Posts Tagged ‘Waterworks Visual Arts Center’

A trip to Salisbury, NC, for a 2nd Saturday Art Gallery & Studio Crawl on Sept. 11, 2010

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

It was hard to imagine how many major art events were scheduled for such a historic day in America’s recent history, but you can’t control the calendar and I chose to visit Salisbury, NC – in the daylight for once. Salisbury is the latest area to come on board to the Carolina Arts family, so I wanted to go and have a first hand experience of the visual art community there.

And, I can tell you right off – Salisbury is a very nice small city with a very big footprint when it comes to the visual arts. I would encourage those interested in the visual arts to go there for one of the 2nd Saturday events, but I think a trip there on any day would be a good adventure. I saw a lot of interesting places and shops I would like to visit.

Road To Salisbury

I decided to travel to Salisbury by interstate highways and then return by way of Hwy. 52. It took me just under an hour to get to I-26 from my front door, the cost you pay living out in the country, but once I reached the highway it way just short of a total of 4 hours to Salisbury. I left at 9am and reached Salisbury just before 1pm, traveling on I-26 to Columbia, SC, and then picking up I-77 to Charlotte, NC, where I got on I-85 heading toward Salisbury. I might have made it sooner if not for all the people traveling the interstate highways for college football games. They were everywhere.

The day was overcast and a light rain started by the time I reached I-85, but it was off and on and the lighting would be good for photographs. My mission was two fold – visit the art crawl and photograph some of the 2010 Salisbury Sculpture Show.

Rowan Arts Council

I had decided my first stop would be the Rowan Arts Council – a good bet for general information about the art community. As I drove up to the area, parked and got out of the car, I could hear the event had already started. The Salisbury Swing Band was in full swing welcoming visitors to the art crawl. At the Arts Council I found a map of Salisbury, a larger map of the Art Crawl than was printed in our paper (which I always carry with me) and a map of the Sculpture Show, among other items.


The Rowan Arts Council, Rail Walk Studios & Gallery, and Looking Glass Artist Collective share the same building located on N. Lee Street, between E. Liberty Street and E. Kerr Street. While listening to the swing band I strolled from one artist’s studio to the next at Rail Walk Studios and Gallery.


Some artists like working alone, but I have to think that there is some advantage to working in a complex where artists can network and bounce ideas off each other. Rail Walk Studios looked like it would be a nice place to work.


Between Rail Walk Studios and the Looking Glass Artist Collective, anyone should be able to find any kind of artwork they were interested in – in any medium. The Collective includes a display gallery, classrooms, and a black box theatre area that can also be used as an exhibit space.

These art venues are located in old warehouse spaces, so one of the advantages is that they have large loading doors that open on the street which come in handy when events like the Art Crawl take place. And, I learned later in the day that Salisbury also has a very popular first Friday event – where I’m sure these large doors are put to use.

Waterworks Visual Arts Center


My next stop was the Waterworks Visual Arts Center on E. Liberty Street, not far from the Rowan Arts Council – well within walking distance if you wanted to stay on foot, but because of the light rain I was traveling by car. It should be noted that throughout the day I never had any problems finding a parking space, but it should also be noted that Saturday it was raining and it was the first college football weekend in the Carolinas. And, we all know how much folks like their college football in the Carolinas.

Back when we first started doing Carolina Arts in 1997, I was traveling to deliver papers to Salisbury and one of my stops was the old location for the Waterworks Visual Arts Center which was housed on the old Salisbury waterworks building. This was my first visit to the new facility.

The Waterworks offers exhibitions under the heading of a theme. The current theme was History Makes Art, offering four exhibits which highlight and honor the rich historical heritage of Rowan County, demonstrating the community’s long-standing reverence for art and its continuing wealth of talent and creativity. I was seeing that for myself on this trip.

The four exhibits included: Collaboration with Historic Salisbury Foundation, featuring artwork and artifacts from the foundation’s collection; Reminders of History, featuring paintings by Marina Konovalova-Bare; Site Seeing, featuring ceramic sculptures by Lin Barnhardt; and A Vintage View of Today’s South, featuring photographs by R. Wayne Wrights. All four exhibit will remain on view through Nov. 20, 2010.

For me, these exhibits helped fill in some blanks as to what Salisbury and the area were all about and created more questions, which is good – it will bring me back again. Of special interest to me was actually getting to see some of Lin Barnhardt’s ceramic sculpture up close. Over the last decade, Barnhardt has always let Carolina Arts know where he is having exhibitions and he’s had them all over the Carolinas, but this was the first time I was actually seeing them beyond postcards and electronic images in e-mails. They were better than I imagined.


