Education and Community Leaders to Join UNC Asheville in Reception for “Celebrating Middle School Success” Art Exhibition


Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, UNC Asheville Chancellor Anne Ponder and a host of education and civic leaders will be on hand for a reception for Celebrating Middle School Success, a new exhibition at Highsmith Art and Intercultural Gallery, featuring some 30 works of art by area middle school students. The reception, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 3-5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, in the gallery in Highsmith University Union on campus.

The exhibition, which opens July 1, will showcase the talents of students from Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools, and will honor United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County’s Middle School Success initiative. The initiative works to increase access to and the quality of after-school and summer programs at the middle school level, as a means of increasing high school graduation rates. UNC Asheville faculty and students play active roles in area after-school programs and in-school tutoring.

Chancellor Ponder will host the reception for the student artists and their families. Ponder will be joined by many education and community leaders including:

  • David Bailey, President/CEO, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County
  • Pamela Baldwin, Superintendent-appointee, Asheville City Schools
  • Tony Baldwin, Superintendent, Buncombe County Schools
  • Taylor Foss, Senior Vice President, Organizational Transformation, Mission Health System
  • David Gantt, Chair, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners
  • Jacquelyn Hallum, Chair, Asheville City Schools Board of Education
  • Esther Manheimer, Mayor, City of Asheville

The Celebrating Middle School Success exhibit will be on view 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays throughout the month of July, with free admission.

The reception is co-sponsored by Asheville City Schools, Asheville City Schools Foundation, Buncombe County Schools, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, and many UNC Asheville offices and programs.

For more information, visit the UNC Asheville School and Community Outreach Programs and Partnerships website or contact Annie Burton, director, at 828.251.6498 or

"Stippled Hands and the World" by Naomi Fisk, Eighth-Grade Student, Valley Springs Middle School