For the past seven years, Florence Thomas Art School in West Jefferson, North Carolina, has presented the Corey Anne Celebration of Women in the Arts. This month-long event, held each August, is designed to celebrate and remember Corey Anne Considine’s life by examining and celebrating Women and their Influence in the Arts, while supporting and nurturing female artists at all stages of their artistic careers.  The celebration has featured the work of local and regional female artists in an exhibit and a symposium, when participants in the event speak abut their work. This year’s live celebrant and exhibition will be postponed until August 2021.

For the 2020 Corey Anne Celebration we have chosen to honor the work of a local artist who is no longer with us, Sherry Edwards Waterworth, in an online exhibit of her work.   In this exhibit, her friends and colleagues speak about Sherry’s contributions to the arts in the High Country.

Image courtesy of University Archives, Appalachian State University

Sherry in her office at Appalachian State University.

Image courtesy of University Archives, Appalachian State University

Sherry Edwards Waterworth, (1943 – 1999), was born in Annapolis, Maryland.  Sherry received a Bachelor of Science in Art from Townson State College in 1964 and a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture at Ohio University in 1966.  Sherry took a position in the Art Department at Appalachian State University in 1970 where she taught sculpture, design and drawing for over twenty years.  In 1983, she accepted the position of Gallery Director of the Catherine Smith Gallery.  In addition to teaching, Sherry continued making her own work, exhibiting, and some of her sculptures are permanently installed on the campus of Appalachian State University, inspiring viewers as Sherry inspired so many students, friends, and artists.

Sherry Edwards’ quiet leadership and unassuming professionalism has had a profound effect on the Appalachian Art Program.  Her work has become an integral part of the Appalachian landscape.  Her spirit will live on through the sense of continuity she created in each of her pieces.
-Chancellor Francis T. Borkowski

 

Sherry Edwards was a woman of uncommon strength and vision who loved teaching and art only a little less than she loved her children.  Sherry’s ingenuity and perseverance were the engines that drove the sculpture program in the Art Department.  Her dedication to her craft and her students was the fuel that fed the Art Department and the University as a whole.  Sherry has left us a wonderful legacy of sculpture that will never let us forget her.
-Robin Martindale

Sherry used various media for her sculptures and preparatory studies. These included clay modeling for final bronze-cast sculptures; wood carvings, some life-size figurative works; and stone (marble) sculptures. Among her studies were smaller cast pieces and many large-scale sketches. She completed commissions for several cast-bronze sculptures located on the ASU campus.

Click the image below for slideshow of Sherry in the studio.  Images courtesy of University Archives, Appalachian State University

Daniel Boone with Hunting Dogs, Cast Bronze
Sherry Edwards, Sculptor, 1990s
Location: Appalachian State University, Boone
Daniel Boone with Hunting Dogs sculpture was commissioned for the year-long bicentennial celebration for the founding of Appalachian State University in 1999.  The bronze depicts Boone in a camp setting with two hunting dogs at his side.  Daniel Boone is famous for exploring the American frontier beyond the Appalachian Mountains.

…I remember being [at Sherry’s studio as] she was just finishing the model for her bronze Daniel Boone installation.  I was stunned.  Everything I’d seen her do up to that time had been more modernist, more abstract, and there was this massive realistic clay sculpture.  Amazing.  A whole new side.  Striking.”
-Be Gardiner, sculptor and friend of Sherry

Sherry stands in front of her bronze sculpture of former Appalachian State University President Bill Plemmons.  The project was commissioned by the ASU Foundation, Inc.  Sherry said her work with expressionism, an art form that involves emotional interpretation, helped her sculpt a formal portrait of Plemmons that “documents his spirit”.  Image courtesy of University Archives, Appalachian State University

Sherry pictured with her sculptures of Appalachian State Art Department Faculty members.  Image courtesy of University Archives, Appalachian State University

Sherry Edwards captured her colleagues in these portrait busts from 1974.