They wouldn’t let me take photos other than a general wide view of the exhibit space so I e-mailed Barnhardt to see if I could get some close up images and I did.

Rainbow Row and a detail


Salisbury Train Depot and detail


The real Salisbury Train Depot

It was interesting seeing sculptures of buildings in Charleston, SC, that I knew well, Rainbow Row and Catfish Row and the Salisbury Train Depot, which I saw up close when I left the Waterworks. It’s amazing seeing these structures in 3-D form. Some offered a better view of the buildings than you would get if you were standing in front of the actual buildings. You’re really getting an enhanced bird’s eye view. You can learn more about Barnhardt at his website (

2010 Salisbury Sculpture Show & Discovered Treasures

From the minute I left the Waterworks Center I was on the hunt for photos of the 2010 Salisbury Sculpture Show. I found one right outside the Waterworks and one around the corner by Gretchen Lothrop, an old acquaintance who lives in Pittsboro, NC. Lothrop’s sculptures can be found all over the Carolinas. I can usually identify a work as being one of her’s – about 95% of the time. Wayne Trapp’s sculptures, also in this show, is one of the only sculptors that can throw me off picking a Lothrop on sight.

A Subtle Miracle by Gretchen Lothrop of Pittsboro, NC

Steel Inverted Arch by Kenneth Thompson of Blissfield, MI

We Are the Problem, We Are the Solution by Jeannette Brossart of Durham, NC

Cattail Bridge by Jim Gallucci of Greensboro, NC

My tour of the Sculpture Show took me around different parts of downtown Salisbury. Near a piece by Jim Gallucci of Greensboro, NC, I discovered a hidden gem. On a lot across from Gallucci’s piece on S. Lee Street, between E. Fisher Street and E. Bank Street, I found what I would describe as an outdoor art garden. It may have been part of a previous sculpture show or some other art event, but it was an unexpected delight – falling right in with the idea that Salisbury is a city with art in its heart.




Over on W. Fisher Street tracking down a few more sculptures, I ran into Salisbury’s Historical Mural, a 6,000 sq. ft. work created by Salisbury native Cynvia Arthur Rankin which depicts the town at the turn of the century. She created the mural over a four year period from 1978-1981. That’s quite a canvas to work with. Rankin and fellow artist Diane Monday are in the process of “touching up” the mural, a process necessary every 3-5 years.


You can check out the entire 2010 Salisbury Sculpture Show at this website (

Pottery 101

One place I really wanted to get inside of was the gallery Pottery 101, located at 101 South Main Street. The gallery represents more than 25 North Carolina artists, including the owner/artist Cheryl Goins.

During the last 3-4 months that I’ve been delivering papers to Salisbury I’ve been leaving nose prints on this gallery’s windows trying to see all the wonderful pottery inside. I was itching to get inside and now I was. This newly renovated space was a beautiful house for so much beautiful pottery. It was a feast for the eyes. The only complaint I had was that the potters were not identified and there were no prices posted.

I’m not a shy guy when it comes to art and I asked what I wanted to know, but I know many folks won’t. I understand why galleries practice this “ask for info” policy, but even window shoppers like to know the who and how much of things. This may not be a problem when the gallery is not full of inquiring minds, like the 20 minutes I spent there, but I learned that on the recent first Friday event, people were overflowing outside the gallery. It’s a little hard to get information under those circumstances.

As it turns out, I was pleased to know I could identify a few of the artists’ styles including works by Joy Tanner and Ron Philbeck and learned of new potters, before now unknown to me, such as Amy Sanders and Verna Witt. Witt made interesting vases which had vertical zippers and buttons up the sides, a carry over from the artist’s work with fabric materials – I learned by asking.

The gallery is currently offering the exhibit, A Twist on Tradition, featuring works by Bob Hasselle and Dale Duncan, on view through Oct. 22, 2010.

Robert Crum Fine Art & Off Main Gallery

My last stop of this day was to Robert Crum Fine Art and Off Main Gallery on E. Council Street.


Robert Crum offers paintings (portraits, landscapes, figure studies, still life, and architectural), drawings, and mosaics. There was a very interesting mosaic work based on the Wizard of Oz – several houses piled on top of a witch with ruby slippers sticking out at the bottom. Crum’s studio is open by appointment or chance, so the 1st Friday and 2nd Saturday events are a good time to catch him in.

Right next door at Off Main Gallery is an eclectic collection of paintings, antiques, books, and what not – every inch of space is filled, piled or covered with something. It couldn’t be in more contrast to Robert Crum Fine Art where everything is in its proper place.

