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Click the image to watch our special 20 year anniversary video about our history and vision for the future!



We envision that Cary is and can be a beautiful, peaceful, and culturally vibrant place that leverages its affluence to uplift all members of its community and is upheld as a shining example of creative placemaking excellence.



The mission of Cary Visual Art is to promote, inspire, encourage, and support visual arts for the uplifting of the human spirit in the Cary community by 

- organizing permanent and temporary placement of visual art in Cary

- developing and educating young and emerging visual artists

- providing unique exhibition opportunities for experienced visual artists



Cary Visual Art began as a committee of the Cary Chamber of Commerce in 1996 and was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in 1997 to focus on beautifying and uplifting the entire community that resides within Cary’s rapidly expanding town limits through public art. Our founders were a group of individuals and business professionals passionate about the ability of public art to enhance and transform a community.

In our twenty year history, Cary Visual Art has purchased, placed, and promoted over 50 works of public art throughout Cary. Sculpture and two-dimensional works by artists from all over the country are prominently placed in Cary’s public buildings and open spaces, thanks to CVA. Our founding charter members were highly involved with their time and financial resources in the initial years of CVA.

As those founding members aged and their priorities shifted, Cary Visual Art’s board transitioned to children or grandchildren of the founding members and other community members passionate about the arts and the Cary community.

Cary Visual Art’s programming falls into three categories: Permanent Placements, Temporary Exhibitions, and Community Programming. Historically (2002-2008) more than 75% of our art programming expenditures went toward Permanent Placements. From 2008-2015, Cary Visual Art pivoted attention to Temporary Exhibitions and Community Programming. Increasing the emphasis on Temporary Exhibitions allowed us to continue to place, for a time, exceptional outdoor sculpture. New Community Programming initiatives focused on free outreach programs that provided art experiences for members of the Cary community who do not often participate in the arts.

The vision of what “public art” means has expanded in the 20 years since Cary Visual Art was founded. Since 1996, CVA and the Town of Cary have consistently collaborated on making public art an integral component of the Cary community. The nature of public art placement has become more complex; the current desire in the creative community is for placements to be site-specific and integrated within the location and surrounding community. Public art focused artists are transitioning away from creating large scale sculpture and are instead creating interdisciplinary site- and time-specific works that incorporate performance and other ephemeral elements to respond to the community’s issues.

“Visual art” has also taken on a broader definition. Artists of all disciplines are trending toward more interdisciplinary techniques, and technology has become inextricably enmeshed in all art forms. As a reflection of this overarching trend in the art world, throughout 2015 and 2016, the Cary community has continued to voice that they do not consider “public art” as merely outdoor sculpture. Public art is a prime platform for helping a community blend and fuse a wide range of cultural influences into a cohesive energy.

Cary Visual Art strives to make all its programs and events accessible to everyone. For more information about accessibility or to request accommodations for an event or program, please contact Catherine Howard, Executive Director, at catherine@caryvisualart.org. If you have suggestions, criticisms, or would like to be involved in increasing CVA’s accessibility, please contact us via email or give us a call at 919-531-2821.

Cary Visual Art is part of a Learning Community of eleven arts organization that collaborate for and improve access to the arts for people with disabilities. This collective is funded in part by the City of Raleigh Arts Commission and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.



CVA 2016-2017 Sustainers Circle

 Atlantic Tire & Service | WakeMed Cary Hospital

Wells Fargo | Dick Ladd | Hendrick Cary Auto Mall | Paragon Bank

Alan Copland | Apollo Medical Center | Blue Cross Blue Shield NC | CMC Hotels/SpringHill Suites by Marriott | Fidelity Bank | JM Edwards Fine Jewelry | Don & June Finkbeiner | Dr. and Mrs. Michael Anthony | George and Melba Jordan | Duke Energy | Smith & Smith, CPA | Rob and Susan Alexander | Sally Cox State Farm Insurance | Ralph and Daphne Ashworth | Karen and David Lamar