City News

Entries for April 2012

Statesville City Hall will show off its newly renovated lobby during the April 20 Art Crawl with a special exhibit of paintings by Statesville native Robert Gantt Steele.

In 1995, Steele painted more than 20 paintings depicting the history of Statesville. The paintings were sold at auction and the proceeds were used to purchase, move and restore the Statesville depot, which was set to be torn down.

As many as 13 of these paintings and other Statesville paintings by Steele will be on display this Friday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the first floor of City Hall.

“We are extremely grateful to the owners of the paintings for loaning them to us for this occasion,” said Statesville Mayor Kutteh. “The sampling we have gathered is going to be spectacular. And the venue in which we showcase them is magnificent as well.”

Steele, who is part of the family-owned business J.C. Steele & Sons, grew up in Statesville and was trained as an architect at NCSU and at the University of California, Berkeley. He studied art in Austria as a Fulbright scholar and is now a renowned artist living in California. He has never forgotten his roots, assisting the fundraising efforts of the Statesville depot and Fort Dobbs preservation campaigns by donating paintings from which prints were made and sold.
Steele is unable to attend the event, but was in town recently to visit with friends and family.

He stopped by City Hall and toured the building with Kutteh and City Council member Roy West. West owns Steele’s painting of J.C.’s Toot’n Tellum drive-in which is part of the exhibit.
“I think it’s a perfect match – historic building, historic-themed paintings, hometown artist – I hope it’s the first of many events we can host in City Hall,” said West.

Although all of the original paintings will not be on display, prints of them, along with the narratives Steele wrote about each painting, have been framed and will be part of the exhibit. These prints will be on sale through GG’s Art Frames Gifts in Downtown Statesville.

City Hall is just one of the dozens of venues hosting as many as 80 artists for the April 20 Art Crawl. It is self-guided and attendees can begin at any location. Sidewalk markers will indicate a participating business and a program guide is available at all locations.

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Even though there are no Statesville City Council elections on the ballot, please vote!

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The Statesville Greenway system has its own website. Check it out!

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Action comes after months of investigation into the future of the historic downtown building

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Nancy Davis
Public Affairs Director
email Nancy