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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Art and history meet in exhibit at Bellamy House

Artist Janette Hopper and historian Blake Tyner joined forces to create a unique exhibit entitled “Secrets of the Swamps” that is the summer exhibition at Wilmington ’s historic Bellamy House.

ArtworkThe opening reception will be Sunday, July 17, 2005, from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at Bellamy House, 503 Market Street, Wilmington, N.C.

Janette K. Hopper is the Art Department Chair at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is known for her drawings, prints, watercolor and oil paintings and performances. The works reflect her love of nature and of humankind.

Hopper’s painting of Robeson County’s swamps and waterways set the mood of the exhibit, which focuses on the hidden beauty of the region.

“The swamps of Robeson County are fascinating because the cypress trees grow right out of the water forming wonderful verticals and emotional forms of arms reaching for the heavens,” Hopper said. “The light of the dramatic skies reflected Artworkin the waters and the heavy atmosphere make for a feeling so strong that one cannot help but be compelled to try to capture on canvas the varying moods one absorbs from the landscape and/or reflects onto the landscape.”

The artist is inspired to create a variety of moods coming from the mystical feeling when foggy to the dramatic color at dawn and dusk to the rapidly developing storms that hit with a thunder and lightening that sends the artist scurrying for cover.

Artwork“In North Carolina, I have found an instant heartfelt affinity with the sky, water, and luxuriant growth of Robeson County,” she said.

Blake Tyner comes by his love of history naturally. A descendant of some of the earliest colonial settlers of North Carolina, he grew up with a love of history that has propelled him to delve into the records and archives of North Carolina from an early age.

Tyner is currently a history major at UNCP, where his undergraduate historical research has led to the publication of two books: “Images of America: Robeson County” and “Robeson County in Vintage Postcards.” He pursues his avocation as curator of the Robeson County History Museum.

Tyner has compiled available research on Floral College, the first college in North Carolina to confer degrees upon women. The college, chartered on January 11, 1841, continued until 1872 as an educational haven not only for the young ladies of Robeson County but attracted a large enrollment from lower North Carolina and upper South Carolina.

ArtworkThe exhibit documents over 250 graduates of the school and includes letters from several of the girls written while students at the college. Letters included in the exhibit are from sisters Julia and Martha Turner of Averysboro, N.C., Catherine McNeill and Elizabeth Ann Hamer of Little Rock, S.C.

The exhibit also highlights the time that the Bellamy family spent at the college during the Civil War. Ellen Douglas Bellamy, the daughter of the Bellamys wrote in 1937 a booklet entitled “Back With the Tide” which gave a wonderful insight into their life in Robeson County during the Civil War.

Experience Robeson County and the secrets of her swamps. For more information call 910.827.5504 or email

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