Galleries Visual Arts

WCU Fine Art Museum Cherokee Woodcarving Exhibit

Chosen for Leadership. Joshua Adams, Artist

A new exhibit at the WCU Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center will highlight the work of Eastern Band Cherokee artist Joshua Adams. Joshua Adams: Facing Culture, which opened in June, will feature a selection of masks and wooden face carvings by Adams, who also teaches woodcarving at Cherokee High School. “Now, more than ever, is the time we all must strive to promote diversity and culture through art,” Adams says. “As a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, I feel an overwhelming urge to help solidify Cherokee culture by any means necessary.” Joshua Adams: Facing Culture will run through August 24, with an artist reception on August 23 from 5–7 p.m.

While Adams’ work is predominantly in the medium of wood sculpture, he embellishes his masks with a variety of other mediums such as rabbit fur, feathers, porcupine quills and arrows. A fourth-generation Cherokee woodcarver, Adams was introduced to the art form by his great-aunt and great-uncle. In high school, he studied under renowned artist Dr. James Bud Smith. “I carved my fi rst mask in a high school woodcarving class that I now have the honor of teaching,” Adams says. “Masks are a core part of the curriculum and one of the most traditional forms practiced by the Cherokee. We are constantly practicing traditional forms and techniques passed through generations of Cherokee carvers. The majority of my art work is directly infl uenced by this cycle of traditional knowledge.”

The WCU Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center is located at 199 Centennial Drive in Cullowhee. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays until 7 p.m.. For information, call 828.227.ARTS or visit

Leave a Comment