Toe River Arts Presents Blacksmith Exhibition

Mamalia. John Rais, artist

For the 13th year, Toe River Arts’ Spruce Pine Gallery will host the Annual Blacksmith Exhibition through Saturday, April 27, when the Fire on the Mountain Festival returns to downtown Spruce Pine from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is invited to a reception on Friday, April 26, from 5–7 p.m. at the gallery. Awards for the juried exhibit will be announced during the reception.

“Our community has a historical legacy of blacksmithing, so to have the exhibit and the festival every spring has become something of a tradition,” says Kathryn Andree, exhibit manager. “Folks love to bring the family to see the exhibit and then visit Lower Street to see the blacksmiths working at their forges, visit with the street vendors and partake of all the interactive activities.”

Following the reception on Friday, John Rais, a Philadelphia metal artist, will hold a public lecture and presentation at 7 p.m. in Toe River Arts’ ARC Center. Rais holds a BFA and MFA in Sculpture and has operated a studio business since 1998. He designs and creates one-of-a-kind furniture, sculpture and architectural metal art and his work has been featured in numerous publications including Metalsmith magazine. He has designed and installed work at Yale University Art Gallery and at an Addison Mizner designed home in Palm Beach, FL.

“Blacksmith work is not a media that you normally see in galleries, so having a concentrated amount of metal work in the gallery and on display downtown is a unique experience,” Andree says. “The number of smiths that visit Spruce Pine for the festival is amazing. It’s a fantastic event for everyone: working smiths, our community and visitors from outside our area.”

To learn more, visit or call 828.765.0520. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about the Fire on the Mountain Festival, visit

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