Penland staff members are involved in many community events each year, designing hands-on activities that are offered free to the public. Annual events include: Fire on the Mountain Blacksmithing Celebration; Mitchell Relay for Life Luminary Collaboration; the Troutacular Festival in Spruce Pine; the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville; and the Spruce Pine Holiday Festival.
Penland also coordinates the Arts Matter Group, consisting of teaching artists, arts administrators, school teachers and administrators, and individuals dedicated to supporting education through the arts. The group meets quarterly with a goal of acting as a catalyst and connecting point for arts programming for youth in Mitchell County.
Penland is an advisory sponsor of Fire on the Mountain Blacksmithing Festival, including coordinating the Hands-On tent. The public is invited to forge a garden stake, assisted by volunteer smiths.
Penland collaborated with Spruce Pine Main Street on the creation of a one-of-a-kind “Serviceberry” sculpture by artist/blacksmith Elizabeth Brim, which is located at the entrance to Spruce Pine. Community members helped to form and finish the hundreds of flowers that adorn the tree, which serves as a symbol of renewal and hope for the town.
During the summer of 2010, Penland collaborated with Mitchell High School to create a 50 foot ceramic mural to adorn the entrance to the school. Artists Carlos Alves and Katrina Plato led Penland students from all over the US and Mitchell High students in the design, construction and installation of the mountain-themed mural.
A child makes a colorful fish banner out of scraps of painted paper at the annual Troutacular festival in Spruce Pine.
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