The Mountains are Calling

At Home in Western North Carolina (c.1790-1830)

The Mountains are Calling is a history-based photographic exhibit centered on North Carolina mountain culture from c.1790 to c. 1830. I visited the Vance Birthplace State Historic Site in Weaverville, NC, several times over a year.  This project was a collaboration between Dr. Brenda Scott and divisions of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), including the Vance Birthplace, the Western Office, and the North Carolina State Capitol. The exhibit was on display from September 2017 through April 2018, first at the Western Office, next at the West Library, and then at the State Capitol Building in Raleigh.

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Artist Statement

Isolation. As I was photographing the Vance Birthplace State Historic Site, my mind kept returning to that word. Today there are still elements of isolation; the spirit of place created by the immense mountains soaring up and out lends itself to this feeling. However, imagine the effect of this mountainous region on life before the interstate was completed – or before the railroad extended to the west. The area that became Buncombe County was extremely remote.

This separation from others aided in creating the stereotype of the uneducated southern Appalachian while, in actuality, creating an atmosphere that inspired education and independence – both physical and spiritual. Isolation engendered determination, persistence, courage, and inventiveness, and instilled integrity and a strong connection to the land.

This exhibit utilizes the Vance Birthplace State Historic Site to explore facets of life in the North Carolina mountains from c.1790 to c.1830.

The Mountains are Calling Acknowledgements

In addition to my lovely Patreons who provide me with monthly support allowing me to create this and other exhibits (please see Patreons list on this page), I gratefully acknowledges the following individuals and institutions for their assistance specifically with this exhibition.


Dr.s George & Sue Neece


Bull City Art & Frame Company



Dry Ridge Inn B&B

Anne Grimes

Jan Lawrence

Miranda Yeager


Nick DePasquale

Ron Landis

Lee Anne McClymont

The Neece Family of Chapel Hill

Roberta & Larry Pittman

Nancy Ranier

Mary Margaret Thorburn

Adrienne Todd