NCCU donates cash, gallery space to art project

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015

An art program at a local elementary school has picked up a new sponsor, as well as a place to display the students’ work.

The Cloudland Youth Art Initiative was created in 2013 by Roan Mountain resident Mike Hill to help provide art classes to students in the the community.

Now Northeast Community Credit Union has joined forces with the program.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

During his spare time away from running his business and serving as a County Commissioner for the second district, Hill volunteers as an art teacher at Cloudland Elementary.

NCCU recently selected Hill to receive a Helping Teachers Teach grant for $300 to help support the art program.

“The grant money will make it possible to repair and refurbish a ceramics kiln that was donated to the Youth Art Initiative last year by a private individual, but was subsequently damaged in storage,” Hill said. “This will facilitate a slate of three dimensional art projects for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, with donated low-firing clay promised by Highwater Clays of Asheville, N.C.”

In addition to the Helping Teachers Teach grant, the NCCU will provide a permanent space in the lobby at its Roan Mountain branch to serve as gallery where a rotating exhibit of the students’ artwork will be displayed.

“The first exhibition will be ‘The Illustrated Lunch,’ ” Hill said, adding the display will include “selected works dealing with the concept of idioms and literal interpretations of the funny names we give things.”

There will be an open house to celebrate the new exhibit 2-4 p.m. April 20. The credit union’s Roan Mountain branch is at 8301 Highway 19E.

Even though he hasn’t had as much time for the Youth Art Initiative since taking office in September, Hill said he is excited by the chance to partner with the credit union and help get the word out to the community about the program.

“In spite of the commitments of the additional meetings and projects required of me these days, I have managed to work in several art units with the children at Cloudland Elementary School including still life drawing, contour drawing and relief printing this year, because let’s face it, art matters during the developmental years even if the county budget limitations can’t provide it for our children,” Hill said.

The Cloudland Youth Art Initiative is underwritten by grants from the Elks National Foundation and Northeast Community Credit Union, generous corporate donations from Crescent Cardboard Company, AMPF,, and several private donations.

For more information, contact Mike Hill at 828-265-9974 or the Northeast Community Credit Union at 423-772-3115.