Our Mission & Fact Sheet

Serving the Public Since 1985
The Bascom, 323 Franklin Road, Highlands, North Carolina 28741 828-526-4949  www.TheBascom.org

New Campus
In May 2009, the organization occupied a newly constructed, architect-designed, six-building, six-acre campus at 323 Franklin Road in Highlands (near Oak Street). 


The Bascom creates visual art experiences that inspire and empower individuals and communities through seeing, thinking, and doing.

The Bascom completed construction of its new campus, the former Crane horse farm property in Highlands, NC in May, 2009. Here in a welcoming, park-like setting, audiences of all ages and backgrounds will share art experiences and enjoy the synergy of art and nature.

Dewolf Architecture of Highlands and Lord Aeck and Sargent Architecture of Atlanta. The team includes Ross Landscape Architecture of Highlands; Ferry, Hayes & Allen Designers (interiors); and Trehel Corporation (construction). Wayne Yonce and Arnold Graton were consultants for the reconstruction of historic buildings. 

Physical Features 
• Entrance: Will Henry Stevens Covered Bridge, 87 x 14 feet, dating from the early 1800s and transplanted from Warner, New Hampshire. This 53-ton structure features Ithiel Towns’ lattice style. 
• Main Building: A Dewolf and Lord, Aeck & Sargent design:  27,500 sq. ft. of museum-quality space combining the large 1838 hand-hewn post-and-beam Ester barn with modern materials including stone and glass. The barn is mostly white oak. Visitor and educational amenities include galleries, studio classrooms, café, shop, reception and meeting spaces, and ample terraces.
• Studio Barn: A rebuilt rough-hewn barn complete with studio spaces for pottery and three-dimensional arts instruction, state-of-the-art equipment and outdoor terraces.
• Wood Floors: David Grant Howard, Historic Lumber, Inc., Greeneville, TN, purchased wood for The Bascom's main building floors from several historic barns. The wood is old growth white pine. Some of the boards are the original “threshing floor.” Those constituted the area of the barn where the wheat, after drying, was scattered and struck with a stick and leather beater. That long-ago process gave the art center's wood its irregular nicks and warm patina. The Bascom wood was machine-planed on the back only so the planks are uniform in thickness. Only a small hand-held orbital sander was used with the boards, to buff irregular top surfaces. All work was done by hand to protect the original patina on the boards. After the floors were laid in place, a team hand-sanded to get the floor boards ready for the finish, which consisted of three or four coats of a heavy-bodied urethane. No stain was used anywhere. The pine floors were hand-sanded between each coat of urethane to give the gorgeous finish you see now.
• Ecological Assets: Meadows, gardens, forest, water elements, walking trails, sculpture installations and unblemished mountain views.

Community Support
Over 1,000 sources, corporations, foundations and individuals have contributed almost $12.4 million to date for the $15 million construction campaign. Fundraising continues for the new campus and a separate educational and exhibitions program endowment.

Over 300 volunteers help the professional staff and volunteer Board of Directors get their work done.  These are year-round and seasonal residents who bring a variety of talents to the organization and serve in many essential capacities.

Educational Programs and Workshops
The Bascom offers hundreds of educational programs covering a wide range of themes and formats: workshops, on-going classes, Family Art Experience, youth classes, artist presentations, lectures/demos, etc. Pre-registration is required.

The Bascom's Community Outreach Department connects with area social service agencies and schools for meaningful partnerships and so that the art center might arrange for new audiences to experience free and subsidized art exploration. Through the generosity of our sponsors and granting bodies, the Outreach department implements public events, lectures, emerging artist exhibitions, classes for seniors, school children, and more. Artist residents and fellows working with Outreach act as satellites out in the community, enriching thousands of individuals with creative expression. 

Benefit Events
The Bascom's benefit events are varied and all raise needed funds for The Bascom.
The Bascom owes its existence to artist Watson Barratt, who had a vision to establish a permanent gallery in Highlands for the display of works created by regional artists. His bequest made possible an exhibition space in the Hudson Library beginning in 1983. Watson and Louise Bascom Barratt, his wife, lived part-time in Highlands. He was a longtime supporter of the Hudson Library, and his bequest to found a gallery within the new library was visionary at the time. Creating an exhibition space and permanent collection in a village of just a few hundred residents distinguished Highlands as a progressive community committed to nurturing its local talent and to celebrating its natural assets.

Even though Barratt died in 1962, his dream lived on. The plans for building the modern Hudson Library building incorporated proceeds from the estate. The Bascom-Louise Gallery within the new library was a solid volunteer endeavor that evolved over time. In 1999, the Hudson Library and the Bascom-Louise Gallery amicably decided to separate their operations. The art center received its own not-for-profit 501(c)3 status, formed its own Board of Directors, wrote its own bylaws and hired its own staff. As an independent non-profit, the art center grew even more rapidly. It quadrupled its exhibit schedule over a six-year period, bringing in exceptional two- and three-dimensional work from all over the Southeast. 

With a new name—The Bascom—the art center has today become a beloved creative resource for art lovers and artists at all ability levels, as well as the community as a whole. Its enormous success reflects the region’s passion for the arts. 

The Bascom is a not-for-profit charitable entity focused on community outreach, exhibitions, and education. 

The Bascom has a volunteer board of directors and the professional staff is led by the Executive Director.
the bascom logo
323 Franklin Road
Highlands, NC 28741 info@thebascom.org
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-5
© 2017  The Bascom • A Center for the Visual Arts • Highlands, NC