Community Services

WCC Gardens

The Wilkes Community College Gardens, located between the Triad and the High Country of western North Carolina, have something of interest for everyone. Our unique campus offers many courses of study, including Horticulture Technology, with students and visitors enjoying the various seasonal gardens. Some of the major gardens to visit include the Eddy Merle Watson Garden of the Senses featuring Braille-labeled plants and sculptured music and alphabet walls; the two-hundred year old Whitley Cabin; the Vernon and Louise Deal Native Gardens containing a one-mile walking trail; the Ruth Colvard Rose Garden; the Robin Joines Student Plaza and Gardens; The Sara Mills Japanese Garden; a children’s playground; picnic areas; and duck pond. Thousands of local residents and visitors alike enjoy outdoor shows and events in the gardens such as the acclaimed MerleFest held each April.

The WCC Gardens Endowment

For many, the quiet beauty of the WCC Gardens affords a unique opportunity to honor loved ones or their memory. The endowment of a garden, however large or small, provides a means to perpetually pay tribute to parents, spouse, children, friends, and loved ones.

For more information contact:

Image of Allison Phillips
Allison Phillips, BS
Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director, WCC Foundation
Phone: 336-838-6491


MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, serves as an annual homecoming for musicians and music fans. Held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of ‘traditional plus’ music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. The festival hosts numerous artists, performing on 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

Talent Submission: MerleFest proactively selects talent through its Artist Relations Team and does not accept or respond to unsolicited talent submissions (including email, voice mail, and snail mail).

The Walker Center

The John A. Walker Community Center is proud to be this region’s premier venue for cultural experiences in Wilkes County and surrounding areas and to serve as the preferred gathering place for meetings, weddings, receptions, conventions, banquets, and parties.

James Larkin Pearson Collection

The James Larkin Pearson Library is located on the lower campus of Wilkes Community College. This combination library and museum houses the writings, correspondence, books, and memorabilia of Wilkes County native James Larkin Pearson, who was the North Carolina Poet Laureate from 1953 to 1981.

Exhibits of Pearson’s printing presses, newspapers, and other artifacts are on permanent display in Lowes Hall and may be viewed during the college’s regular operating hours. Pearson’s writings, correspondence, and other documents are housed in Pardue Library on the second floor of Window World Hall and are available by appointment only.

For additional information, contact:

Image of Christy Earp
Christy Earp, MLIS
Director of Pardue Library/Librarian
Phone: 336-838-6117


Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a competitive federal program that provides six- and seven-year grants to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

GEAR UP’s vision is that all students are academically, socially, and financially prepared to enter and complete the postsecondary program or institution of their choice.

We believe that young people who start planning in middle school have a better chance of entering college and completing their degrees.


  • Increase academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education.
  • Increase high school graduation and postsecondary participation rates.
  • Increase students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and finances.

Programs and Activities

  • Out of school day programs
  • WCC campus tours
  • Collaboration with local schools to provide WCC instructors for programs

Schools Served

College Preparation Resources

Contact Information

Image of Bekah Gardner
Bekah Gardner, MA
Director of College Access
Phone: 336-838-6492

Experience LIFE in Ashe!

Learn something new. Be inspired by others. Enjoy friendships new and old. Be enriched along the way.

Click here to view a brochure of events and activities that you will love. Select dates, buy tickets, register ahead, or just show up and enjoy!