The owner and resident artist of Off Main Gallery, Clyde (no last name) is also a contrast to Crum. Clyde has put up a display of mens underwear outside his gallery in the alley between the two buildings drawing attention from curious visitors. Clyde’s a kind of anything goes guy. He did have one interesting painting – a dark night scene of an old house with a lighted window on the second story. It made you wonder what was going on inside, but most of the rest of the paintings all looked the same.

Clyde says decorators love his place and I’m sure they do – you probably could find just about anything in there. I myself prefer the work being offered next door by Robert Crum – I think he takes things a little more seriously. I don’t subscribe to the adage that everyone’s an artist and anything can be art, but that’s a choice we all need to make for ourselves.

Road Back Home

As I stated earlier, I was going to take Hwy. 52 back home, which I knew would be slower taking me through many small towns. First it was Granite Quarry, Crescent, Rockwell and Gold Hill, a place where they discovered gold in North Carolina. When I got to Misenheimer and passed Pfeiffer University a bell went off in my head. There was an exhibit of children’s work on view at Waterworks Visual Arts Center, organized by a professor from Pfeiffer University.

Next, I passed through Richfield and New London before I got to Albemarle, a city close to the size of Salisbury. There was an art center there that I just learned about, but I hadn’t prepared before hand, meaning I didn’t have an address or a Google map, and I was too tired to go exploring.

From there it was Porter, Norwood, Cedar Hill, Ansonville, Wadesboro, Morven, McFairlan and then Cheraw, SC. Once I’m in Cheraw I’m back on one of my regular delivery routes – on my way back home. I know I said I was going back by Hwy. 52, but when I got to Florence, SC, I jumped on I-95 (like a horse running for the barn) and I cut a good half hour off my return trip which lasted a little more than 4 and a half hours, not bad considering all those small towns.

That’s not bad for a day trip, but an overnight stay would have offered a chance to see so much more, but then that might not leave much reason to return, and I’m definitely interested in returning to Salisbury. It’s my kind of town.

Why don’t you go see what you find there?

And, finally I have to again apologize for talking to people when I should be taking more photos, but I’m not trying to take your adventure away from you.

When You Can’t Be Everywhere – Look For Help From Others

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

This month during my normal deliveries of Carolina Arts I had hoped to make a visit to the Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Sailsbury, NC, to see an exhibit of sculptures by Spartanburg, SC, artist, Doug McAbee – a friend of Carolina Arts. I had downloaded maps of Sailsbury (the Waterworks had changed location since I last visited) pinpointed some other gallery spaces in that town, checked and double-checked my digital camera, but my best laid plans were all for nothing.

This was the fourth day of my delivery trip and by the time I finished my last drop in Davidson and crossed over to I-85 and drove up to Lexington and crossed over to Hwy. 64 to Asheboro and then did my delivery in Seagrove – it was going to be four more hours before the doors opened at the Waterworks Visual Arts Center. I was tired and still had a five hour drive back home from Seagrove and going back to Sailsbury would add another two hours back and forth plus the time spent at the arts center. I hated to do it but I bailed on my plans.

I could have delayed my departure time for that day’s delivery, but if you’re not in and out of Charlotte by certain times – you are in for a day of driving on highways that are more like parking lots.

My next shot at catching McAbee’s works will be at the Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, NC, where he will have works in a group show entitled, Child: Being and Remembering, on view from Sept. 11 through Oct. 24, 2009, but in the meantime…

I discovered that someone – much better at reviewing exhibitions had gone to Sailsbury for me. Well, not for me, but for The Winston-Salem Journal. Tom Patterson is one of the best art writers and reviewers left in the Carolinas and he went to see the exhibits at the Waterworks Visual Arts Center and them wrote about them – including the works of Doug McAbee.

I don’t like to make it a habit of taking items from other newspapers, but I’m doing it today and give them full credit for their work and urge you to visit that paper and view the arts reporting Patterson offers at this link.

Here’s the article:

By Tom Patterson Local Columnist
Published: July 26, 2009 in The Winston-Salem Journal and

SALISBURY — Thanks to its consistently varied, generally high-quality exhibitions program, the Waterworks Visual Arts Center continues to distinguish itself among nonprofit visual-art venues in North Carolina’s smaller cities and towns.

The center’s current round of exhibitions, assigned the broadly ambiguous collective title “Color,” spans a typically broad thematic and stylistic spectrum. These shows are on view through Aug. 22, and they’re worth a visit to Salisbury, thanks especially to two of them — a duo exhibition by Charlotte artist Barbara Schreiber and Doug McAbee, a sculptor from Spartanburg, S.C.; and a solo show by Winston-Salem ceramist Sharif Bey.

