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CURRENT Opening Electrifies Downtown Chapel Hill Arts

Downtown Chapel Hill gained an exciting new arts venue with the February 2 opening of the  CURRENT™ ArtSpace + Studio on Franklin Street.CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio Presented by California Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina, the 7,000-square-foot space houses both an adaptable black box-style theater and multi-purpose studio. The facility is designed to feature immersive and co-creative arts experiences, including interactive theater and full-scale installations by exciting and emerging artists. CURRENT™ will also serve as Carolina Performing Arts’ physical and intellectual home for world-class artists-in-residence to collaborate with faculty, researchers, students, and the community.

The new venue,  strategically located in the new, mixed-use development adjacent to both the UNC campus and the vibrant downtown shopping and dining district, is distinguished by its unconventional, flexible architecture. The 3,000-square-foot Studio features three floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Carolina Square outdoor space, passersby can peek in to see dance rehearsals, artist lectures, and much more.

Photo & Caption, University Gazette: The CURRENT venue features one wall that is all glass and seating that can go anywhere (one side to four sides)—or nowhere (completely retractable).

The Studio is also a new home for the Carolina Performing Arts artists-in-residence to develop their work in collaboration with others. The theater space can accommodate many different configurations, depending upon the needs of a particular event, from artist talks to post-performance gatherings, creative workshops, and many other artistic and community events.

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Emil Kang, Executive and Artistic Director of UNC Performing Arts and Special Assistant to the Chancellor at UNC, speaks at the Opening Ceremonies.

The CURRENT™ opening ceremonies included a tour of the inaugural Sound Maze installation by artist Paul Dresher. Sound Maze is a hands-on art experience featuring more than a dozen giant musical instruments invented by Dresher. Visitors were invited to wander through and discover new ways of creating sound with these fantastical instruments. Opening events included works involving audience participation (“We are Gob Squad and So are You,” and “Revolution Now” by Gob Squad) ; activist hip-hop performance (Boots Riley and the Coup); and contemporary theatre (“The Fever” by 600 Highwaymen).

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