Hickory Arts

As we say goodbye to 2017, we also bid farewell to those we lost. Julia Rush was synonymous with arts, Hickory and living life to the fullest. I first met Julia during production of the 20th Anniversary redux of John Coffey’s “Streets of Hickory.” She had a gift for making you feel like she’d known you your entire life. Julia joined Denise Baxter-Yoder and John in Christening Hickory Arts with a house concert in 2012.

“I visited Hickory Arts today and saw in person what they are all about… finally! Nothing better than seeing in person. A nice house on 2nd Avenue SW, in the 700 block, which means it’s between 6th Street and 8th Street… easy. Nice space in the center for “House Concerts” and four rooms with large glass windows which have been turned into teaching studios… piano, guitar, drums… Owners Carol Anne Hartman and Jeff Hartman are two REALLY TALENTED PEOPLE! Carol Anne was taking free photos (she’s a wonderful photographer). Jeff took me on a “tour” of their new space. I’ll be doing some recording there with Jeff… backup music for a couple of vocals I’m doing. The arts in Hickory just continue to thrive thanks to people like Carol Anne and Jeff and their creative endeavors. Thanks, my friends, for opening your studio and giving us a chance to see and understand what you are doing. A great addition to Hickory!”

Julia Rush
February 11, 2012

Thank you, Julia. With this, I’d like to leave you with the journey of her anthem, “Pottery’s a Craft” from 1987-2014, crafted by John for Julia and his musical, “Streets of Hickory.”

1987 Streets of Hickory, Jeffers Theatre at Hickory Community Theatre
1988 Uptown Evening in Downtown Hickory, The Firemen’s Kitchen at HCT
2007 Streets of Hickory – 20th Anniversary, Jeffers Theatre at HCT
2014 Dueling Divas III, Jeffers Theatre at HCT

It’s followed by a backstage clip from 2007’s redux, exemplifying her sense of humor and why her passing doesn’t feel like goodbye, but rather “just the next gig.” We’ve all got our tickets. See ya’ soon, Julia.

Jeff Hartman et al.
Artistic Director
Hickory Arts

Julia Nell Anderson Rush Harrell, 77 of Hickory, NC and formerly of Atlanta, GA, passed away peacefully with family at her side on Thursday, December 7, 2017. Julia was the owner of -julia rush- Fine Crafts and was a well-known potter, jewelry designer, jazz and blues singer and performer, writer and publisher and an avid supporter of Downtown Hickory and “everything art.”

Born on June 7, 1940 in Fort Wayne, IN, she was the daughter of the late Paul and Dorothy McCulloch Anderson of Fort Wayne, IN and Tucson, AZ. She was proceeded in death by husband Beemer Clifford Harrell of Hickory, maternal grandparents Dr. John and Nell Jewell McCulloch and paternal grandparents Gustave and Ellen Liven Anderson.

Survivors include Julia’s partner Arne Troelstra of Anderson, SC; son David Rush and wife Cassie of Boone along with granddaughter Amber Stevens and great-grandson Jacob Ellis of West Jefferson; daughter Barbara Rush Early and husband Phil along with grandson Anderson Drew Cline of Hickory and granddaughters Kelli Early and Libby Early Clark with husband Jon and great-grandaughter Evie all of Winston Salem, stepdaughters Sally Harrell Gebler and husband Tom of Sedona, AZ and Madeline Harrell Ryan of Carrboro; sister Ellen Liven Anderson Atkins of Columbia, MO, niece Beth Perra and partner Jenny Locke along with great nephews Conor and Jacque and great neices Ginger and Quincy; nephew Brian Sweeney and wife Vera along with great nieces Allison and Megan and great nephew John.

Services were held on Friday, December 15 at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Hickory beginning at 2:30 pm with the Committal of Ashes in the church garden. Those attending were asked to meet in the church barn at 2:25 pm. A service celebrating Julia’s life began at 3 pm followed by a reception in parish house. Overflow parking was available from 2:30 until 4 pm at the Church of the Latter Day Saints with transportation provided to and from St. Alban’s. Julia requested that those who wish please wear purple and in lieu of flowers to please send a gift in her memory to the nonprofit organizations she loved and supported. For her love of everything art, please send a memorial to the United Arts Council of Catawba County and/or the Hickory Museum of Art at 243 Third Avenue NE Hickory, NC 28601. For her love of music and the performing arts, please send a memorial to the Hickory Community Theater at 30 Third Street NW, Hickory, NC 28601. For her love of helping community and others, please send a memorial to Exodus Homes at 122 8th Avenue SW, Hickory, NC 28602. To celebrate the joy she found through her church and by singing with the church choir, please send a memorial to the St. Alban’s choir at 130 39th Avenue Place NW, Hickory, NC 28601 and/or St. James Episcopal Church choir at 424 West State Street, Black Mountain, NC 28711. A memorial gift can also be sent to support the Congregational Care Team at Discovery Church located at 2201 Startown Road, Newton, NC 28658 in appreciation of the love and support they provided to Julia and her family during her illness. Jenkins Funeral Home and friends from HCT, HMA, Discovery and St. Alban’s are all assisting the family.

Home is where the art is.

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