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Whatever happen to banks being the mainstay on main street? A pillar in the community? A bastion of trust and integrity? Since 1962 Charlotte ...

Art gallery opens 3 exhibitions Thursday

The Sumter County Gallery of Art will present exhibitions by three artists with very different perspectives on what it means to be a visual artist in the South and how these differences are expressed through their imagery. Andrew Blanchard's Saturday Night, Sunday Morning; Cedric Umoja's That Old Black Gospel; and Dogon Krigga's Afroglyph will open with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and remain on exhibit through April 19.

Blanchard, primarily a printmaker, is perhaps best known for "taking familiar, stereotypical signifiers of rural roads and the small-town South and flattening them into one another through the process of printmaking. Somehow, through this juxtaposition, they manage to avoid one-dimensionality. The Sumter exhibition will also include three-dimensional 'totems' - assemblages of identifiably Southern artifacts and signifiers."

A Louisiana native raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Blanchard traveled to Paris following the receipt of his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. In France, he studied with master lithography printer Frederic Possot, then earned his master of fine arts degree from the University of Mississippi.

Ask Matt ... about banks changing hands

Asheville Savings Bank has been serving WNC customers for 82 years but that will all change on Monday, March 19, when the old signs come down and bold red and white First Bank signs are unveiled in front of 13 former Asheville Savings banks. Headquartered in Southern Pines, First Bank has been around since 1935 and counts 104 locations statewide. The time and temperature on Sixth and Main will now be courtesy of First Bank.

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This footnote may be of interest to moviegoers. The Oscar-nominated movie “The Post” is based on the 1971 publication of the Pentagon Papers — a report that exposed the private views within five administrations that the war in Vietnam was unwinnable. One key player who escaped being mentioned in the movie was Assistant Secretary of Defense John T. McNaughton, who worked for Robert McNamara (played by Bruce Greenwood in the film). Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who photo-copied the top-secret documents in 1969, once worked for McNaughton. Lightning readers may recall that McNaughton died in the mid-air collision of Piedmont Flight 22 over Hendersonville in July of 1967, just a month after he was assigned to collect and review the Pentagon Papers. Because of his close friendship with McNamara, many perceived McNaughton to be a war hawk but some have since written that he began to be opposed the war in Vietnam. Because he had considerable influence with Pentagon decision-makers, some historians have wondered if McNaughton’s tragic and untimely death prolonged the war.

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