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Gifts in memory of artist Cathy Parlier Walling fund visiting artists and renovations at Appalachian State University

By Meghan McCandless

BOONE—Luke Walling, founder of Temprano Techvestors in Newton, has established two new funds to support Appalachian State University’s Department of Art. The Cathy P. Walling Visiting Artist Endowment will honor the memory of his late mother, a 1978 Appalachian graduate, lifelong painter and clay artist. Additionally, Walling has provided support for the Wey Hall Renovation Fund with the goal of raising $1 million to improve the current facilities.

View larger imageThe late clay artist and painter Cathy Parlier Walling ’78 used art to encourage creative thinking and problem-solving. Her son Luke Walling recently created an endowment in her memory to support Appalachian’s Department of Art.

The endowment will support the Department of Art’s visiting lecture series and the renovation of a large portion of Wey Hall into an open display and gallery space housing student art and a senior studio area. The renovation fund will support improving existing classrooms and office space, creating flexible work areas and providing cutting-edge equipment for faculty and students.

“One element we’ve never been able to provide is an adequate critique space for our students,” commented Clif Meador, department chair. “An exhibition space is an important aspect of art education, and a gallery built to professional standards will be transformative in our students’ experience.”

The endowment also will ensure that all students have the opportunity to experience the benefits of art in their daily lives. According to her son, Cathy Walling understood the power of art to encourage creative thinking and problem-solving in every facet of life, and credited Appalachian’s Department of Art for cultivating this belief in her. This belief, Luke Walling said, has been carried forward by her family as well.

“Art played a large part in my childhood,” he recalled. “Despite my mother being a tremendously talented artist, I didn’t inherit that talent. She helped me understand how to see things in unique ways and creatively think and solve problems in ways I would not have thought otherwise possible. Through art and her encouragement, I became a successful entrepreneur and businessman.”

According to Luke Walling, his mother “was passionate about sharing her creations with everyone, and in many ways, her art was designed for that purpose.” She recognized the beauty in life, he said, and captured this beauty both visually and functionally through creations such as her blue-lace pattern pottery.

Cathy Walling passed away in January 2014 following a 10-year battle with leukemia. She lived in Sherrills Ford.

To support the Department of Art through the Cathy P. Walling Visiting Artist Endowment or Wey Hall Renovation Fund, visit

About Appalachian’s Department of Art

One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Art at Appalachian prepares students to explore art, identity, expression and creative problem-solving while challenging them to go beyond their previous limits by discovering new connections to culture. The department offers degrees in art and visual culture, art education, graphic design, studio art, commercial photography and graphic arts and imaging technology, with minors in art history, studio art, commercial photography and graphic arts and imaging technology.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.