The cultural landscape of western North Carolina and the surrounding region has been transformed with the opening of the Robert and Lillian Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University.

The new facility located near downtown Boone is the largest visual arts center in northwestern North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia. The Turchin Center, named for longtime arts supporters Robert and Lillian Turchin, is located at 423 West King Street in Boone.

The center's inaugural exhibition in the Martin and Doris Rosen Galleries is "Go Figure! Manifestations of the Human Form in Contemporary Art. It features a range of works, including sculpture, painting, photography and digital imagery.

The Turchin Center, located in the West King Street building formerly occupied by the Boone United Methodist Church, provides a facility devoted specifically to exhibition, education, and outreach programs in the visual arts. Exhibits will focus on a blend of new and historically important artwork, and will feature works of nationally and internationally renowned artists, as well as many of the finest artists of the region.

The center's Martin and Doris Rosen Galleries, as well as the studios and outdoor sculpture gardens provide a dynamic setting for view and enjoying art.

"The Turchin Center is yet another jewel in the High Country's performing and visual arts crown, and we are tremendously excited by the potential of this new facility to impact the quality of life in our region," said H. Perry Mixter, director of Appalachian's Office of Cultural Affairs, the administrative body which oversees the Turchin Center. "It will not only be a tremendous asset for the learning experiences of Appalachian's students, but will be a great opportunity to reach out and provide programs and services to our community."

The Turchin Center will become operational in two phases. The first phase is reflected in renovations to the existing King Street building, which have created the Rosen Galleries - the center's main and mezzanine gallery spaces, which will feature the "Go Figure!" exhibit. Also included in this phase are a conference room and administrative offices, exhibit preparation and permanent collection storage areas, and an elevator to provide accessibility for visitors. A new construction phase will complete the project in late 2004 or early 2005, by creating a new wing with a downtown pedestrian entrance, additional gallery spaces, the Community Gateway Sculpture Park, a 135-seat lecture hall and multi-purpose event space, a gift shop, and visual arts library and archive space.

Turchin Center hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and noon-8 p.m. Fridays. The center is closed Sundays and Mondays. There will be no admission charge for the Turchin Center, although donations are accepted. For additional details about the Turchin Center, call (828) 262-3017.

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