Christopher Holt: Contemporary Frescoes/Faith and Community

March 7, 2020—January 23, 2021
North Carolina Museum of Art

“Affirming sacred worth, restoring human dignity, and sabotaging the shame of poverty, the Haywood Street fresco announces, in plaster and pigment, that you matter.”—The Rev. Brian Combs, Haywood Street congregation

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This exhibition features monumental drawings, intimate portraits, and studies by artist Christopher Holt (b. 1977, Asheville, N.C.; lives Weaverville, N.C.) for the Haywood Street Beatitudes fresco completed in September 2019. The fresco is the result of a two-year community project led by Holt with the Rev. Brian Combs, founder of the Haywood Street congregation in Asheville. 

The purpose of the Haywood Street fresco is to honor everyday people and emphasize the church’s ministry, which focuses on helping members of the community who live in poverty and often on the margins of society. The congregation is encouraged to live by the Beatitudes (the blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount), which is also the subject of the fresco. In the Haywood Street Beatitudes, Holt gracefully incorporates powerful portraits of the local community and members of the congregation in his contemporary depiction of the narrative of the Beatitudes. In the Rev. Combs’s words, “What poverty makes invisible, art makes immortal.”

Visit this exhibition in person: The Museum is open with updated hours, Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm, required free timed tickets to encourage social distancing, and increased health and safety procedures including required cloth masks.


Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.

The NCMA would like to thank the following individuals for their support of the Museum’s spring and summer 2020 exhibitions highlighting North Carolina artists:

Carole and Cloyce Anders
Ruth and Bill Barnett
Mary Charles and Robert Boyette 
Marion Johnson Church
Grubb Ventures
Carol and Rick McNeel

Christopher Holt’s Haywood Street Beatitudes in progress, 2019, Courtesy of the artist, © 2019 Christopher Holt; Photograph: John Warner

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