New folk art museum working to come to Pittsboro | Arts

New folk art museum working to come to Pittsboro

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The late, great whirligig creator Vollis Simpson is one of hundreds of artists whose work will be featured in the Small Museum of Folk Art. - FILE PHOTO BY JEREMY M. LANGE
  • file photo by Jeremy M. Lange
  • The late, great whirligig creator Vollis Simpson is one of hundreds of artists whose work will be featured in the Small Museum of Folk Art.
Things will be stirring in the local art world this spring. As the North Carolina Museum of Art embarks on a major renovation, a mom-and-pop business in Pittsboro hopes to break ground on a new folk and outsider art museum. It’s an exciting prospect for an area whose rich artisanal tradition predates its fine-arts pedigree.

The Small Museum of Folk Art is the vision of Dave Clark and Lisa Piper, who own the Small B&B Café. According to a press release, they received a gift from an unnamed donor of more than 400 pieces of folk and outsider art, including pieces from notable locals such as Vollis Simpson, the whirligig creator who passed away last year, as well as Clyde Jones, Jimmy Lee Sudduth and Virgil Lee Johnson.

According to the release, the museum facility has already been designed, and will be located on the same property as the Café, at the corner of Small and East Streets. The design plans are eco-friendly, including solar power, water reclamation and salvaged construction materials.

“Less is more and small is good,” Clark said in the release.

Clark and Piper have started a 501c3 organization, the Small Museum Project, to organize, manage and, first of all, raise funds for construction, which is slated to begin in March. The building campaign is set at $100,000, a “daunting challenge,” according to Piper. 

The Small Museum Project is seeking donations of materials and labor from craftspeople as well as funding from individual donors and foundations, and there will be multiple fundraising events in the coming months. If you’d like to help, find out how at the museum's website


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