In recognition of the need to preserve the local history and native arts and crafts of Western North Carolina, the Clay County Historical and Arts Council was established through the efforts of the Clay County beautification Committee in January 1974. By the end of February, 1974, the Council had gained enough support from Clay County residents to be incorporated. Mrs. Gertrude Price was elected as the first president. It was under her direction that the Historical and Arts Council began operations. Out of the early community theater founded by the council in June, 1974, the Licklog Players emerged. The beautiful theater is now the home of the Peacock Performing Arts Center. The Mountain Community Chorus was also a direct result of early Council activity in September, 1974.
It is important that every viable Arts Council has a home out of which to operate. Through the efforts of the then county commissioners, the old Clay County Jail building was secured for the purpose of housing both a history and art museum. The building has also served as a center for cultural events in the county throughout the years. Several additions to the building such as the Gertrude Price room and Dr. Killian’s office have been added over the years so that what now functions as the Historical and Arts Council Museum truly represents early life in the Carolina mountains.