Schreiber’s and McAbee’s exhibit is tagged with the seemingly self-deprecatory title “Shared Delusions.” In the case of Schreiber’s work, that title alludes primarily to societal delusions about childhood innocence and the influence of mass media. She is represented here by nine different series of narrative-based acrylic drawings (occasionally with silkscreen-printed components) in a cleanly linear style highlighted by bold colors.

In both style and content these works are reminiscent of children’s-book illustrations, and the figures in most of them are solitary children or cutely stylized cartoon animals — kittens, bunny rabbits, teddy bears or birds. Despite visual cues that emphasize protected innocence and insulation from painful realities, a close look at these images reveals their concern with the toughest problems of the adult world — war, poverty, unemployment, extremist violence and everyday stress. This clash of realities — childhood naivete vs. grown-up horrors — provides the thematic foundation for most of Schreiber’s work.

In her “Babydreams” series, a sleeping infant dreams about a terrorist bomb, a mob of torch-wielding teddy bears, a violent car accident and a kitten drowning in quicksand. Each of the girls in her “In a Dark Room” and “What We Learned Today” series are stretched out on the floor of a domestic living room containing a television, generic furniture and a few other objects. The key details in these drawings are the tiny images on the TV sets (a mushroom cloud, the chalk outline of a sidewalk shooting victim’s body) and the objects the children are playing with or holding (a bomb, a martini glass, pills).

A highlight of Schreiber’s show that occupies its own distinctive thematic niche is a sequential series of eight drawings about commercial airline disasters and flight phobias, titled “Final Boarding/The View from 1-A.” For each drawing she has adopted the position of a commercial airline passenger peering out the window alongside a plane’s foremost window seat. In the first five drawings the airplane window frames images of passengers in an entrance-ramp corridor as they prepare to board. But the last three views indicate that something has gone badly wrong, as they show the corridor respectively swarming with headless insects, filled with several feet of water containing a shark and other carnivorous fish, and traversed by a scythe-toting grim reaper.

Sharing a small gallery with Schreiber’s work are eight of McAbee’s painted steel sculptures, whose bright palette recalls plastic children’s toys visually echoes some of the bolder colors in Schreiber’s drawings. Although they’re predominantly abstract, these slick-surfaced sculptures incorporate clear allusions to the human figure in the form of components resembling spindly arms and legs, eyeless heads and, in one case, a giant-size pair of blue, horn-rimmed glasses. These figural components are fused in some pieces with references to architectural forms or industrially manufactured objects. Collectively and individually they convey an impression of cartoonish whimsy, making them likely to be a hit with children.

Occupying an adjacent gallery at the Waterworks are 23 “New Works” by Bey, a ceramic sculptor and assistant professor of art education at Winston-Salem State University. About half of the show consists of functional vessels characterized by striking geometric patterns and designs that reference African art and textile design. The other half is made up of works that extend Bey’s continuing investigation of ceramic beads as a sculptural form and conceptual vehicle. As in other such pieces he has shown in the past two or three years, the hand-crafted clay beads are significantly oversized, and the wearable necklaces they form double as commentaries on social issues involving black identity.

Several of Bey’s clay-beaded necklaces play on the contrast between black-power-era fashions and current hip-hop styles in order to critically engage the conflicting values underlying that contrast. These pieces reference both the traditional African beads often worn by Afro-coiffed black men and women 40 years ago and the gaudy, lavishly priced “bling” jewelry favored by many contemporary hip-hop artists and their fans. The big clocks that served as popular hip-hop fashion accessories a few years ago — typically worn like amulets on pricey gold or silver neck chains — serve as models for large ceramic discs on the beaded necklace pieces in Bey’s “Flav Clock Series,” as well as his smaller necklace titled Mostly White Hero Clock With Minority Modern Master Supplements. The face of its central clock is emblazoned with a photo-transfer close-up of Picasso’s face, while its smaller beads bear photo-transfer portraits of lesser-acclaimed black or Hispanic artists.

Running concurrently at the Waterworks are a duo exhibition by painters Whitney Peckman and Marge Loudon Moody; a small selection of outdoor metal pieces by Winston-Salem sculptor Don Green; and a small selection of lively, promisingly imaginative paintings and drawings by Hannah Thompson, a Rowan County high-school student who recently received a $1,000 “Dare to Imagine” award from the Waterworks.

Works by Barbara Schreiber, Doug McAbee, Sharif Bey, Whitney Peckman, Marge Loudon Moody, Don Green and Hannah Thompson are on view through Aug. 22 at the Waterworks Visual Arts Center, 123 E. Liberty St., Salisbury. For more information, call 704-636-1882.