The busts, unlike most, invite the viewer to touch and manipulate the parts.  Thus, the viewer gets a feeling of life, as well as the usual sense of form found in traditional portrait busts.
-Lee Southerland

Sherry participated in and receive awards in many painting, drawing, and sculpture exhibitions from 1965 on.  In 1976 she became the president of the Southern Association of Sculptors.  Her extensive resume highlights that she not only exhibited locally, she also participated in multiple out-of-state exhibitions.  Sherry received many honors, including a purchase award at the North Carolina Artists Exhibition.

In Fall 1976 I arrived at ASU to teach in the new Graphic Design program in the Department of Art. Wey Hall was almost complete, but the Fall 1976 semester art classes were still being held in Chapel Wilson Hall (Judy Humphrey’s office was a closet; mine was a room shared with 3 grad. students).

 

In the planning for Wey Hall Sherry had laid claim to  more than 50 percent of the bottom floor for a Sculpture studio. This may not seem like much but consider that Sculpture was one of 7 areas in Fine Arts; Graphic Design was not even on any initial plans for the building when it was built!  The following semester, Spring 1977, the Art faculty occupied the new Wey Hall where Sherry’s “domain” in the lower level was hers until her death and after. Many students studied under Sherry, inspired by her teaching and love of sculpture.

 

Two-three years after my arrival at ASU, Sherry and I traveled to Italy for about 2 weeks one summer. We rented a car and stayed in some really questionable places (on Knossos). When we were on Santorini and I was wandering around alone, I bought Sherry a ring of a ram which wraps around the finger. Years later when I admired it, she had a copy of the ring cast for me from her ring! She and I remained close friends.

Marilyn Smith, professor of art, retired.

Sculpture by Sherry Edwards Waterworth, collection of Denise Grohs

 

Había una vez… (Once upon a time) long ago, Sherry needed a ‘new’ refrigerator and we loved that sculpture so we traded the refrigerator for the piece. I have always loved it and I love the idea of our trade.
Sherry was a terrific, brave artist who made the most beautiful drawings. I took a drawing class from her and she was brilliant at finding what did and did not work in my drawings.  I have always been sorry that I never bought one of her drawings, but I still love the sculpture.
-Denise Grohs

Click the image below for slideshow of Sherry’s work.

Standing Woman at Wall with Drape
Bronze, sheet lead, walnut base
Sherry Edwards, 1986
Base:   7.25” x  5.25”
Figure:  11.5”H x 5.75”W x 4.5” D
Collection of Marilyn Smith

For a number of years Sherry arranged life drawing classes for her students but also welcomed members of the wider community. I was grateful that I could take advantage of these classes that helped me expand my drawing skills to my pottery.  Clearly Sherry was a versatile artist, as demonstrated by this life drawing.

Drawing pictured on slideshow.

Jennifer Gardiner

Sherry has two sons, Alex and Erick who both live in North Carolina.

It’s been over 20 years since she passed away, but I am still meeting new people and former students who know her and are excited to recount some neat story I had never heard before.  I’ve seen stories and pictures of her from former students (whom I’ve never met) or Facebook groups.  Working at ASU for the past 10 years, I am still stumbling across some project or mention of her in an area I was previously unaware of.  Even decades later, it’s wonderful to continually be reminded of the impact she has on so many in our community and beyond.

Alex Waterworth

There is a Sherry Edwards scholarship at Appalachian State University.

Image courtesy of University Archives, Appalachian State University

A kind thank you to the University Archives and Records, Special Collections, Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C. for allowing access to information and photos in this article.  We would also like to thank Sherry’s family, friends, and colleagues for providing photos and information.  Thank you to Dr. Patricia Beaver and Jennifer Gardiner for researching information.

Donations to the Corey Anne Celebration of Women in the Arts can be made at any time.  Make checks payable to the “Corey Anne Fund” and mail them to:

Florence Thomas Art School
PO Box 865
West Jefferson, NC 28694

Donations to the Corey Anne Celebration of Women in the Arts will fund the future celebrations.  Funds are primarily applied to: Emerging Artist Scholarship for Exhibition, Speaker Fees, Exhibition Expenses