top of page
FreeWheelingLogo-1 copy.jpg

May 11 - August 21, 2021


The Bascom, in collaboration with the Highlands Motoring Festival Foundation, presents  FreeWheeling   which is a centerpiece component of

CELEBRATE  ART + AUTOMOBILE, a summer series of events in Highlands, NC.

FreeWheeling features original automotive works of internationally renowned artists. The exhibition will be on display in the Bascom's main gallery in Highlands, NC, and include works on canvas, paper, and sculpture, alongside the display of 3 classic and vintage automobiles.  The exhibit’s cars will be changed twice during the duration of the 15 week display such that up to 9 cars in total will share gallery space with the artwork. 


The exhibition presents a multi-tiered experience in the appreciation of art and the automobile. It examines design as art,  the inherent duality of functional art, the allure of the automobile as art itself inspiring expression in another art-form, and the dialogue between inspiration and expression. 

Throughout the exhibition period, the Bascom will be offering a number of related displays and activities, some of which are interactive.  A few examples of these include Artist/Curator Discussions, Submitted Automobile Photography Presentation, Model Car Display, and Educational S.T.E.A.M. Initiatives.  Other public programming will be announced as it is developed.  

On Saturday, June 12th, the fourteenth annual Highlands Motoring Festival features Cars in the Park, a juried display of approximately 100 specially selected automobiles from around the world, representing a diversity of styles and concepts from the earliest days of the automobile through 1989.  The theme for 2021 is Pure Bloods d’Italia, featuring grand marques such as Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini.  Additional classics expected on the show field include Porsche, Jaguar, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Packard, and others.

Other activities of the Motoring Festival include One Lap of the Mountains (two days of drives on the exciting mountain roads of Western North Carolina), evening social events, presentations and discussions by renowned automotive experts, and High Octane, a casual car show open to any interesting automobile.

Highlands, NC, the venue for all these exhibits and activities, has been a special summer getaway for nearly 150 years.  At 4118’ elevation, it is a temperate respite from the surrounding southern heat and humidity.  The town itself is filled with boutique shopping, fine dining, and a wide variety of excellent lodging; and is surrounded by a wealth of magnificent outdoor scenery and activities for the entire family.   

For more information, contact:  

“You cannot describe passion,  you can only live it.”                -  Enzo Ferrari

FreeWheeling  gallery  schematic

Gallery Model Perspective.png
Gallery Model Plan 2.jpg

​Curator's Statement :

"FreeWheeling is an Art-on-Functional Art exhibition. It is meant to position the viewer within the dynamic dialogue between one form of art, (automobiles displayed as exceptional examples of functional art) and the artwork these machines inspired.  A contributing subplot within the FreeWheeling experience too, is the inherent dichotomy of functional art.


It is my personal conviction that the purpose of Art is to alter one’s perception such that, upon turning away from a painting, or sculpture, the viewer now considers the world around them a little differently.  We humans are sentimental creatures, but nostalgia and sentimentality, that only serves to soothe and bolster preexisting perceptions and emotions,  should never be the sole intention of art.


With this criteria as a requisite, a relatively small list was compiled of top-tier, award-winning automotive artist whose work stood as exceptional art. Compiling this body of work was never merely a quest for paintings of cars, but was a search for artist whose work resonated with the fundamental principles: composition, emphasis, contrast, color theory, figure/ground dynamics, rhythm, and proportions.  The works had to be visually, and emotionally, engaging regardless whether or not the viewer knew, or cared, anything about the subject matter,  automobiles.  Some of the paintings in FreeWheeling are not about cars, but contain cars as supporting actors in a compositional narrative.


On a very personal level, curating FreeWheeling has been the marriage of, and opportunity to share, two great passions in my life:  Art and Automobiles. Choreographing this experience, within a contained gallery space, also embraced a 3rd passion, architecture.

I grew up in a family infected by the automobile obsession, such that

collecting, restoring, displaying, and driving, magnificent vintage machines was, in many ways, a foundation of our upbringing and an ever-present topic in our household.

The deep love for art began when I started sketching, and painting, at the age of 9, and continues to be a joy. Following my undergraduate studies in Fine Art, I worked as an illustrator, and artist selling my own paintings, for a decade before returning to school to acquire my Masters in Architecture.

It is my hope that you will find FreeWheeling as exciting, and stimulating, as it has been for me to be a part of bringing it to you.    Enjoy."                                                                                                                                                                                             P. Knight Martorell

bottom of page