By Teri Saylor
From anywhere in downtown Raleigh, pedestrians can follow a series of stickers leading to a grand façade on Martin Street in the historic warehouse district where contemporary art unfolds. Once a dream and now a reality, the new Contemporary Art Museum will bring contemporary art to life and serve as an anchor in Raleigh’s historic Warehouse District. “The city has been very supportive,” said Rosemary Wyche, the museum’s director of development and communications. Wyche believes the museum will be a focal point for a growing arts community and a catalyst for more art venue development.
An old nondescript building in downtown Raleigh is barely recognizable today. In the 1920s Brogden Produce occupied this warehouse. Later it became a paint store. Today, the transformation is complete, and the public will be able to explore the space the last weekend in April, when it officially opens for business. More on the opening weekend festivities can be found on CAM’s website.
CAM Raleigh is not a collecting museum, Wyche said. Curators will fill spaces by reaching out to artists they wish to invite. The museum already has artists lined up to exhibit after the current exhibitions close. Elysia Borowy-Reeder, the CAM Raleigh’s new executive director, takes the reins on May 17.
CAM Raleigh will also be the only area museum with a dedicated gallery for emerging artists and designers. These emerging artists will have their own home in CAM Raleigh, in the Independent Weekly Gallery. Through exhibiting emerging artists whose work is still in progress and fresh from the studio, the museum supports early career contemporary artists in an atmosphere where they are encouraged to foster a cross-fertilization of ideas and dynamic interaction with visitors. CAM Raleigh celebrates the diversity of artistic expression and places the artist at the center of the community. Art lovers from all walks of life will often have a chance to meet and exchange ideas with the artists this series celebrates.
Developed through a partnership between the community and NC State University’s School of Design, CAM Raleigh was designed by the architectural team of Clearscapes and Brooks + Scarpa. CAM Raleigh’s inaugural exhibits feature artists Dan Steinhilber of Washington, DC in the main gallery. New York-based Naoko Ito is the first artist featured in the Independent Weekly Gallery Emerging Artists Series.
Since 2006, the NCSU School of Design has conducted a popular children’s design camp for middle school-aged children. Starting the summer, CAM Raleigh will serve as the week-long camp’s headquarters. Determined to keep kids involved, museum staff have been teaching a team of kids to be docents to lead visitors through the museum during opening weekend.
Truly a people’s gallery, the museum opens its doors to adults and kids alike. General admission is $5.00, but visitors will be admitted for free during opening weekend. Regular hours will be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m until 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. On the first and third Fridays each month, hours extend to 9 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday. Space is available for workshops and meetings, and groups can rent the museum for special events. It is located at 409 W. Martin Street.
Teri Saylor is a freelance writer and photographer in Raleigh. Follow her tweets @terisaylor or contact her by email.
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Tags: CAM, contemporary art, Contemporary art museum, Raleigh, visual arts