2013 and is now able to pursue and share these interests full time. 

Hamilton Williams After many years making pots on the outskirts of the adjacent town of Valdese, Hamilton wanted to take part in the burgeoning revitalization of Morganton's downtown area. Several month's of searching found an old brick building with warehouse space and two store fronts. As the renovation of the building rolled forward, it soon became clear that the building's store fronts were the best place to display pottery created in the studio while also providing an excellent venue for other talented regional artisans and artists to show their work as well.

Frances Hairfield For over thirty years, Frances Hairfield has dedicated her artistic career to the time honored traditions of oil painting and drawing. She makes her home in Western North Carolina, where she divides her creative life between her family’s mountain homestead and her idyllic Victorian home and studio in the foothills. Whether painting the region’s majestic natural attractions through Plein air painting or referencing local textiles and crafts in still life painting, Hairfield’s art mirrors her local environment and its diverse culture and heritage.

West Union Studios is a group studio featuring six ceramic artists with our own gallery to showcase our artists' work. WUAS overriding theme is to create an opportunity for artists in and around Morganton to have the studio space, support and publicity to get their work into galleries across the U.S. and to sustain a creative career.