Posts Tagged ‘“creative placemaking”’

Hunt Library – A Disneyland for creativity

By Sarah Dellana, ArtWorks Intern

Stepping through the doors of the Hunt Library, you will think “the future is here!” At least, that was the sentiment shared by many excited students during Hunt Library’s January opening. The library is a spectacle, with a state-of-the-art sustainable building design, over 1,800 seating options, and cutting edge technology that evoke images from science-fiction stories. The library was created to give NC State students a competitive advantage, but luckily, it’s open to community members as well. So what does this Disneyland for creative adults have to offer? Here is a list of some of the resources available at the Hunt library:

One of the many state of the art learning labs at Hunt.

-The Institute for Emerging Issues (I.E.I): a “think and do tank” that works to convene people around complex issues facing the State. Found on the second floor of the library, it features interactive touch screens where people can share their ideas and add it into a database.  (You can also get involved online).

-The Full Immersion Theater: a place to present art exhibits, films, ect. Just plug in your computer and your work will show up on a 7×16 foot display wall. Space should be reserved ahead of time.

-Design and Study Space: complete with printers, copiers, laminators, microfiche readers

-The Game Lab: catering to gamers of all types, this lab has an enormous screen on which to play video games, a control bridge modeled after Star-Trek, and adjustable window tint levels for privacy.

-Teaching and Visualization Lab: create artificial environments using technology. This room could possibly be described as something close to a virtual reality chamber, where visual and audio interactive scenes can be designed and viewed on a screen that covers 270 degrees of wall space.

-The 3D Printer: design 3D objects on one of the provided computers and watch it take form in front of you. The 3D Printer transforms your designs into tangible objects made of EBS plastic.

Sarah Dellana talks to the administrator of the 3D printer.

-Media Production Room: complete with electronic keyboards, turntables, and other curious devices, this is a place where you can make your own videos and musical recordings.

-Creativity Studio: a room full of projectors and movable panels allows you to hook up your computer and project pictures and scenes at any angle.

-TheBookBot (electronically operated book stacks) and Techlending:  These are  not available to the general public, but you can access them by becoming a Friend of the Library, which involves a donation and a $50 annual membership fee to the NCSU Libraries.

Yes, this is a spot in the Hunt Library.


The labs and other resources are only available for use by students, faculty or staff of NCSU, but the library is a place that lends itself to creative thinking and innovation. It is an amazing new resource for the NCSU Community and the Triangle. Words cannot do this place justice, go and explore for yourself!  More information and details can be found here.

Sarah Dellana is our new Marketing Intern here at TriangleArtWorks. She is a junior in Business Administration at North Carolina State University, minoring in English and International Studies.  She is also an art enthusiast, and values creativity in her professional and personal endeavors.



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Durham’s Mercury Studios Includes Artists Spaces.

by India Ali

Megan Jones and Katie DeConto at Mercury Studio.

Katie DeConto and Megan Jones have been faithful Durhamians for a couple of years, but Mercury Studio, located at 407 N. Mangum Street, is new to the scene. With less than two months under its belt, Mercury Studio, like any newborn, is already causing a great stir. Artists and others alike have happily accepted the studio into the community with arms wide open.

Mercury Studio does not meet any standard definition.  Its a co-working space for all types of creative people.  It offers artist studio space, as well as “desk memberships” or “cafe memberships” in the co-working space. It’s art studio meets The Office: a creative, family-like, co-working environment.  A collaborative, cross-occupational mash-up.

This is what DeConto and Jones are trying to achieve in the space that they’ve ingeniously shaped and craft-fully coined Mercury Studio. It is named after the chemical element, because it too is “sensitive to and indicative of its surroundings.” All in all, the studio was simply created to cater to the people.

Artist studio space at Mercury.

During my visit, I asked DeConto and Jones how they felt about their new opportunity to bridge the gap and how/why they had chosen this particular concept. Together they eagerly explained that there are so many wonderful, talented people in the Triangle, that Mercury Studio aims to support the passion of these individuals and small start-ups that do not have a community or workplace in which to collaborate. They want to connect them with one another and give the “9 to 5’ers” an environment where they can pursue their dream career. “We’re very open to sharing our space and are very excited to connect with the community,” DeConto explained. “We want to use it to serve the community and we want individuals to feel free to contact us with any ideas for local collaboration. We came up with the idea because we felt like it was something that Durham could really benefit from.”

