Lin Barnhardt graduated from Appalachian State University, Boone, NC in 1974 with a BS degree in art education. Undergraduate concentrations were in painting and printmaking. He later attended graduate school at Appalachian obtaining an MA degree.
Barnhardt has taught art at the secondary level in the public schools of North Carolina including ten years at Apex Senior High, Apex, and two years at A.L. Brown High, Kannapolis. He served as a faculty member at Mt. Pleasant Middle School, Mt. Pleasant from 1988-2006.
In May of 1997 Barnhardt began his current approach of incorporating his interests in architecture, sculpture, and painting into one art form. Moose Drug Store, a local icon in downtown Mt. Pleasant, became the subject for his first clay reconstruction.
He received a Regional Project Grant from the Arts Council in 1998. The project centered on churches of Charleston with the series titled - Bird Sanctuaries.
Barnhardt's work later met the approval of the Piedmont Craftsmen selection committee. He juried into the organization in 1999.
After receiving local recognition Barnhardt began entering competitions at the national level. In 2000 his work was accepted into ten exhibitions including "Feats of Clay" in Lincoln, CA.
With the recommendation of Piedmont Craftsmen, the North Carolina Arts Council selected Barnhardt in 2001 along with three other artists from the state to design/create an ornament for the White House. The "J.W. Cannon House" miniature was chosen by the White House staff to be featured on HGTV's Christmas special hosted by Joy Philbin. The film crew spent eight hours filming Barnhardt in his studio/home for the two-minute segment.
The year 2002 brought new direction for Barnhardt's work as he partnered with two of his favorite artists/friends Elsie Popkin and Ginger Spangler on collaborative pieces. To be included in the show "Capehart and Former Students" with retired professor Noyes Long was another highlight.
Having long admired the work of Edward Hopper, Barnhardt began to formulate plans for a new series attributed to subjects once painted by the noted American artist. Numerous letters of inquiry were sent to chambers of commerce, historical societies, and local art groups in search of existing structures. "Edward Hopper's Childhood Home" located in Nyack, NY was an appropriate stop during a trip to New England.
Homage to Hopper was endorsed by the Arts Council in 2003 and awarded funding. Four of the initial tributes included collaborations with Clara Couch, Debra Fritts, and Chuck and Andrea Kennington.
Barnhardt retired from his teaching position in January 2006. Within weeks he was hired as the Visual Arts Director for the Cabarrus Arts Council where he managed The Galleries until fall 2013.
In 2008, Barnhardt began to explore and develop wall relief sculptures. This new genre consisted of "Home Fronts" concentrating on single architectural facades, and "Streetscapes" comparing and contrasting neighboring units. The approach allowed for a combination of front/side views of structures, as well as the proportioning of adjacent buildings.
He has expanded his home studio offerings to include a line of functional birdhouses, feeders, and lanterns, as well as beginning wheel-throwing lessons.