The Ashe County Frescoes Foundation announced that Janet Pittard and David Chiswell, coauthors of the recently released book, “The Ashe County Frescoes of Benjamin F. Long IV,” will be signing copies of the book at the Festival of the Frescoes, in Glendale Springs, Saturday, Oct. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The book, commissioned by the Foundation and published by McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers in Jefferson, represents the latest book by the brother-sister team, documenting and preserving the local heritage of our community.

Pittard, the author of A Hospital for Ashe County, Four Generations of Appalachian Community Health Care, published by McFarland in 2013, again draws on the research expertise of her brother David Chiswell, as well as her own interview skills to create the story of how Ashe County came to be home to four frescoes by internationally known fresco master Ben Long. The first of these frescoes, Mary Great with Child, was completed in 1974 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Jefferson, followed by John the Baptist, in 1975, and The Mystery of Faith, in 1977. Ben Long finished the last of his Ashe County frescoes, The Last Supper, in 1980, in Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs.

A brief biography of the artist and history of the community and churches set the background for the story of the Ashe County frescoes. The process of creating this ancient and complex art form is documented with photographs taken on site at the time of the projects. The figures represented in the scenes are connected with their source and inspiration in scripture. Personal interviews reveal the intensity, devotion to task and physical stamina required of the artist, breathing life into the story of this unique treasure of the High Country, while highlighting the importance of its preservation and protection for the future.

The copyright and all royalties from the sale of the book were gifted by the authors to the Foundation for the protection and preservation of the frescoes.

Copies of The Ashe County Frescoes of Benjamin F. Long IV may be purchased locally, ordered at online sellers or directly from the publisher.

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