Inspiration. It doesn’t take long to find here. In our Downtown, it waits around every corner. It always has. On any given morning, walk out of the coffee shop, look up and receive a Hibriten Mountain sunrise ‘Hello.’ Take a lunch break stroll in Kent Park woods just off the edge of Downtown and what remains of your afternoon will be carried out with a refreshed perspective. Then follow a sunset down West Avenue and take in a painted sky as you make your way home.
Lenoir’s prosperous past as a manufacturing hub gives rise to our culture of craftsmanship and patronage of the arts. This culture is exemplified today by Lenoir’s vibrant art scene, craft breweries, and enterprising small businesses. A study by Appalachian State University in 2006 confirmed that Caldwell County has the largest collection of permanent public outdoor sculpture of any community of its population in the United States.
From the Hogwaller days to the furniture boom, Downtown has always been a gathering place to enjoy Lenoir’s local flavor. Visitors, millennials and active retirees are drawn in by the easy, welcoming atmosphere, where everyone soon knows your name. So much so, that Lenoir has recently been designated as RetireNC Certified Community.
Lenoir’s rich history of furniture and manufacturing gave rise to our culture of craftsmanship, innovation, and the arts. We are a maker culture. Always have been, always will be. Whether it’s art & sculpture, craft beer & spirits, a unique festival, or an innovative business, downtown is your canvas.
Life in the Carolinas highlights Downtown Lenoir
This gallery is always in motion with new sculptures being displayed all the time. Some sculptures listed here may not currently be displayed.
Our story is told through music and art. In 1765, the original settlement of Lenoir known as “Tucker’s Barn,” was said to be the large meeting place for many vibrant gatherings and became so popular a fiddle tune was composed and entitled “Tucker’s Barn.” Doc Watson would eventually record this tune in 1964. Today, Tucker’s Gallery, named for this original settlement, is a showcase of outdoor sculpture located throughout Downtown Lenoir.
Located on the NC Blue Ridge Music Trail, rhythm is ingrained into the social fabric of our downtown. From the early days of Lenoir, music formed a large part of community life and culture. Some of the roots of Americana & Bluegrass can be traced back to Lenoir, when the Hog Waller market downtown was a hub for these mountain sounds, and several influential musicians began their careers performing in and around this area.
Lenoir High School Band Director, Captain James Harper would later take this musical heritage to a national stage. With its start in the early 1920’s, the Lenoir High School Band would become known throughout the nation for its legendary accomplishments. Couple this with the music heritage of the Freedman High School Band, and the result is an innovative, yet unpretentious music culture that can be experienced through our numerous Downtown festivals and live music events.
Be inspired. Come create with us.
Visit these sites to learn more about our creative heritage: