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Ingles Open Road: Bardo Arts Center

We’re in Catamount country on the campus of Western Carolina University visiting the beautiful Bardo Arts Center. This place is an awesome two for one experience and we’re exploring both today here in the Whee.

Located in Cullowhee, North Carolina – that’s where the “whee” comes in – the Bardo Arts Center has been bringing culture to the mountains since 2005. And in that time groundbreaking performances and exhibitions have taken center stage here. The Bardo includes the Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum and the Bardo Art Center Performance Hall.

We’re getting our start here at the Fine Art Museum. Here they regularly rotate exhibitions highlighting regional, national, and international artists.

Situated on the site of several early Cherokee settlements, Bardo Arts Center features numerous Cherokee-inspired design elements, like this seven-pointed star representing the 7 Cherokee clans.

One of their current exhibitions, Spark of the Eagle Dancer, features 140 works of contemporary Native American Art from the collection of Lambert Wilson.

Entry here is free to the public, offering up four galleries to explore, space for student exhibitions, and a great atmosphere to take it all in.

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There is also the Performance Hall – a 900 seat theatre that rivals the best on Broadway. This place provides the campus and community access to internationally acclaimed artists and regional favorites. In addition, the space serves as a dynamic venue for educational symposiums, campus events, and student performances from the Western Carolina University Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts.

This place is huge – but somehow intimate at the same time. It’s a great place to take in a show… a film… you name it.

Here at the Bardo they’ve done an amazing job embracing the culture and history of this corner of the mountains, and then reflecting that culture and others from around the world back to the people who call this place home… along with us lucky ones who come to visit.

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