NC Arts Council | Artful Living


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I ♥ the Arts in February

That warm feeling you're craving this month doesn't have to come solely from chocolate, hearts and candy. North Carolina is heating up with opportunities to experience music, dance, craft and literary events to satisfy every interest.

February is also Black History Month, and with African Americans making up nearly one quarter of our state's population, there are ample opportunities to honor and enjoy the artistic contributions they've made to our lives. In this issue, learn about artists who have achieved historic firsts, earned international acclaim and continue to add their brilliance to our state's cultural identity.

In addition to finding African American artistic highlights happening throughout our state this spring, you can also explore Black History Month events at state historic sites, museums and libraries at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources' website.

N.C. native and internationally renowned writer, poet and dramatist Reynolds Price is being honored this spring with a rarely seen trilogy of his plays at Triad Stage as well as reading, discussion and visual arts events happening throughout the Greensboro area. Share your recollections of Price and his works for the chance to win a copy of Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont, written by Georgann Eubanks, which features excerpts of Price's writings on Asheboro, Roxboro, Warrenton and more. Visit for more details and for the opportunity to share your remembrances. 

-David Potorti
Literature Director and Arts Editor


African American Contributions to the Arts

Which eastern N.C. town can you visit that gave birth to the musical mainstays of the James Brown band? Where can you find a historical marker honoring the author of the first book ever written by a slave — or any Southern African American? Where can you see a National Historic Landmark that recalls the furniture workshop of a renowned free African American furniture craftsman?

From music to dance, visual arts to theater and craft to literature, African Americans have made outstanding contributions to the arts in N.C. Experience the places they lived, enjoy their musical legacy and contemplate their words with our guide to African American Contributions to the Arts. Also view excerpts from the 11th African American Cultural Celebration at the Museum of History in Raleigh.


African American Cultural Events to Enjoy in North Carolina

Boo Hanks CD

Durham's John Brown Quintet, featuring vocalist Carmen Lundy, will present a Valentine's concert and CD release party and dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Cotton Room in Durham. Tickets are available for a live concert performance only, or for an accompanying three-course dinner. Click here to make reservations.

Finger-style Piedmont blues guitarist Boo Hanks will appear at the N.C. Museum of History as part of its Music From the Carolinas series presented by PineCone, Williams Mullen and WLHC-FM/WLQC-FM. The free program takes place Sunday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. PineCone’s Down Home Concert Series brings the Taj Mahal Trio to Meymandi Concert Hall, Progress Energy Center, Raleigh, on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. For more information on these events, visit

The Williams Family, featuring Snow Hill gospel artist Dr. Mal Williams, will perform at the Victory and Dominion Church, 1438 Highway 258/13 North, Snow Hill on Thursday, March 29, as part of the Greene County Performing Arts Series.

World-renowned South African vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo appears at Thalian Hall in Wilmington, Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. For more information, call (910) 632-2285 or visit

Jazz at Lincoln Center drummer Alvin Atkinson and his quartet perform a family concert exploring the diversity of jazz music from swing to boogaloo to Afro-Cuban at UNC Wilmington's Kenan Auditorium, Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. For more information, call (910) 962-3500 or visit

Durham bassist John Brown and his 15-piece big band joins with the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival to present Such Sweet Thunder, combining the works of William Shakespeare with the music of jazz greats Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. They'll perform in three locations: the International Ballroom at the International Home Furnishings Center in High Point, Friday, March 30, at 8 p.m.; Charlotte's Booth Theatre, Saturday, March 31, at 8 p.m.; and Durham's Cotton Room, Thursday, April 26, at 8 p.m. For more information, visit

The late pianist Billy Taylor, a Greenville native, served as a visiting distinguished professor at East Carolina University. The school's annual Billy Taylor Jazz Festival will be held Saturday, April 21. For more information, visit

The N.C. Museum of Art presents a free evening of poetry hosted by Dr. L. Teresa Church, independent archivist and playwright, and Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy, NC State University professor of English, Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. Hear spoken word poetry, some inspired by works in the museum's collection, from area college students and district winners from the North Carolina Poetry Out Loud competition, sponsored by the N.C. Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit

Obsidian cover

North Carolina A&T State University's Creative Writing Program celebrates the Obsidian Journal's special edition Aforebo: A Harvest of North Carolina Writers of African Descent as part of its Carolina on My Mind Reading Series Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. Authors scheduled to read include Sandra Govan, Sheila Smith McKoy, Beverly Burnette, Lenard D. Moore and others. The free program takes place in the General Classroom Building, auditorium A218 (second floor) at the corner of North Benbow and Sullivan Roads in Greensboro. Parking is available in lot G-1 on the North Benbow Road side and at Aggie Stadium. For more information, contact Dr. Anjail Rashida Ahmad, or (336) 334-7771, ext. 2370.

The Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington will host a spoken word poetry jam featuring local poets and music by Eclectic Soul Thursday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. For more information, call (910) 763-0973 or visit

The N.C. Black Repertory Company in Winston-Salem presents a double bill of stage works including Dr. May Edward Chinn, based on the first African American woman doctor at Harlem Hospital, and Big Mama Speaks, based on Hannibal B. Johnson's book Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District, Friday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 19, at 3 p.m. For more information, visit

Barefoot Theatre brings contemporary adaptations of two folktales of the Baluba and Ashanti peoples, featuring Anansi the spider, Elephant and other characters to the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh, Saturday, Feb. 4, at 11 a.m. For more information, visit

Winston-Salem's Delta Fine Arts features Loved Through the Years: Three Centuries of Black Dolls highlighting African American dolls from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries Sunday, Feb. 12, through Sunday, March 31. For more information, visit

McIver painting
Reminiscing (one of a tryptich), Beverly McIver

Visual Arts
The work of Greensboro's Beverly McIver is on view in Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver at the N.C. Museum of Art through Sunday, June 24. For more information, visit

Born and raised in eastern N.C., Wilmington artist Ivey Hayes will be featured in Ivey Hayes: A Retrospective at NC Central University's Art Gallery, Sunday, Feb. 19, through Friday, April 20.

Durham native Stephen Hayes' relief sculptures of former slaves can be seen in Cash Crop at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture in Charlotte through Saturday, June 30. The Gantt Center is part of the Levine Center for the Arts which also includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Mint Museum Uptown.

Converge at the McColl Center in Charlotte through Friday, March 23, features works from artists Sonya Clark and Quisqueya Henriquez exploring themes of identity and inclusion. For more information, visit

The 11th annual North Carolina Black Film Festival, sponsored by the Black Arts Alliance, will be held at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, Thursday, March 22, through Monday, March 25. It features screenings of independent films by African American filmmakers with guest artists, panel discussions, workshops and more. For information, call (910) 612-7832 or visit

UNC Wilmington hosts an Intercultural Week and Festival celebrating the rich diversity of cultures found within the university and the Wilmington community, Monday, Feb. 13, through Sunday, Feb. 18, including film, theater, dance and lectures. For more information, call (910) 962-3685 or visit


Reynolds Price's New Music at Triad Stage

Reynolds Price photo

Writer, poet and dramatist Reynolds Price, James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University, had achieved international acclaim long before his death in January 2011. The N.C. native authored more than 40 novels, plays and collections of short stories and poetry, and his 1986 novel Kate Vaiden won the National Book Critics Circle prize for the year's best work of fiction.

Price is being honored by Triad Stage with a production of New Music, his family trilogy of plays including August Snow, Night Dance and Better Days in rotating repertory from Sunday, Feb. 12, through Sunday, March 18. This unique literary and theatrical event marks the second time all three plays have been performed together since they were written in the 1980s.

Part one (August Snow and Night Dance) and part two (Better Days) can be viewed separately or together in weekend marathon performances — see dates and order tickets at Triad Stage's New Music Dramaturgy site includes a list of Price's published works, background information, historical context, photos and other materials which are being updated regularly. Visit the site at

New Music

One City, One Author Events
In conjunction with New Music, the Greensboro Public Library has organized a series of more than two dozen “One City, One Author” community events around Price's life and writing, running through April. Here are some of the highlights.

Local artist Jack Stratton will teach a four-part drawing class, Reynolds Price: Artistic Impressions, on four consecutive Tuesdays: February 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hirsch Wellness Classroom Cone Center in Durham. For more information, call (336) 549-8367 or email

A two-part discussion of Price's A Whole New Life, recounting his journey from illness to healing, will be led by Whitney Vanerwerff on Saturday, Feb. 11, and Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cone Cancer Center in Durham. To register, call (336) 832-0364 or email On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the book also will be the topic of a lunchtime business book group discussion. For location and details, call (336) 373-4559 or email

One City, One Author discussions of Price's books include A Whole New Life, Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Greensboro Central Library, and Kate Vaiden, Thursday, Feb. 23, and Wednesday, March 7, at the Hemphill Branch Library. All discussions take place at 7 p.m. A discussion entitled Art & Healing: A Whole New Life will take place at the Greensboro Historical Museum, Tuesday, March 13. For more information, email

Reynolds Price: The Teacher brings together five students from his long teaching career for a discussion at the Central Library Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. They include Helen Snow (1960s), David Guy (1970s), Stephen Martin (1980s), Wil Weldon (1990s) and Braden Henricks (2000s). The 49-minute film Pass It On: A Portrait of the Teaching Career of Reynolds Price will be shown Monday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Central Library.

