Greetings everyone,

This post acts as an introduction of ourselves – Ray Baccari & Morgan Kennedy – and our residency project at The Bascom in Highlands, NC – hear + there. Additionally, this marks the end of the first week of the Winter Residency Artist Program (WRAP). We’ll be updating this blog about once or twice a week, with updates on the project, and a little information about ourselves along the way. To begin, we’d like to take this time to introduce ourselves, along with links to information concerning our project, hear + there.

Links to info on the project: Project Page, Artist Statement, Walks, and installations

Ray Baccari was born in Landstuhl, Germany and grew up just outside of Washington DC.  He received his BFA in Painting from George Mason University, and is currently an MFA Candidate at Western Carolina University (WCU).  His focus at WCU deals with the labors associated with events, how that information is embedded in everyday objects, and how to recall that information through play in the form of sound.  The end result of these projects is interactive sound-based sculpture.  These sculptures incorporate audio and visual representation of the objects associated with these events.  In addition to his studies at WCU, Ray is also a father of a 1 year old, who likes to keep him on his toes with impromptu dance parties at home.


Morgan Kennedy is an artist who works in a multi-medium cross-disciplinary direction that he defines as sculpture.   The translation of story into form is central to his work. These stories often are related to the human condition and a particular environment that is seen and unseen while attempting to define the relationships and boundaries that exist between them.  He looks to interpret the role of form and how it aids his understanding of the self and place. 

Kennedy has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, including the Kim Foster Gallery in New York, and most recently, Gallery 126 in Galway, Ireland and the Bascom Center for the Arts Loft Gallery in Highlands, NC.  He has attended the Kohler Arts Industry Ceramic program, the Bemis Art Residency and is currently at the Bascom Center for the Arts Winter residency. His works have received several artist merits including the Eben Demarest Trust, The Virginia Museum Visual Arts Fellowship and the Maryland Arts Council award. He received a BA in General Arts from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. and an MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.  Kennedy is the assistant professor / area head of Sculpture at Western Carolina University. She lives and works in Cullowhee, North Carolina at 4500ft. with his wife, two kids and flock of wild mallard ducks.


If you’d like to keep up with the residency goings on between blog posts, you can follow us on instagram. Ray Baccari & Morgan Kennedy

Here we are getting ready for our first walk.

Here we are getting ready for our first walk.

Mural Work

A couple weeks ago I was commissioned for a mural at my cousins office.  She works for ServPro, and thought a little office motivation would be nice in the form of some art on their walls.  I have some progress photos of the project to show the evolution of the sketches and how it turned out.  For my first mural project, I think it went pretty well.  Though, there were some paint mixing complications, where a certain large corporate depot didn't know what RGB meant in the paint shop...

The design is inspired by the Art-Deco movement, and "The Rocketeer" was a large influence when it came to designing the hero's on either side.  There were of course some limitations in the design, such as some of the specific colors, and the use of the main house logo.  The characters were also ServPro, but ultimately the design was up to me on how it all fit together.

In the end, I have to say that it pays to build your network, and I don't think there's any issue in taking work from family.  I think some view it as charity, but now I have an original piece of work that is on permanent display in a building.  Also, money.  Who knows, this could lead to some new vein of art I can mine for a bit.

Thanks for reading, and remember to share me and my art with your friends.

Ray signing off.

Spare Time, Cont'd.

I made a post last month that touched on how to exercise your creative muscles.  Mine was a stump sculpture that I have been working with over the past few months.  It was nice, because I got to learn a couple of new techniques and developed a new understanding of some materials.  Key note is, white oak is a harsh mistress.  However, I have reached a point of being done with that project.  The seasons are changing and for the sake of my time --which is filling up and the wood itself-- I had decided to end my tinkering.  The final steps I took were staining, and sealing the wood in hopes to protect it during the winter season.  I'm open to any criticism as this was a total experiment.  Let me know what you guys think.

Thanks for reading, and remember to share me and my art with your friends.

Ray signing off.

