SPIRIT OF STANLY 2024: Huneycutt’s contributions to culture, community

John Huneycutt’s life story is a rich tapestry of artistic passion, community engagement and global recognition.

A Stanly County native, John has not only made a significant impact on his local community but has also earned international art recognition. His journey is a compelling narrative of how local roots can fuel a journey to global prominence in art.

Early Beginnings and Educational Pursuits

John’s artistic voyage began in the classrooms of Stanfield Elementary and West Stanly High School, where his initial fascination with the visual world was nurtured. These formative years in Stanly County’s educational institutions provided not just a foundation in the arts but also instilled a sense of community and belonging. The leap to higher education saw John graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wingate University in 2004, setting the stage for a distinguished career in photography.

Huneycutt Photography and Beyond

For over 20 years, John has captured the essence of Stanly County and beyond through his lens, establishing Huneycutt Photography as a beacon for aspiring artists. His work has not only celebrated the beauty of his immediate environment but has also been showcased in esteemed galleries from Venice, Italy, Los Angeles, Scottsdale and Manhattan. This global recognition includes accolades in juried shows worldwide and the prestigious North Carolina Artist’s Fellowship Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council — a testament to his exceptional talent and contributions to the arts.

A Seamless Blend of Art and Corporate Innovation

John’s move to become the digital media coordinator at Union Power Cooperative represented a pivotal shift in his career, seamlessly merging the realms of artistry and the corporate world. Within this role, he has adeptly utilized his creative abilities to foster innovation, strengthen community ties and underscore creativity’s critical role in various industries.

Moreover, his exceptional work in this capacity has been recognized with several awards, highlighting his contributions to innovative solutions and community engagement. John considers himself exceptionally fortunate to be part of Union Power Cooperative. This remarkable company stands apart from investor-owned entities by prioritizing the welfare of its members and the broader community. This opportunity to align his artistic vision with the cooperative’s member-first philosophy has been gratifying. Allowing him to contribute meaningfully, reflecting the cooperative’s core values and commitment to community service.

John Huneycutt finishes one of his pieces of work. (Contributed)

A Heartfelt Project: Honoring Ted

In a deeply personal endeavor, John is seeking local corporate sponsors and patrons to support the arts in Stanly County and honor the memory of Ted, a cherished citizen of Oakboro.

The goal is to commission a nationally-known sculptor to create a life-sized bronze sculpture and have it placed prominently on the very streets he so often walked, serving as a lasting tribute to Ted’s spirit and his profound impact on his community.

“Ted meant so much to the citizens of Oakboro and Stanly County; he was beloved by so many of us. He was a unifying figure and a testament to what is beautiful about life, and I think it’s important that we not only honor his legacy but remind ourselves of this beauty in our own lives. I urge anyone interested to call me personally at 704-984-3152,” he said.

This initiative reflects John’s profound commitment to his roots and the people who have profoundly shaped his life and career.

A Legacy of Creativity and Community Engagement

John Huneycutt’s artistic journey is a powerful testament to the impact of art on both a personal and community level. From his early days in Stanly County to his recognition as an internationally celebrated photographer, John has remained deeply connected to his community.

Alongside his family, John continues to live and create in Oakboro, embodying the essence of a dedicated artist and family man.

Stanly County has always been a fertile ground for art and creativity, where the seeds of imagination are sown in the rich soil of community and heritage.

“As someone who has witnessed and contributed to its vibrant cultural landscape, I am profoundly optimistic about the future of our great county. The unwavering support and appreciation for the arts here serve as a beacon of hope, promising that Stanly County will continue to be a haven where creativity flourishes. This enduring commitment to nurturing artistic talent ensures that the cultural fabric of our community remains vibrant and dynamic. I look forward to seeing how the next chapters of Stanly County’s artistic journey unfold, confident that it will remain a place where the arts thrive and enrich the lives of all who call it home.”

Through Huneycutt Photography, his innovative work at Union Power Cooperative and his heartfelt efforts to honor Ted, John exemplifies the critical role of creativity in enriching our lives and communities. His story vividly illustrates the enduring value of art, the importance of community support and the remarkable influence of individuals dedicated to making a difference through their craft and compassion.

This article previously appeared in the Spirit of Stanly magazine.