We are facing a pandemic; and it's the first emergency of its kind to impact the United States in the way we're currently witnessing and experiencing. Many people are under stay-at-home mandates; and we all are practicing social distancing and extreme hygiene in order to curve the spread of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
I miss being able to freely go out and about. During this time, however, I am grateful for good health and provision. I am grateful for my family and their safety, and the opportunity to slow down and continue to stay productive from home. I am also prayerful for the healing of the earth and anybody who is ill. As an introvert, my regular routines haven't been interrupted a whole lot. However, shopping at the grocery store has become somewhat of a sport and making a quick run to the arts and crafts is not at all possible. One thing I miss very much is going to see art exhibits. Viewing others' artwork is something I really enjoy and appreciate about the community I am blessed to be surrounded by and a part of. Getting lost in creation seems to lift my spirit and helps me empathize and better engage with important topics and issues.
As this pandemic gets more serious, I feel the need to get lost for a moment and reflect on things that lift my spirit (and also purge my camera roll in the process). Thankfully stepping outside for a few minutes of fresh air and sounds of nature's activity has been a good source of relief lately. This post will highlight 14 spaces showcasing art that I've visited over the last year and a half or so, through a collection of photos and descriptions. Some of these places are still around and some are not, unfortunately. Also, some are more accessible than others, but read on for more and enjoy!
1. Dix Park Flower Cottage, Private Showcase
This space is not open to the public, but it is used for Dix Park Conservancy-related events and meetings; and because I am a new member of their team, I recently got an exclusive tour of the space and will be visiting it more often in the upcoming year. It is extremely beautiful. I attended an event on the field behind the cottage in March 2019; and I admired the building and landscaping from outside, not having a clue that I'd be inside of it within the next year. The walls of the conference and common room are decorated with artwork by Artists Thomas H. Sayre and Damian Stamer, which can be viewed in the images below.
2. City of Raleigh Museum
Immediately following my second interview, which happened to fall on a snow day and took place in the aforementioned Flower Cottage... I decided I would spend my "day off" learning more about the history of Dix Hill. I had read so much online already and heard there was a permanent exhibit on display in downtown Raleigh. It made perfect sense to go check it out! The photos below are from the trip I took that February afternoon to see this exhibit.
3. NC Museum of History
I went to see an exhibit that featured the art of Ernie Barnes in March 2019. His style is renown due to his "Sugar Shack" piece that was often seen in the popular, classic television show Good Times and also served as a Marvin Gaye album cover.
4. Durham Art Guild's SunTrust Gallery
At the beginning of each Spring, DAG hosts its annual "Swing Into Spring" fundraiser auction. The photos below are from March 2019. This year's event was planned to take place on Friday, March 27th again at the SunTrust Gallery, but it was moved online with all that is going on right now. Moving to the virtual world allowed a one-night event to stretch to over a week long. The auction is LIVE here until Monday, April 6th. Please check it out and consider supporting through a bid or donation!
5. The Scrap Exchange's Cameron Gallery
6. Art Therapy Institute
I visited the Art Therapy Institute (ATI) on March 14, 2019. I heard about them for the first time through a news article in the Durham Magazine that featured Ivana Vazquez, an Arts Entreprenuer whose company's proceeds would partially be donated to ATI. I was impressed with her mission and eventually met her, but first wanted to see what ATI had to offer. I had grown to be very interested in the scientific connection between art and therapy, so I reached out and planned a visit to see their space, located in Carrboro, NC. I was happy to have met their Programs Coordinator at the time, Allison. I asked a bunch of questions about their workshops, the certification process and educational journey to becoming an Art Therapist, and captured some photos (pictured below) of the exhibit they had up at the time from the Exceptional Children's Art Therapy Program. Enjoy!
7. Anchorlight Raleigh
March 2019 must have been a very social month for me because it's also when I attended Artist Alexandria Clay's reception for her first solo show, Colored Me. It was good to see familiar faces and get to know new ones, so I was very glad to have attended. I even supported by purchasing a #ColoredMe Tshirt. A few photos of the exhibit are shown in the gallery below.
