Nth Degree Gallery & Studios

Musings on 20 years


It all started with passionate conversations about what is art. We could not agree. The coffee was always warm but in constant need of refilling, and that made BeansTalk coffee shop (in downtown Boone, N.C.) a perfect place for art discussion. But we were looking for a place to work, to show ourselves and others like us, maybe a little better then the coffee shop walls. We started the Nth˚ never knowing what would happen next.

Art is every other emotion outside the norm, not to mention the inside. It is nested in the construct of love and the necessity of hope; things that can not be calculated to a sum. There is no definition, no law, no rule, no number that sums up art. It is an nth degree. It has been, and will be, because it is needed so desperately to never be solved.

These walls have shown works by Students, Retirees, Professors, and Transients. We have tried to avoid becoming too cool, collected, or institutional for the average and amazing artist not to find a place on them. These walls have held anguish and pride, unapologetic angst and unprecedented hope. It has been my privilege to recover the walls every month, and to witness the great, and not so great, in motion. I thank them.

Members have come and gone in quiet and spectacular fashion. Some stayed awhile and learned the very best of things by helping strangers express themselves through art for the first time in a gallery setting. Some members made their own way to places like Penland, various art schools, art communities, and even international show settings. Most followed the next progression in their lives with a little more understanding. Regardless of who they were, who they became, I believe they grew from being at the Nth, and learned something that will be in their better hearts forever.

Even though I have made art while working on building the Nth, my twenty year art project has been keeping an underground art galley going. The Nth is more than a place you discover, it is a place you already know, in the wonder beneath your doubt – or something like that. Just can't put my finger on it.

We hope to continue this intangible undertaking regardless of who supports us, but we are much better with a little help from our friends, people who know the value of “whatever, whenever and then some.” I'm not sure what will happen next, for me, for the Nth. But then... I never have.

Brian Lee`~
A Founding member of the Nth Degree Gallery & Studios

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