HIDDENITE — As a celebration of The Hiddenite Center’s 40th anniversary, the Lucas Mansion Gallery exhibit in September features the paintings of Lucille Earp.
Earp, a well-known Alexander County artist, was the Center’s first art instructor. The gallery is filled with oil paintings resulting from her career in a retrospective exhibit of paintings, drawings, and sculpture.
As a sixth-grader at Conover Elementary School, young Lucille Wallace’s watercolor caught the eye of her teacher who asked permission to frame it and display it in her classroom. The painting was a real source of pride for Lucille. When her family moved to Taylorsville, she began eighth-grade at Taylorsville Elementary School. She met Billy Eugene Earp and they married in her senior year. Billy received his draft notice and served in the U.S. Army. After service, the couple returned to Alexander County to raise their two children Rickie and Wendy.
With two children at home, Lucille Earp had a real desire to continue her education — particularly in art. Seeing “can you draw this” ads in a magazine, she drew a submission and sent it to the Minneapolis School of Advertising and Related Art. She enrolled in their correspondence course, and her training continued for three years. She sent each completed project to her instructors, they then evaluated it, made corrections and suggested improvements, then returned the piece to her. She then returned the corrected art piece for a grade. Lucille’s “never give up” approach to all things resulted in a successful 58-year art career.
Earp began teaching children’s art classes in 1967 and adult classes with Catawba Valley Technical College in 1969. She taught oil painting classes at the Hiddenite Center until 2004. Earp’s work became known across the region through exhibits and competitions. In 1971 she reached a personal goal of completing her first of 10 church baptistry commissions. Her limited-edition prints and cards are available for purchase in the Lucas Mansion Gift Shop. Her book of her poems with her illustrations was published in 1988, another of her life goals. She also drew the plans for the Earps' retirement home in Bethlehem where they moved in 2007.
The public is invited to visit the gallery Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enjoy this exhibit. Her exhibit will continue in the Lucas Mansion Gallery through Oct. 29. Exhibits are free and open to the public.