Festivities will conclude with Vic Strandberg's Toasts for Reynolds, featuring poetry readings and toasts in Price's honor, Tuesday, Apr. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Triad Stage's UpStage Cabaret.

For more information about One City, One Author, visit


Calder's Art in Motion

Calder mobileThe Nasher Museum of Art in Durham's Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy features 34 Calder masterworks alongside the work of seven contemporary artists who were influenced by Calder's legacy as a modern sculptor, Thursday, Feb. 16, though Sunday, June 17. A member of the Paris avant-garde in the 1920s and 1930s, Calder was a prolific artist who invented the “mobile,” a word coined by the French artist Marcel Duchamp.

“He was the first artist to think about the fact that sculpture could be in motion, and that the motion could be created by air, wind and circulation rather than a motor,” says Sarah Schroth, Nancy Hanks Senior Curator, Nasher Museum of Art. “It was a radical idea in its day, but now it's something we use over every baby crib.” Although the form has become ubiquitous, Schroth considers this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see so many Calders from throughout his career together in one place.

Originally trained as an engineer, it's Calder's sense of balance and mechanics, not just aesthetics and composition, that makes him interesting to contemporary artists, Schroth says. In fact, several Durham artists, including sculptor Jeff Bell and visual artists Warren Hicks and Harrison Hayes offered to assist with the installation — a job requiring many hands — because of their interest in Calder's technical sophistication. The exhibition also features Calder's “stabiles,” or mobiles that don't move, along with creative re-uses of scrap metal and other found objects that might feel familiar to fans of Vollis Simpson's work.  

“It truly is a happy show,” Schroth says. “Calder never lost his playfulness. We hope people will come away with a feeling of joy, realizing that all art is not heavy and conceptual, but that it can be ingenious, inventive and elegant.” For more information, visit

Fellowship Recipients in the Spotlight
For the first time in Boone, the works of 16 N.C. Arts Council fellowship recipients from 2010–2011 will be on display at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University Friday, April 6, through Saturday, July 28. The exhibition includes pieces by 16 of the 18 artists awarded fellowships in choreography, craft, film and video and visual arts, including Elizabeth Brim, Phoebe Brush, Kirk Fanelly, Gail Fredell, Maja Godlewska, Christopher Holmes, Mark Iwinski, Young Kim, Anne Lemanski, Nava Lubelski, Sean Pace, Susan Harbage Page, Vita Plume, Shoko Teruyama, Bob Trotman and Linda Vista. “We’re excited about the chance to show the work of these exemplary artists to the audiences in northwest North Carolina who I’m sure will find the quality and creativity on display inspirational,” said Jeff Pettus, senior program director for artists and organizations, N.C. Arts Council. “We’re fortunate to have these artists in our midst, producing memorable work and adding substantively to the quality of life in our state.” The N.C. Arts Council has supported the exhibition since the beginning of its fellowship program more than 30 years ago.  

An accompanying series of round table artist presentations are scheduled at the Turchin Center on three Wednesdays: February 29, March 28 and April 25 at 7 p.m., followed by receptions at 8 p.m. Visit for participating artists and other details.

Master Potters and Rising Stars
The Randolph Arts Guild's 25th Annual N.C. Potters Conference hosts three renowned potters, Cynthia Bringle (Penland), John Glick (Detroit) and Jack Troy (Huntingdon, Pa.) for presentations and demonstrations of their craft Friday, March 2, at 8 a.m. through Sunday, March 4, at noon at the Moring Arts Center in Asheboro. Each has invited a favorite “up and coming” potter whose techniques also will be highlighted. They include Ronan Peterson (Poplar), Martha Grover (Red Lodge, Mont.), and Jake Johnson (Spring Mills, Pa.). 

For more information or to register, visit:


About the North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council works to make North Carolina The Creative State where a robust arts industry produces a creative economy, vibrant communities, children prepared for the 21st century and lives filled with discovery and learning. The Arts Council accomplishes this in partnership with artists and arts organizations, other organizations that use the arts to make their communities stronger and North Carolinians — young and old — who enjoy and participate in the arts. For more information, visit

About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Arts Council is a division of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, which annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives.

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources serves as a champion for N.C.'s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state's economy. To learn more, visit