Thursday, November 24, 2016

arting around in north carolina!

Last week the North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh, NC hosted their annual Art Lab event for local educators. My friends Sam Peck, David Modler and I were invited to host the art journaling portion of the event. In addition to the three of us, there were quite a few other artists on board to accommodate the area teachers, with the intent to engage folks in a fun and creative learning setting. Hundreds of people showed up that evening, and it was great getting to hang out and work with local, North Carolina educators in visual journals provided by the museum. I think Dave, Sam and I got a lot of perspective and learned a lot by listening to people talk about their teaching, and life experiences, and hopefully visitors were able to take something away as well, after stopping by!

Being so busy that night, I really didn't get much of an opportunity to view the North Carolina Museum of Art's world class collection. So, Kris and I came back the following morning, after a visit to Jerry's Artarama, to have a look around. Luckily, the weather was perfect for walking along the museum's sculpture garden pathway, which turned out to be my favorite part of the visit. The wide array of sculptures, along with the natural surroundings, complimented the museum's beautiful, modernist architecture. I couldn't help taking lots of photographs that morning, and included just a fraction of what I saw, here in this post. The NCMA is definitely one of the coolest and most unique art museums that we've ever been to - definitely a must see. 

After our visit to the NCMA, Kris and I headed out to Hickory, NC to attend the preview opening reception event for one of our favorite artists, Paul Lancaster, at the Hickory Museum of Art. Only a couple of weeks earlier, we got a postcard in the mail from Paul's longtime friend and art dealer, Grey Carter, who runs Grey Carter Objects of Art, inviting us to the opening event. It just so happened that this event was happening the day after the Art Lab event in Raleigh. Of course, this was a no-brainer, attending the opening, so Kris and I made the three-hour drive out to Hickory, from Raleigh, in time for the show. Unfortunately, due to poor health, Paul couldn't be there, however, Mr. Carter did a wonderful job representing the man and his amazing body of work. The exhibit itself is so beautifully arranged, highlighting the spectacular legacy and work of one of the world's most extraordinary self-taught, visionary artists. It was truly a magical night, and I'm so glad Kris and I were able to be there!
The exhibit, called "Innocent and Ethereal - The Visionary Work of Paul Lancaster" will continue to be on display through spring, 2017. 

Later that evening, following Paul's opening, Kris and I talked to folk art collectors and curators Allen and Barry Huffman. Much of their own personal collection was on display in the museum's entire third floor, and the time that Allen and Barry took to show us around and personally share their wealth of knowledge and love for the artists and their work, was nothing short of a treat. 

Since the museum, now a converted former high school, had so much to see and do, Kris and I went back the following day, which also happened to be their annual open house and arts and crafts fair event. Even though we had spent a good deal of time there, I still feel like we didn't see it all. If only we lived closer to this beautiful place. One of the highlights was an exhibit featuring the paintings of artist Pat Viles, whose work was so prolific and alive with color and energy. I love finding out about artists who I've never heard of before, and hopefully more people will learn about Pat's art in the near future. 

After a few days in North Carolina, Kris and I headed home. We had the pleasure of staying at Hickory's Holiday Inn Express, which made our stay all the more enjoyable. In the meantime, if you love art and are in the NC area, don't hesitate to visit the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Hickory Museum of art - two very different and remarkable museums with something for everyone.