Conover Couple Creates Home For Art Teachers

Some people would look at the building on 1717 Highland Ave NE in Hickory and just see an old building, but Jeff and Carol Anne Hartman see much more.

“It’s an old house, so it’s not super fancy,” Carol Anne said. “It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a new building, but it has charm and character of a space where you just want to soak in everything that’s been there for the last 70 years and let it create something.”

Jeff and Carol Anne Hartman are raising money to create a place for art, theater and music teachers to have the opportunity to earn what they deserve. So far, they have raised $3,400 towards the effort.

Unlike most other establishments, the teachers who use the building will be able to set their own price and pay a much lower overhead.

Jeff and Carol teach art — Jeff, teaches singer/songwriter development, piano, guitar and private acting coaching, and Carol Anne, teaches photography, so they understand the hardships of being a teacher.

“I worked at other studios, and I have been teaching privately since I was in college,” Jeff said. “The biggest challenge is always how much you can charge versus overhead. The problem becomes when the teachers has to have a ridiculous amount of students just to make what they need.”

Not only is there a need in the community for a place where art teachers won’t be charged immense overhead, but there is also a need for a place where the community can find a variety of art teachers.

“There are pockets of places around here (Hickory) that only have (a certain type of) teachers, but there’s not one place where you can go and walk in the door and be greeted by a voice teacher, a theater teacher, and so on,” Carol Anne said. “We want to be all-encompassing, we want everything under the creative umbrella, not just music and theater.”

Additionally, there’s no official music venue or general place where people can use a space, unless it’s booked or charges large rental fees, anywhere in Hickory, Jeff said.

Jeff and Carol Anne aren’t stopping at art, music and theater teachers, though. They want to open the doors for cabaret events, local artists to showcase their work, a yoga class, Bible studies and anything the community needs.

“We want to be able to open the doors for community needs and not have to charge for it,” Carol Anne said. “That’s the goal, for the building to be a place for the community to come; anything we can do with it that would benefit the community.”

Even with $3,400 raised, the Hartmans need more money to make this dream come true. The house isn’t new and repairs alone will cost $500.

In order to pay for the deposit, rent, advertising, a sign for the building, seating, business licenses, permits, inspections and repairs, the remaining money needed adds up to $4,450.

Donators get more than the satisfaction of knowing they helped the community. By donating, the Hartmans offer perks, listed on the website, for contributions.

If Jeff and Carol Anne raise the money they need, they hope to have the building up and running by January.

For more information on donating, visit, or for more information on becoming a teacher, call (828) 291-7227 or email