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You saw it right - there's a family of bats hanging outside the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. They're there this month for "The Beauty of Bats," the arts center's annual celebration of threatened species.

Inside the arts center is an exhibition of incredibly detailed bat photographs. "The Beauty of Bats" is the fourth awareness event staged by the arts center, which has mounted exhibitions about butterflies, bees and birds.

The bat family outside the art center was created by Theresa Coté to draw attention to the gallery exhibit and for the school children who will participate in an event in mid-September. Many residents remember, from previous awareness events, Coté’s iconic fiber art sculptures - a giant Monarch butterfly, the six honey bees and last year’s barn owl. The family of bats will hang outside the arts center all September during fair weather and business hours (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday).

The free gallery exhibit will open to the public Friday, Sept. 8 and feature the work of nature photographer Michael Durham of Portland, Oregon. Durham’s extreme close-ups are often shot with infrared lenses and, in the case of the elusive bat, in its nocturnal habitat.

“I have used a camera to document subjects that are often beyond human perception,” Durham said. “The more elusive the subject, the more interesting it is.”

Thirty images reveal the beauty of bats, showcasing their habits and majesty.

“We believe these close-up photographs will give gallery patrons a glimpse into how beautiful and vital these fascinating creatures are,” said Gale Jackson, executive director of the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. “This fits with our ongoing efforts to introduce the community, and especially local students, to endangered or threatened species.”

As in years past, this year’s awareness event is organized by local artist Libba Tracy, who has been coordinating with the town to erect bat boxes at the community garden. She is also working with Valley teachers and students to bring them to the arts center for a program about bats.

The exhibit is supported by the Rachman Clinic and the Rotary Club of Black Mountain. The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is at 225 W. State St. For more, contact it at blackmountainarts.org or 669-0930.

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