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Friday, October 21, 2011

Craven Allen opens Homegrown under 35 

Artist Jeff Israel...all photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

This Friday, October 21st, Craven Allen Gallery, on Broad Street, opens a show called “Homegrown-Under 35 “ featuring sixteen young artists who all built their foundations in the Durham Public Schools.

Helen Griffin, curator of the show, was the art teacher at Riverside High School for over two decades and worked with all of these artists in their educations. “A teacher’s goal is for the students to go beyond what we teach them,” said Griffin, the 2011-2012 recipient of the Durham Art Guild’s Artist-In-Resident Award, “It’s special when you get to see that happen first hand.”

Artists featured in the show include Chris Alton, Harlan Campbell, Diana Ciompi, Mark Coffman, Jermario Couch, Bryan Crabtree, Jeff Israel, Whitney McDonell, Joe McDonough, Hannah Reed, Damian Stamer, Jacob Streilein, Robert Talley, Lizzie Tucker, Tyson Watson and Leigh Werrell.

A reception with the artists and Ms. Griffin, Saturday night from 5 P.M. to 7 P.M., officially kicks off the exhibition, which will be on display through November 26th.

Craven Allen, 11061/2 Broad St....all photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

A quick preview of the works shows a diverse, impressive collection of mixed media, sculpture, photography, painting, and graphic arts. It is a mélange of challenging works befitting the diversity of Durham. The echoes of this place ring true from scenes of Ninth Street institutions in a snowstorm to much more personal memories and iconography. The rich textured array of images, burbled forth from the wellspring of memories in these young minds: Durham.

The artists’ ages range from 18-35, all in different parts of their careers and creative discoveries, much like what is happening in our dear city, the ideas of ‘emerging’ and ‘established’ are becoming interchangeable. The new is rooted in the old. What is would not be possible without what was. Ms. Griffin’s years in the classroom, and her one time students fruits of their labors, bear literal testament to that truth.

The importance of arts education is a more heated topic than ever for our school systems, with the North Carolina General Assembly cutting $800 million from state public school spending this year alone. Arts programs across the state are under fire. A place like Durham, with our institutions and our individuals, is ever more important as a cultural reservoir, valuing, preserving, nurturing the arts in these challenging times.

“These artists are all homegrown- they all came from here, and part of them will always be here,” Griffin said. “It can be hard for artists to find their niche- but Durham will always be home to them.”

Artist Harlan Campbell...all photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

Craven Allen Gallery is located at 11061/2 Broad Street in Durham. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For more information on the show visit www.CravenAllenGallery.com, or call the gallery at (919) 286-4837.

See more photos of the exhibit here.

Special thanks to Scenes from my Lunch Hour for the photos.

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Jeff Israel rules!
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