Tuesday, October 23, 2012
We started at the Craven-Allen Gallery on Broad Street. It is always a friendly neighborhood place. And it was no surprise to run into several someones we know. One can beam with pride at our local artistic talent in Durham. The 10th Annual Watts-Hillandale Art Walk and the Craven-Allen are showcasing a passel of it over the next month. We got to have good conversations with a couple of talented Durham artists, Corinne Fox and Kathryn DeMarco, whom, if you will forgive us a moment of inside baseball, we are glad is to hear is on the mend.
When we arrived downtown around 6.30pm, it was buzzing.1 The Durham Arts Council hosted the Southeastern College Art Conference Annual Juried Art Exhibition in all three of their galleries. The place was packed with artists and supporters. Jazz music cascaded over the balcony and drinks flowed freely. It was a nice look for Durham, the Clarion Content got to have a number of conversations with out-of-towners, from places like Savannah, about what a hip town Durham was (and in many cases, had become since they were last here).
We hit the "Facade of Aves" exhibit by Gillian Rose Galdy. It was another packed room, shoulder-to-shoulder upstairs, at what many people affectionately refer to as "Dan's Place," but is in fact more formally titled the "Durty Durham Arts Collective." It is the second floor of #305 E. Chapel Hill Street, the mysterious stairwell right next to Through this Lens is the entrance. One of Galdy's works sold while we were there, always exciting. And we traipsed further into the backroom than we ever had before, encountering a conclave of Durham writers including the gifted Chris Vitiello, who's poem we had read on the wall only moments earlier. There was also a fabulous essay about a dog who had bit its own tail off, and yet still loved life, by Sandeep Bala2
From there it was on to The Carrack where the fantastic curator and co-owner, Laura Richie, finally got a day off after their triumphant auction. The works of Steve Silverleaf were on display. Colors lit up the room. A friend of the Clarion Content snapped a picture of the bright, wild, incredibly massive, wall-sized custom installation piece that Silverleaf had made that very week specifically the show. (See below.) The co-owner of The Carrack, John Wendelbo, bent our ear about his plans to continue his dynamic trajectory, marshaling public support for Art in Durham.
Steve Silverleaf's wall size custom installation
The Clarion Content, too, has been doing some thinking about that, who are the patrons of the arts in Durham?
While pondering this question we hopped out to Goldenbelt, the Cordoba Center for the Arts, and its tenants, the Scrap Exchange3 and Liberty-Arts, all clustered in a burgeoning knot of East Durham development that is slowly spreading outward from its core.4
One of the highlights of the evening were the "City Farm" animals of Jonathan Bowling at Liberty-Arts. They included a life-size horse and pig built out of twisted metal. Another magical, or perhaps in light of Halloween, phantasmagorical creature, a huge bug, that was bigger than a dog caught all eyes. And of course, there was the unnamed Bull that was made both in homage to our beloved Major the Bull, and with his co-creater, Mike Waller.5
Liberty Arts glassblower, George-Ann Greth was helping kids blow their own orange glass pumpkins. The warmth of the furnace and the intimacy in the air formed a mystical alchemy which lit up youthful eyes as they watched their pumpkins take shape.
From there the Bull City Connector makes a straight-line to The Federal which we will neither confirm nor deny we followed.
1There are still places to park if you know where to go, but there won't be for long at this rate. But that's a whole other article... We are planning a series on Durham and development soon.
2We found the name of the author. Now we can only hope we are spelling it correctly.
3There was a thought provoking show in The Scrap Exchange's Green Gallery called of "a small and curious nature" by Tamara Galliano Bagnell. It re-imagined every day objects and the narratives behind them through the work of a mother and the eyes of her young son.
4We heard that the second floor for the Cordoba Center for the Arts has hosted a fashion shoot (not ours) and a music video shoot in recent weeks. We also noticed that Durham Community Media had moved into the Cordoba Center.
5Yes folks, the rumors are true, the low-hangers really do swing. Cojones del toro indeed.