Art Collection


Luke AllsbrookArt at The North Carolina Arboretum honors and preserves the unique cultural and natural heritage of the region. The collection and exhibits, inspired by the land, the people and the creative process, brings art and craft into public spaces enriching and stimulating thought and imagination.The North Carolina Arboretum maintains a permanent collection of art both inside buildings and on property grounds. The Art Walk is a self-guided tour to help visitors view the collection. Information about the subject, artist and medium of each piece is included in the guide.

History of the Collection

The State of North Carolina purchased or commissioned artworks for state buildings from 1982 to1995. Artworks were commissioned using one-half of one percent of a building’s construction budget. Called Artworks for State Buildings, the program was modeled on similar legislation in 26 other states and many U.S. and European cities. Each artwork was selected through an open process that involved users of the agency, design and arts professionals, and other citizens. The selection criteria included artistic excellence and relevance to the use, history or character of the site.

The Arboretum’s current collection began in 1989 with the commission and purchase of 18 pieces for indoor use within the Artworks for State Buildings program. Our current collection totals around 200 pieces including paintings, prints, fiber art, basket art, photography, woodcarving, sculpture, and functional items like lamps, trays, stoneware, gates and fencing and plant containers. Artworks are exhibited indoors and in outdoor landscape exhibits and are insured by the state of North Carolina. Explore our collection by picking up an Art Work Guide at one of our information desk.

In December 2005 a team of staff was chartered to create and manage a well-designed, consistent and coherent environment throughout Arboretum facilities and property that promotes inspiring learning experiences through the orchestration of interpretation, collections, exhibits and art. In May 2006, a formal Art Collection Policy and procedures was adopted for collections management. This team, called The Mission Orchestration Team, currently plans and curates changing art exhibits in gallery spaces, sculpture shows on a four-year cycle in outdoor garden exhibits and builds educational programmatic offerings around art. Commissioned artworks are conducted through the Honor and Memorial Tribute program.

Interested in submitting for a show?

Please see the Artist Submission Guidelines for how to submit. Submissions are reviewed annually March 1, July 1 and November 1.

Arboretum Stream Shadows, Luke Allsbrook, Oil on Panel, 23 in. x 9 in., 2008