“Breakfast Crew” transform Tryon Arts & Crafts School through multiple projects

Published 12:40 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

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Outdoor sculpture, landscaping, building renovations completed by men’s volunteer group  

By Storme Smith


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Tryon –  Over the last few years, the Tryon Arts & Crafts School has continued to grow and expand thanks to the help of its many steadfast volunteers, including a crew affectionately known as the “Breakfast Crew.” The group is comprised of Fred Herres, Nick Fischer, Vern Davis, Dave Briere, Jerry Posipisil, Bernard Edwards, Gerry Drew, Madison Geer, Will Kalberg, and the late Walt Myers.

The TACS staff likes to call them the “Breakfast Crew” because they meet for breakfast early each Friday morning to socialize, plan extracurricular activities, and talk about ways they can enhance TACS. 

They have recently spearheaded several projects, including an outdoor workspace, gallery walls and a pair of sculptures. 

A tree sculpture dedicated to the late Walt Myers, a “Breakfast Crew” member.

The first sculpture, dedicated to the late Walt Myers, is a towering tree in bloom beside the silhouettes of two women. Myers passed in 2022 and did much of the work on the piece in his home workshop. 

The first piece will soon be followed by an even larger, eye-catching sculpture of a Penny Farthing bicycle made with bicycles donated from the local landfill. 

The group also recently finished constructing a standing roof expansion that extends off the Forge and Shane Urquhart Metals & Glass studio, creating an outdoor workspace. Urquhart, who studied under both Gerry Drew and Walt Myers, passed away from leukemia in 2017. The Urquhart family has continued to be huge supporters of the school. 

The improvements to the studio will give TACS a versatile work area allowing outdoor welding jobs and a large sculpture building, and it is, in fact, the current home of the 11 feet 5 inch tall Penny Farthing bicycle sculpture the crew is constructing. 

New gallery walls at Tryon Arts & Crafts School were built with the help of the “Breakfast Crew.”

Another recent project, gallery walls, was made possible thanks to a donation from artist and curator Martha Strawn. Her donation also allowed the purchase of equipment for a new digital media and photography program that the school will roll out later in 2023. 

TACS Director Will Barclift says, “This gallery transformation would not have been the same without our men’s volunteer group. We are eternally grateful to have had their advanced skill sets to engineer and construct such a pivotal project. They represent some of the most prized qualities in the TACS community – generosity, camaraderie, creativity, hard work, and of course, fun!” 

“The walls have transformed the once cold cinderblock of our gallery into a warm and towering prime exhibition space,” Barclift adds. “This new environment will allow TACS not only to continue exhibiting our local artists throughout the year but also to bring in regionally and nationally acclaimed exhibitions.” 


Penny Farthing bicycle sculpture

Other projects spearheaded by the crew include making gallery lightboxes for exhibits, and landscaping such as concrete bench installation, stone wall features, fire pits, and tree plantings. They have been pivotal in the wall installation in the welding studio, the renovation of the wood shop, ventilation, and new counters for the clay studio. Together they’ve played a big part in establishing TACS as one of the country’s premier arts and crafts schools. 

For more information on Tryon Arts & Crafts School, visit tryonartsandcrafts.org. The next big exhibition is Flight of Spirit: The Photographs of Anne Noggle, which will open on June 24 with a scholar’s panel and reception.