Collaborative gallery breathes creative life into Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street

by Melinda McKee

You may have noticed Raleigh’s warehouse district enjoying an artistic resurgence recently, from the Contemporary Art Museum setting up shop in April, to the Visual Art Exchange’s planned move this fall. They join, of course, several other galleries who’ve been paving the way for a cultural renaissance in the Martin Street area.

Fortunately for local art lovers, though, downtown Raleigh isn’t the only region experiencing a creative facelift these days. Hillsborough Street, once home to bulky construction equipment and disruptively churned-up pavement, is now poised to reclaim its place as a destination of choice along the city’s western edge — particularly due to one of its newest inhabitants, the Roundabout Art Collective.  The 2-month-old gallery is the new home for 25 Triangle-area artists, whose creations come in an array of forms: glass, paintings, jewelry, metal, mixed media, pottery, apparel, furniture, sculpture, wood and photography grace the gallery’s 1,250 square feet.

Roundabout artists, Susan Dahlin and Anna Ball Hodge, model Roundabout t-shirts.

Local painter Susan Woodson (also known as NCSU’s First Lady, wife of Chancellor Randy Woodson) heads the Collective as its founding president. Susan was first inspired to start the group while taking a painting class last summer at Pullen Park. “As our class watched the final construction on Hillsborough, I thought — what a great opportunity to grow the arts by encouraging folks to rediscover Hillsborough Street, and to help promote local artists,” says Susan.   “I think Hillsborough Street is such a great welcoming to NC State, but there was nothing there to promote the great art scene already happening in Raleigh. My main goal was to bring that thriving appreciation of the arts up to Hillsborough Street.”

Of, By and For the Community

Located across the street from NC State’s iconic Belltower, the Roundabout Art Collective looks forward to a lively relationship with the university community, including the College of Design and the Gregg Museum of Art & Design.  In addition to taking home fine pieces crafted by regional artists, local community members will be able to enjoy numerous events hosted by the Collective, from pottery workshops and art lectures to poetry readings and woodworking classes.

“The Roundabout Art Collective is a fantastic retail addition to Hillsborough Street,” says Jeff Murison, executive director for the Hillsborough Street Community Services Corporation. “The amazing, locally created works of art help establish Hillsborough Street as a destination for arts, learning, creativity and fun.  We are thrilled they’re here and helping expand our merchant base, and connecting the community with a destination on Hillsborough Street.”

A Creative Co-op

In true collaborative fashion, Roundabout members help staff the gallery by working two days a month (during store hours, two or more artists are always on hand to run the shop and answer questions). They meet monthly to discuss group goals and plan events; members also pay an annual fee, and supply a small commission to the Collective from each sale.  At present, the Roundabout gallery has reached its capacity of artistic works, and so the Collective is not currently looking for additional artists.  In the future they hope to move to a larger space that will accommodate new and different artists.

For those of you who would like to share in Hillsborough Street’s creative awakening, the artists of Roundabout invite you to join their Circle of Friends — in exchange for annual dues of $30, Circle members will receive advance event invitations, occasional purchase discounts and other perks.

The Roundabout Art Collective is located at 2110 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. The gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 11am-6pm (9pm on First Fridays).

Melinda McKee is a nonprofit marketing specialist and creative arts enthusiast from Raleigh, NC.

 

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