8. Anchorlight Wilmington
Some months later, I found out Anchorlight had created a Wilmington location and would be exhibiting a show called Paradigm Shifts of Public Spaces: Wilmington tackling a historical, but hushed event that took place in 1898- The Wilmington Race Riot or also known as the Wilmington Insurrection, the Wilmington coup or the Wilmington Massacre [all of 1898]. I had missed a number of local screenings of a documentary called Wilmington on Fire that presents a narrative of what happened in the days leading up to the event, the day of, and even after the devastation. Before heading on a solo trip to the beaches of Wilmington and to check out the art show, I made sure to watch the film for myself and do some of my own research. In the end, I am so glad this show was up in Wilmington and I was happy to have finally visited the area and seen the nearby Wrightsville Beach. I even wore my #ColoredMe Tshirt from the previously mentioned solo art show (pictured to the left). Again, a few images from the exhibit are in the gallery below.
9. The Carrack - now closed
I attended a group art show, curated by a bunch of amazing people... again in March 2019. The show was at Durham's beloved Carrack and called It's Complicated and was a project featuring works that explored love and intimacy. My favorite piece was a poem about Elotes, which I still have yet to try (maybe I will DIY them during this quarantine if I find a good recipe). Indy did a blurb about it here and a few photos from the closing reception/artist talk are below.
10. Pleiades & Duke's Rubenstein "The Ruby" Arts Center
The Hidden Voices' Serving Life exhibit made its way to The Ruby in January 2019, and I had the pleasure of lettering quotes for the walls again. Before heading to The Ruby, the show also was at Pleiades in October 2018, which was located in downtown Durham at the time, but has since closed its physical space. Some exhibit photos in both spaces both during lettering install and afterwards while at the reception are in the gallery below.
11. 21C Museum's The Vault Gallery
Photos below are from my Hidden Voices' colleagure, William Paul Thomas' solo art exhibition Disrupting Homogeny. It was showing in their space for months, so I had a chance to see it more than once. The first two images were taken in January 2019 during Third Friday Durham and the last in May 2019. More information about the show can be found on 21C Museum site here.
12. Las Vegas' Seven Magic Mountains
I took a quick and much-needed getaway trip in November 2019 with my buddy, Alicia; and it was everything I needed. My first experience in Las Vegas and hearing that I went at the perfect time (it wasn't too hot), I fell in love with the warmth of the dessert. We tried to research and plan for things we wanted to do during the trip and before even touching down, we both agreed and KNEW that Seven Magic Mountains was on the must-do/must-see list. It did not disappoint, and I'm so glad I got to experience this. Images below, many taken by Alicia.
13. Denver's Public Art Scene & Museum of Contemporary Art
I went to Colorado for the first time in April 2019 as an attendee of the U.S. Exchange Alumni's Career Connections Seminar. I had always wanted to visit Colorado, but had applied to attend the seminar only because I heard about one they were doing in Raleigh on THE DAY it was happening. I was simply testing my luck to see if I'd be allowed to attend that local session. Unfortunately I wasn't, but I did receive an email weeks later congratulating me for being selected to attend the professional development seminar in Denver. It was new program being implemented by Partners of the Americas in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. I was thrilled, so I had to figure out how I'd get there and back.
Thankfully, it happened with the help of my framily. There was so much to experience during event, but I was grateful to have made friends (pictured above) who wanted to explore the city by light-rail or Uber/Lyft and even see an art museum before heading home. Photos in the slideshow below contain lots of public art images and many from the Museum of Contemporary Art at Denver (MCA Denver). Enjoy!
14. Duke's Rubenstein "The Ruby" Arts Center
Last, but not least on this list is the Invisible Organ exhibit I checked out on a Saturday afternoon in March 2019. I took so many photos because I went in knowing I didn't have enough time to take in the whole show in one visit. I heard about the show through someone I met at a business workshop in Wake County who emailed me to specifically tell me about it and suggest I connect with one of the artists featured in this group show. I wanted to make sure I had images to share with her to let her know that I was able to see it before it came down, but it also birthed the original idea of this post. An entire slideshow of images can be found below. Enjoy!
One additional space as a bonus...
While browsing American Tobacco Campus (ATC) one day in March 2019, I walked past these Keith Haring pieces on the wall. His work is very well known, so it was a pleasant surprise to come across these. I used to go to ATC daily years ago when I worked at the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham. Oh, life is a funny thing! That's all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed this post; and as always... feel free to leave any comments or thoughts in the section below. Until next time... take care!
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