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Sec. Kluttz and Department of Commerce Sec. Sharon Decker present Ben Long with an Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

Sec. Kluttz and Department of Commerce Sec. Sharon Decker present
Ben Long with an Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

If you know Ashe County, then you know that the area is famous for quite a few things—the Blue Ridge Parkway runs through it, you can find some awesome cheese there, Christmas trees grow on the side of almost every mountain and some talented old-time musicians call the region home.

Perhaps the most famous things you’ll find in the county, though, are frescoes by noted artist Ben Long. Late last month, Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz had the privilege of meeting Mr. Long and joining N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker in presenting him with an Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.

“I am honored to be here tonight to celebrate someone whose art has had a tremendous impact on North Carolina and our cultural resources,” said Secretary Kluttz said after presenting Mr. Long with the award. “By sharing his talent, Ben Long has brought worldwide attention to our state. We are most grateful for his contributions.”

The award, one of the most prestigious in the state, is given by the governor for outstanding service to the state.

Though best known for the frescoes he painted in two Ashe County churches during the 1970s which draw thousands of the visitors to the area every year,Ben Long has also painted frescoes in Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Wilkes counties. His first frescoes are actually in Italy.

Aside from his fresco work, Long has had a long and successful career as a portrait artist.

The event was sponsored by the Ashe County Frescoes Foundation and held at the Jefferson Landing Clubhouse in Jefferson.

Check out VisitNC’s Project 543 blog and the websites of the Ashe County Frescoes Foundation and the Ben Long Fresco Trail for more on how you can see Ben Long’s world class art in person.

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