It’s a rather simple, yet intelligent and unique idea. Mercury Studio will host public events every third Friday and everyone is welcome to their parties. In July, they will begin a monthly retreat, helping artists to “Refocus.” The space is also used as a gallery, rotating local artwork every month. It’s accessible to its members 24 hours a day.

If all of the above isn’t enough, just take fifteen minutes out of your day to visit the space. You will be sold. It reminded me of a really cool classroom, no boring lectures. The Studio is cleverly filled with local artists’ work and it has great space for independent, free thinking and collaborative work, coupled with a cozy kitchen, comfy sofas, and a fish tank. It felt like a home away from home. Katie DeConto and Megan Jones are onto something uber cool, something refreshingly fresh, that I hope the community continues to support.

For more information on Mercury Studio check out their website or follow them on Twitter @mercury_studio or on Facebook.

India Ali is an Atlanta native and a Durham advocate volunteering at Triangle ArtWorks. Life is her muse; she lives by “desiderata”.  She is currently working on her JD/MBA joint degree at North Carolina Central University, whilst tapping into her chi via painting and poetry. You can contact her by email.


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Help shape the future of the arts in Garner on April 23.

Do you live in Garner?  Do you have ideas for how the Town can be more supportive of its arts community and more welcoming to artists of all disciplines?

The  Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department and Garner Revitalization Association are working together to create a Town that is more supportive to artists and provides more of what they need to succeed; and to promote collaboration between the arts community and the rest of Garner’s business community.

And the best way to start to develop such a plan is to get input from the arts community itself.  So, they inviting local artists and creative professionals  of all disciplines to attend a networking meeting on Monday, April 23 at the Garner Performing Arts Center located at 742 W. Garner Road.  The event will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner and networking, followed by a brainstorming and discussion session from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

As stated in the event invitation, these organizations “are working to grow the impact of the arts on the local economy. To do this effectively, we need your help to understand:

  • Who our local artists are and what they create
  • What resources artists need to create, exhibit, perform or sell more of their works
  • Ideas for events, promotions, markets and other ways to increase awareness of the arts
  • Ideas for collaborations between artists and the business community to spark economic development

All artists are encouraged to attend, including visual artists, performing artists, photographers, creative professionals, hobbyists and anyone interested in helping grow the arts in the Garner community.”

Triangle ArtWorks will be working with these organizations to facilitate the event.  Please join us!  Also, please spread the word to other members of the Garner arts community.


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BEST project transforms empty Raleigh storefronts.

By Jess Moore

BEST is a new initiative in downtown Raleigh that fills unoccupied storefront windows with art. BEST, which stands for Beautifying Emerging Spaces Together, formed late last year with their first installations starting in February 2012.

One of the group’s creative minds is Donna Belt, an interfaith minister, writer, and artist. An advocate for the “transformative value of art in people’s lives,” Belt sees the storefronts as an opportunity to change a negative – empty space – into a positive – a new vehicle for integrating art into daily life.

A goal of BEST is to actively involve the community and include a variety of voices. The first group to hang work in a storefront is ARTHOUSE, a children’s art studio. The window is located at 300 W Hargett St. and includes the children’s work along with quotes from each child speaking about their art. BEST is also creating interactive projects, like constructing a city skyline with sticky notes. The pieces of paper will include quotes from Raleigh citizens describing what they love most about their city.

Many of the people involved in BEST are members of the Downtown Living Advocates, a group of residents interested in the growth of downtown. DLA connects BEST with property owners, most recently helping the group obtain space at 215 S. Wilmington Street.  Formerly the site of the Raleigh Sandwich Shop, the space is now vacant, but the work of artist Patrick Shanahan will soon enliven the windows. He’s creating interior scenes that reflect what the business may have looked like in its prime. His lively paintings, filled with important figures from the past and present, will mask the plywood boards that cover the windows, creating an alternate reality for the historic space.

For more on BEST and information on how to get involved, visit their website.


Jessica Moore is a founder and organizer for the Durham Storefront Project.  Durham Storefront Project organizes installation series in underutilized spaces to highlight the history and architecture of Durham, provide new opportunities for artists and add to the vibrancy of downtown

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ARTS ACTION ALERT! Want a center for arts in Chapel Hill? Let your council know!


Chapel Hill Museum building

Want to help create a vibrant center for arts in Chapel Hill?  A proposal for creation of the “523 Center” in the old Chapel Hill Museum, located at 523 E. Franklin Street, has been submitted to the Chapel Hill Town Council and will be considered at their meeting on May 9.  For more information, and tips on how to show your support for this proposal, read on!


