The QuestionChatham Arts Council board member Lesley Landis has lived in East Tennessee, Durham, and Chapel Hill, but none have had a creative culture like Chatham County. This realization led Landis to ask, “What accounts for the creative culture that Chatham is known for?”The AnswerArtistic expression has been present in Chatham County since the time when Native Americans lived in a swath of the county. Fragments of simple stamped pottery near the Haw River have suggested the art belonged to the Sissipahaw. Mandolin player Tony Williamson says he has found thousands of these pottery pieces on his farm. Williamson’s pottery
Williamson says his family has been in the rural Piedmont area since the 1700s, and attributes the creative culture in Chatham to the tradition and purpose of art in the past.