Where: Dillon Supply Co building at 210 S. West St.
When: Friday and Saturday, September 14 – 15 (10:00AM – 3:00PM)
Forty different volunteers have shown up on the 200 block of S. West Street in the last two weeks, all with the same goal in mind: to prepare 200 feet of facade on the Triangle Transit-owned Dillon Supply Co. building for a mural celebrating how we move forward together.
When artists Jason Craighead and Patrick Shanahan envisioned the design that begins with children’s handprints and explodes into a skyburst of flying machines before settling back down into rolling North Carolina countryside, they had no idea of the sparks that would fly even before the first little fingers touched the mural.
About a year ago, my husband Jim and I were making a loop from City Market to Wilmington and Hargett Streets. looking for underutilized properties that might serve as canvases for BEST (Beautifying Emerging Spaces Together). Looking through dusty, barred windows at 333 S. Wilmington, we were surprised when a young man came to the door. It was Zack Hodgin, then a Senior design student at NC State, who together with his friends, Brian Besterman and Josh Staab had rented this run down property to open a screen printing shop they called INKandescent. We were immediately impressed with their vision, and equally so with their willingness to do the Herculean work of renovating the property themselves.…[ Read More → ]
The first time my husband, Jim and I sat over lunch with Kriselie and Manuel was a few years ago at Macaroni Grill at Triangle Town Center, not far from our church located north of I-540. They were considering downsizing from their house in the suburbs, and wondered about the appeals of living downtown Raleigh. Flash ahead to now. With a day’s notice, both couples walked a few blocks from the condo buildings we call home, meeting at Natty Greene’s on Jones Street. Now it was our turn to wonder. What would they say, looking back at how their lives have changed? This is our interview with them.…[ Read More → ]
BEST (Beautifying Emerging Spaces Together): Look for our first storefront art at the Hue on February’s First Friday!
In October, I wrote a blog post for the Downtown Living Advocates asking:
Are you an artist, teacher or volunteer, who shares a vision for residents creating community through creativity? Do you own a vacant downtown property that is ripe for a face lift? Together we can transform sidelined windows into magnets for inspiration and activity.
Two months later, I’m ready to introduce BEST, a team of Downtown Raleigh residents, business leaders and artists who have come together with the mission of BEAUTIFYING EMERGING SPACES TOGETHER. Our vision has morphed and grown according to the imagination and individual skills of each person who has joined our table, often over coffee at the Wilmoore Cafe. This seems fitting, somehow. It reminds me of my dad perched along the drug store counter drinking coffee with his friends. I feel the same kind of community in this group, as each person holds up his corner of the conversation.…[ Read More → ]
It’s happening across the country. Whether it’s the WALK (Window Art Local Knowledge) Gallery transforming vacant storefronts on King Street in Charleston, or THE AWESOMEST ART THING EVER that has rejuvenated twelve vacant storefronts in Hartford, artists are coming together to fill windows of neglected city properties with images of hope and possibility. The stated goals of AATE are typical of many of these projects:
Cultivating a new appreciation of the downtown area, encouraging pedestrian activity and engaging the urban environment in a creative dialogue.
I join the DLA and Tipping Paint Artists in holding this vision for Raleigh, and even something more. As residents, we walk by these windows every day and wonder how we can support not just the Raleigh arts and business communities, but create a means of communication and empowerment to Raleigh’s residents of all ages and backgrounds. Given the chance to share their words and images, what would they say?…
When our friend, Angela invited us to join her this week at the newly opened Babylon restaurant (309 N. Dawson St), she described it as “hidden in full sight.” Just a few blocks east of Glenwood South, the building tucked on the west side of Dawson is actually more visible from Lane Street than Dawson. I recognized it immediately as the old mill I had always imagined converted into lofts like Patrick and Demi’s in the movie Ghost. But Samad Hachby’s imagination went a lot further than mine. As in to the other side of the world.
The Greek word Babylon means roughly “Gateway of the God” and that’s what I felt walking through the entranceway into the candle-lit courtyard with stylish wicker tables arranged around a multi-sided reflecting pool, and bar crafted from Moroccan tiles.
Recently our nephew John, a doctoral student at Clemson, visited Raleigh for a chemistry symposium. When asked about his impressions of the Downtown, the first thing he mentioned was the number of people who approached him on the street, asking for money. He is not alone in his feeling of discomfort at being confronted by requests for change. District Captain Kevin Craighead of the Raleigh Police Department mentions that panhandling is the most common concern expressed by Downtown residents. See our previous post “DLA Helps Draft Panhandling Ordinance”.
Many have gotten involved in this issue over time. As early as March 2000, a newsletter of the Historic Glenwood Residents Association discussed possible approaches that residents and businesses could take to meet the growing challenges posed by vagrants displaced from center city park benches and drawn to the development in Glenwood South, “Street people, OUR Neighborhood, YOUR Business”.…[ Read More → ]
Last fall, I found myself in a position of growing my art studio from the lone space I had enjoyed in an apartment building on Glenwood Ave to establishing a presence in a creative community. It was important to me to feel at home in an environment that would appreciate the knowing I had that art was a language of the spirit. It was not just about outcome, but process, as well. Awake at 3:00 in the morning, I got out of bed to look up the link for The Carter Building. What I read there about the creative community inhabiting a building that dated back in the Carter family to the 1920s, lured me to bring my husband with me to tour the space the following day.…[ Read More → ]
Thank you all for your warm response to Raleigh’s new Tuscan restaurant in the Depot area of the Warehouse District. Each time my husband and I drop in, we see tables filled with people like us who are obviously pleased to be the recipients of tru blu hospitality! (Read our recent blog post on this restaurant here.)
Please note that in an effort to avoid confusion with Charlotte’s Blue Restaurant, Maurizio and Patrizia have opted to change their name to Tuscan Blu. This name perhaps even better captures their ability to combine the best of world cultures to create a sense of sitting in a countryside trattoria, or even visiting Italian friends at their table.…[ Read More → ]
It was last Monday at lunch time that my husband and I noticed a new restaurant sign next door to Jibarra, in the Depot area of Raleigh’s downtown Warehouse District. Finding the doors to Jibarra locked, we walked down the porch to explore what might be waiting behind the enigmatic, but enticing sign, Blue.
There we found not just a new restaurant, but people who seemed immediately like old friends. The first question we asked Maurizio Privilegi and his wife, Patrizia was why Blue? And their answer intrigued us. “Blue,” they both chimed in, “It can be Italian.…[ Read More → ]