Spare time and staying creative

So the hardest part about being an independent artist that they don't teach you at school, at least not the one I went to, is not losing that creative edge.  In my down time between festivals or trying to find a show or commission, it can be difficult to keep motivated.  There are all kinds of reasons that might prevent one from finding this, be it work, family, money -- pretty much life in general.  The best way I've found to overcome these slumps is found in the following motto: "work makes work."  Be it cleaning the studio or sanding down a log, it not only helps keep those creative muscles flexing, but also leads to inspiration for other projects.  It also reminds me of a short essay I read, way back in sculpture 1, titled "Shop Class as Soulcraft."  It touches on the the perks and what-not of manual labor, as well as the separation of thought and action.  Apparently it has been expanded into a book, which I'll have to take a look at.  I suggest you give it a read if you have the chance and need to find an outlet for those fidgeting hands.

This all being said, in my spare time over the past few months I've been working on a carving project -- with only a loosely defined goal -- to keep myself active.  It's been nice to approach this lump of wood periodically, with a new set of eyes, and wrestle with the material.  Sort of a man vs. nature scenario.  Luckily I've documented some of the work process to see how the transformation from July to now has progressed.  Ultimately, this can be chalked up as a new skill I've taught myself, which feels pretty good.

I think it's important to mention that this old oak was dead for many months and was cut down.  The owner of this mighty tree wanted to pay homage to what it once was by allowing it to be turned into a pieces of art.

As always, thanks for reading.  Please subscribe, like, or share me and my things with all the people.  

Ray signing off.

Rain, electricity, music, and fun on the mountain

I have survived yet another festival!  Cutluturefest in West Virginia, which I attended upon the suggestion of my new friend Tiffany, was quite the experience.  You should keep an eye on them at Culturefestwv.com or at their Facebook page.  Overall -- I'm glad I went.  I did however, zap myself a bit with one of my amps after it rained the first day of the festival, which was a little scary.  Still, I can't complain when I got to witness a raptor dancing with belly dancer faeries and fire dancers.  I also got a few new ideas for future work to put up in the Play Me show, as well as some input on my other vendor ideas for the future.

I want to take a moment and shout-out to those who had the courage to not only come into my space and interact with me and my instruments, but also who were nice enough to leave some comments in my guest book.  Thanks to everyone who talked, and played!  Especially the Pan Man, the Road Man, and Billy Mays III of Infinite Third.

"Really cool booth."  -Anne

"Great, very creative."  -Linda

"Your original conte drawing that inspired everything else was my favorite." -E

"This is very creative, and simply beautiful.  Keep on doing it.  I adore the instruments." -Omar

"You're great!  Keep it up & good luck in the future!  Best wishes from Russia." -Olga :)

This will probably be the last festival I do this year, but I am always open to suggestions of ones to attend as a patron.  So please, feel free to drop a line for a festival and I'll add it to the log.

I've also updated my Welcome, and Installation pages with photos of the show at Culturefest.  I even got a couple from my GoPro, so take a look and let me know what you think.

As always, thanks for reading.  Share me, like me, and tell a friend.


Ray signing off.

Doahfest and beyond

 So now that I've had some time to recoup from an awesome camping trip, it's time to put all my thoughts together in a post. I've already done some thanking on other social media, but I would like to reiterate how thankful I am to try my Play Me show at a festival. If you haven't gone, you should check out Doahfest.com and see them next year.

On the topic of the festival, I met a bunch of crazy characters. The number one being Doug. Sadly I didn't have time to get a picture with the man, but he's been hitchhiking for the past four years and is a festival junkie. He's probably one of the weirdest, and most kind hearted people I've met, and to some degree I envy him. He came to the festival on a whim, having asked a girl for a ride, and ended up volunteering for the festival and having a blast with everyone he met.

Not only did I have fun, but I learned a lot about what I can do to better my installation. Financially speaking, if things go well I have two big plans for some future installations that I think will be a lot of fun. Now, I'd like to share some adoring comments left from people. I promised I'd give a shout out to those who took the time.

“But, is the accent real?” -Gunshy Gabby

“Loved tuning the stringed instruments!” -Kim

“Much Love, Thanks for the instruments!!” -Marty

“This is Awesome!” - :)

“Totally unique – never seen anything like it. What a music artist is!!” -DC

“Interesting and creative.” -Aleksandar

“Creativity at it's best.” -Amir


Thanks again everyone for the positive feed back, and stay tuned for more art happenings.

Ray signing off.