Art and Culture Tour at Lake Norman

Art and Culture Tour at Lake Norman

The Lake Norman area is home to a range of art galleries

Known as home to the gallery of internationally known fine artist and sculptor Jon Hair, the Lake Norman area offers you many opportunities to be inspired by art and culture. From strolling through galleries in the Davidson Art District to creating your own masterpiece at a stained glass studio, art is all around you.

2-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Spend the day in the Davidson Art District and see a movie at a very unique theater.

Day 2: Experience different types of art by visiting sculpture, photography, stained glass, folk art and nightlife in the area.

Day 1: Davidson Art District & Our Town Cinemas

You’ll love starting your day at Toast Café, one of Davidson’s most popular breakfast spots. The collegial atmosphere inside and back patio outside create a comfortable place for conversation. With all of your attractions for the day located in downtown Davidson within a mile of this restaurant, you might want to park the car and make good use of the town’s brick-lined sidewalks.

The first attraction is Merrill-Jennings Galleries, with seven showrooms featuring original art by internationally recognized painters, top local artists and talented newcomers. Owned by Kate Merrill and Susan Jennings, the gallery serves as the anchor of the Davidson Arts District.

Next, stop by the Wooden Stone Gallery, filled with interesting furniture, pottery, kitchenware, home décor, gifts and jewelry. The gallery has grown to represent more than 600 artists and craftspeople from all over the U.S. and Canada.

After a short walk down the street, you’ll be at the Whistling Swan, which features historic-inspired fraktur by well-known American folk art artist Susan Soloway Daul, as well as antiques, reproductions, folk art, and more from other artisans and skilled craftsmen.

Walk a little farther down the street to the Sanctuary of Davidson. This art gallery and gift shop features handmade art, such as paintings, indoor and outdoor decorative art, clothing, jewelry and accessories, all made by local artists.

You’ll enjoy lunch at any of the restaurants on Main Street, including Flatiron Kitchen & Taphouse, Restaurant X, The Soda Shop, Campania Italian Café & Trattoria or Fuel Pizza. You can even stop for a quick ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s or Carolina Cones.

Next, visit the Tom Clark Museum, on the second floor above the ‘Cats on Main store. The museum features the famous gnomes of world-renowned artist Tom Clark.

Take time to explore several art attractions on the Davidson College campus. First, see the magnificent sculptures in the Davidson College Sculpture Garden. Then go in the Belk Visual Arts Center to view the galleries of William H. Van Every Jr. and Edward M. Smith.

To end the day, stop by Our Town Cinemas, which provides a comfortable, inviting and more intimate setting than traditional movie theaters. The concession stand offers all standard theater treats, but also serves cheeseburgers, hot chicken sandwiches, hot Italian subs, chicken tenders, pizzas from Brickhouse Tavern, Nathan’s hot dogs, Healthy Home Market wraps, Davidson Chocolate Company truffles, funnel cake fries, wine by the glass or bottle, and beer and other alcoholic beverages.

Day 2: Sculpture, photography, stained glass & craft beer

For breakfast, head to Acropolis Café & Grille, Bruegger’s Bagels, SweetCakes Bakery, or The Cookhouse Restaurant, all conveniently located close by the day’s attractions.

After breakfast, start the day at Jon Hair Studio of Fine Art LLC to see the original sculptures of Jon Hair, America’s most highly commissioned monumental sculptor. This studio offers free group tours for visitors to enjoy more than 30 life-sized or larger original clay sculptures. Jon is most famous for his 35-foot bronze and steel monument entitled “Olympic Strength,” which has become an icon for the U.S. Olympic Training Center. From his famous sculptures, he has built a reputation as one of the most award-winning art directors and designers in the country. His sculptures can be found all over the world in galleries, private collections, and on corporate and college campuses.

Next, visit the Cornelius Arts Center to take classes or workshops in a variety of media, enjoy the displayed art in the gallery, and see the ongoing exhibits.

Then go to the Cornelius Heritage Hall, based on the book A Town By Any Other Name by Leslie Rindoks. The hall, inside Cornelius Town Hall, features antiques, photographs and maps that all provide a tangible overview of the town’s history.

With many great restaurants around, it’s hard to pick where to go for lunch. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it in this area. There’s pizza, Indian, Mexican, deli, sushi, bar and grill food, Italian and many other delicious dining choices.

After lunch, go to Alan and Lisa Coyle’s stained glass studio, Art Glass Works. You can browse through their studio to see their stained glass works, which are featured as far away as Sweden, England, Germany and Japan. You can also take classes to learn the art of stained glass and make a piece to keep as a souvenir.

Finish your trip by enjoying a North Carolina craft beer on the porch at Crafty Beer Guys or a glass of wine paired with live music at The Corkscrew Wine Shoppe & Bar, both in Huntersville.

Enjoy all this trip idea has to offer by mixing and matching to your particular interest. Be sure to check days and hours of operation for each venue.

Lake Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau

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