A little background

This idea began after the Council asked the Parks and Recreation Department to get public input into how to use the building, as it was vacant following the museum closing. At a public hearing on December 7, 2010, attended by 70 people, many ideas were presented, but the majority of proposals involved use of the building for some form of arts programming or arts center.  After the meeting, the Town, through its Cultural and Public Arts Department, began using the building as a place to program cultural arts activities and as a meeting space for local community organizations.  As Jeff York, Cultural & Public Arts Administrator for the Town, described, “It really took off.  The place just seemed alive.”  Events included 400 in attendance at the opening of the “Local Histories, The Ground We Walk On” exhibition organized by elin o’Hara slavick, a UNC art professor, as well as regular group meetings, theater rehearsals, and exhibition related lectures.

What is at stake

The issue before the Town Council on May 9 is the continued use of the facility by the Town’s Cultural and Public Arts Department for programming.  Specifically, the Town’s Public Arts Commission has requested a budget allocation of  $78,500  to continue operating 523 E. Franklin Street as a cultural arts venue for 2011-12.  The proposed budget covers staffing, operations, programming and utilities, but does not include funds for maintenance and repairs.

See the Proposal to the Council, a summary of public comments, as well as the “Cultural Arts and 523 building Concept Statement” here.

The issue was presented to the Town Council at their last meeting but tabled for the May 9 budget meeting. While there was support for the proposal, there were concerns raised by some council members.

The Town of Chapel Hill has very limited space for arts programming.  At this point, the Cultural and Public Arts Department uses space in the Town Hall and other town buildings, and the Town provides some monetary support for the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, but the Town has no space dedicated to the arts.  The 523 E. Franklin building gives them the dedicated space needed to expand their programming.   In comparison, other towns in the Triangle have created or are creating arts centers (ArtSpace, Sertoma, Pullen, CAM in Raleigh, and the Durham Arts Council building, Cary‘s new arts center, etc.) and are not only benefitting from the programs and events offered at these spaces, but are also benefiting economically from the vibrancy these spaces add to their towns and the visitors they attract. Chapel Hill simply needs such a facility.  The Creative Community needs to get behind the Cultural Arts Office and support this effort.

How to show your support!

Individual action works and this is especially true at the local level.  Your elected officials want to know how their constituents feel about an issue.  So, if you live in Chapel Hill and support the continued use of 523 E. Franklin by the Cultural and Public Arts Department, call, write or email your city council and Mayor NOW.  Here is their contact information.  It’s easy and quick to do.

Don’t know what to say?  You can tell them a personal story about how the arts in Chapel Hill have benefited your family or business and that you want more of it.  Or you can simply tell them that you support use of 523 E. Franklin as an arts center.  Making the contact and registering your support of this effort is the most important thing, it is not how well you say it.

523 Franklin as part of growing arts programming in Chapel Hill

523 Franklin is part of the Cultural Arts Concept Statement submitted by the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission to the Council in its last meeting. Although this Statement only talks about future possibilities, and with the current economy it is not clear when such programs could move forward,  the retention of the use of 523 Franklin is key to the future of arts and culture programming in Chapel Hill.  Jeff York sees the creation of the space as an arts incubator.  As he writes in his Concept Statement.

The Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission recognizes that 523 East Franklin Street is a desirable facility in which to test and refine many elements of a cultural arts program. One concept for launching a cultural arts program at 523 East Franklin is that of an arts incubator that would be a community-based public resource, flexibly managed, collaboratively programmed, and innovative in spirit. The 523 Arts Incubator would support existing and emerging artistic ventures in a growing art community that both nurtures local arts traditions and seeks understanding through the arts of Chapel Hill’s place in region, nation, and world. As a community-based public resource, the 523 Arts Incubator will be available for exhibitions, cultural activities, meetings, programs, and events related to its mission. The facility and programs will be flexibly managed and open to both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Collaboration will be encouraged, including public-private partnerships.

Collaboration as key to future use

As noted in the concept statement, the Town sees collaboration with public and private entities as an important component of the future use of the 523 Franklin building.  If the continued use of the building is approved by Council, the Town Arts Department is currently working with elin o’Hara slavik on an agreement for slavik to oversee use of and curate part of the building for shows and to allow students to learn the business of art administration and curation.  Under this agreement, slavik’s time would be paid for by UNC, which would save the town money, while allowing the space to be open longer and more programming for the Town to enjoy.



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