The 2nd Friday Artwalk in Chapel Hill and Carrboro just completed its 10th year, with a total of 127 walks. Founder Karen Shelton, who died in 2009, would be thrilled to know how much fun, joy and accomplishment her inspired idea brings to the community.
Some participating venues recently shared memories of highlights of past 2nd Friday Artwalks.
Phaedra Kelly, ArtSchool director at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, said one Artwalk that stands out for her was this past May’s opening for the ArtsCenter’s Annual Photo Contest Exhibition.
That is in good part because the Best in Show Award in the Youth Category went to a photographer named Lucy Giordano – who is all of four years old.
“Lucy, wide-eyed, was accompanied through the opening by her 8-year-old sister, Milly,” Kelly said. “ Milly, who also had a photograph in the show and also was featured in Lucy’s winning photo, ‘Monkey Girl,’ was so full of pride in her sister and was her constant companion through the opening. It was incredibly touching to watch the two sisters interact.”
Lucy’s winning photo depicts her sister clinging to a tree trunk.
The North Carolina Crafts Gallery has been on the Artwalk since it began in 2002. Two memories in particular stick out for owner Sara Gress.
The first was an Artwalk on December 11, 2009, when the gallery hosted a release party for local pianist Greg McCallum’s CD “Voyage a Paris.”
“I think it was because it was a big accomplishment for Greg with his friends and followers coming to celebrate with him,” Gress said.
Then, this past May, at an artwalk reception for quilter Glenda Alexander, the Durham Ukulele Jam played on the gallery’s back patio. Alexander spent time talking with Artwalk participants about her quilts, but she also found time to join the band for a few tunes on her ukulele.
“It was a fun and unexpected addition to the regular festivities,” Gress said.
One of the fun things about the Artwalk is that it sometimes features venues that aren’t primarily in the business of showing art. Last fall, licensed clinical social worker David Shanks, whose office is right above the Crafts Gallery, did just this.
“One of the things I do is art therapy, and I had this idea to exhibit art that kids had made,” Shanks said. “I also got a few other artists to show their work, and I made it participatory.”
He had paint and canvas on hand, and people came and created, some staying for hours.
“What was really great was seeing parents and kids do art together and watching the interactions between people,” Shanks said. “They were connecting through the art.”
Mira Pawlus, who runs Chapel Hill’s Focal Point Gallery said an Artwalk highlight for her has been hosting the UNC National Press Photography Association student photography winner receptions the last two years.
“It is really fun, with a good crowd of young adults celebrating and anticipating careers and their wonderful futures,” Pawlus said.
Remix art gallery has been open for 14 months, and has been on the Artwalk every one of them. At the celebration of the gallery’s first anniversary this spring, Remix hosted live music – Shaun Dena and owner Jeanmarie Griffin’s daughters Carlitta Durand and Belina Griffin performed along with DJ Taylor Hypnosis.
“During the group’s breaks, DJ still played music and it just so happened that folks wanted to sing, so we went with it,” Griffin said. “Sometimes the things that aren’t planned are the best. A young girl about 12 stepped up to the mic and sang with the voice of a woman, just beautiful.”
It was so much fun that at this Friday’s Artwalk, Griffin will again have an open mic for visitors.
Carrboro’s Beehive hair salon is another one those Artwalk venues you don’t normally think of as a place to see art. Owner Diane Koistinen enjoys all Artwalk nights, but her favorite are the art challenge ones. Every year the Beehive issues a challenge to the community to create works of art based on a particular hair-centric theme, such as beehives, mohawks, mullets, afros, braids, and most recently, ’60s hair.
“We have had some truly incredible stuff show up,” Koistinen said. “When I think about moments that really stand out, the first image that pops into my head are of an artist winning a prize for her art for the first time. She is holding up her art and getting a photo with the prize, and the look of pride is infectious. It motivates us as a venue to keep up supporting artists at all stages in their creative career.”
Find out what you won’t want to miss this Friday night at 2ndfridayartwalk.com