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Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain

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AArtist Doreyl Ammons Cain

 Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain… Artist, Writer & Speaker

Background: Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain

Doreyl Ammons Cain was Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, she grew up drawing birds in the sand on the dirt roads around her home. Receiving her first art award in third grade, Doreyl went on to win the South Carolina State Art award for teenagers, a purchase prize and scholarship to Furman University and an art scholarship to the University of South Carolina.

Later, in California, while achieving a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts degree in Biological/Medical Art through California State University at Long Beach, she garnered more awards, this time in science as well. She received awards in anatomy, physiology and microbiology, and “The Best in the West Art Award” three years in a row. Her dreams became a reality as she worked in most every artistic venue

1.Storyboarding for films (both independent and major studios like Disney), “Journey into the Body,” “Female and Neonatal Anatomy,” “Heart Light” heart exhibit, “Cell Wars,” cancer cell multimedia exhibit.

    1. Storyboarding for multimedia productions in microbiology- Pasadena Foundation for Medical Research.
    2. Hancock Laboratories, a Johnson & Johnson Company- medical product art, the first prosthetic heart valve made from organic pig valves.
    3. Mitral Medical Enterprises- Medical Art.
    4. Founded her own Marketing, Art & Design firm, Creative Endeavors, through which she won the Zellerbach Design Award and other design awards. Major client, the Orange County Medical Association, Southern California.


      1. Smithsonian Institute, “Simply Beautiful, Art in Science,” 1989.doreyl


During this time Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain exhibited her works of fine art in group and individual shows at the: 

  • The Pentagon, Air Force Exhibitions in Washington DC, 1988.
  • Traveling art exhibitions in museums (Los Angeles Museum of Arts & Sciences)- ‘Cell Wars’ exhibit on Cancer cells, 1987.
  • University of Southern California School of Medicine- “The Drew Project” on neonatal development, 1987.


        Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain

Since coming home to North Carolina, she cofounded Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to honoring the heritage and creativity of all people. She and her sister, Amy Garza, author and storyteller, have facilitated creativity workshops and performed (storytelling and spontaneous visual art) for millions of children and adults in schools, colleges and public venues. In these performances Doreyl creates a 6 foot by 5 foot spontaneous mural of Amy’s stories of their Appalachian heritage. These quick works have traveled all over the world, as Doreyl gives the art to one member of the audience at the end of each performance. Winning the Western North Carolina Heritage Award through Western Carolina University in 2013, The Ammons Sisters are actively involved in the community through art & heritage festivals, youth talent shows, CSA Youth Scholarships and book publishing. Doreyl developed and started the ColorFest, Art of the Blue Ridge fine arts festival in 2008 in celebration of the fine artists of Western North Carolina. Currently Doreyl Ammons Cain has a segment called Creative Corner” on their radio show, “Stories of Mountain Folk” which plays on WRGC in Jackson County and world -wide on the Web, with thousands of listeners.


Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain

Awards and Commissions: Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain

      • In 2005 Doreyl Ammons Cain won a place in the Kennedy Promotions Best of North Carolina Artists & Artisans book series. Coauthor of “Catch the Spirit of Creativity” and author of two books called “Greatness in a Nutshell,” and “Learning to Fly.” Doreyl’s own  books help people explore their unique creativity and follow their dream. In 2006 the Eastern Band of Cherokee Community affairs granted Doreyl funds for materials to paint a mural of the beauty of nature in the southern Appalachians. Called “Nature’s Home,” this mural showcases the forests’ plants and animals.



    • In 2008 Doreyl Ammons Cain completed a major mural, “Majesty of Mountain Heritage,” honoring the nature and early settlers of the far Western North Carolina counties. The mural was premiered and exhibited at the Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City, North Carolina. The mural panels were portable enough to tour Western North Carolina with opening receptions in Jackson, Haywood, Swain and Macon Counties. The mural was purchased and is now privately owned and displayed in Jackson County.



    • In 2010 Doreyl Ammons Cain received the award from the new Jackson County Library Complex to paint a mural based on the heritage of the area during the time the Courthouse was built. Her concept was “Cakewalks.” The four step process involved in the creation of the mural took a year to complete and the mural is now on permanent display on the first floor of this beautiful new library.



    • In 2012 the Cumberland Gap National Park commissioned Doreyl Ammons Cain to paint a comprehensive mural of the history of Cumberland Gap. This painting  is permanently on display in the entrance to the national park visitor center and copies are used in the public schools and in the communities surrounding the park for educational purposes.



    • During 2013 Doreyl Ammons Cain completed a 16’ X 8’ historical mural for the town of Dillsboro, NC. The town was undergoing financial problems and needed a focal point to draw people into the town.



    • Doreyl worked with the Dillsboro Merchants Association, Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, the Jackson County Green Energy Park and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce to organize and promote a fine arts street festival, ‘ColorFest, Art & Taste of Appalachia’ and painted the mural ‘On Hallowed Ground’ of the history of the founding of this small railroad town. The fine arts festival had 40 demonstrating artists showing their fine art on the streets, street musicians and local foods made on the spot.



    • Also a part of the event was “Young Artists of ColorFest’ art workshops for children 6- 15 years of age who completed a 3D art piece that was placed on Front Street, Dillsboro. The festival attracted thousands of people and the mural was unveiled to kick off the festival. The funding of the Dillsboro mural was accomplished through an ‘Art in the Park’ award  from the Asheville Area Arts Council, an award from the Jackson County Arts Council and donations from the local community.
    • Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain


A stunning three dimensional “Tree of Life” bronze plaque was cast and finished by the Jackson County Green Energy Park and Western Carolina University art students, and attached to the Dillsboro historical mural, “On Hallowed Ground.” Hanging from the bronze casting is the permanent metal engraved donor’s plaque honoring those who donated to the mural. A celebration of the many community members who donated to the mural project!

From 2004 through 2013 Doreyl Ammons Cain has created art for five children’s books, 30 book covers, 48 magazine covers and artwork for Catch the Spirit of Appalachia non-profit Organization. Currently she is illustrating a series of 6 children’s books and is researching two major WNC murals.



Today she and her husband, Jerry Cain, have designed a new line of art cards, limited edition Giclee art prints and are living in the back woods of WNC on a nature preserve called “Nature’s Home,” based on the principles of recycling through Permaculture and sustainability.

All photos above are from the collection of the artist and she has all copyrights on them.

You can find Doreyll Ammons Cain and her wonderful art at ”Muralist Doreyl”

Article submitted by: Barbara Woodall author of ”It’s Not My Mountain Anymore”

Thank you for reading our article on Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain. We hope you have enjoyed it as much has we have!

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