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Foxy Moxy reveals all that’s art in Winston-Salem

by Foxy Moxy

Greetings, YES! Weekly readers and welcome to my column. I’m here to give you the lowdown each month on that hippest of Winston-Salem happenings, the Downtown Arts District Association’s (DADA) First Friday Gallery Hop.

An artist myself, I’m perhaps more widely recognized by my performance name, Foxy Moxy. And since my relocation to the Triad two years ago, I’ve been drawn to nearly every First Friday in Winston, ever delighted to roam the Arts District and peruse the gallery openings and shop offerings. I’m excited to be given this opportunity to share the latest news of one of my favorite ongoing events with our readership.

If you call this Triad community home, it’s likely you’re aware that Winston Salem bills itself as the “City of the Arts” and that the area surrounding Trade Street is known as the “Arts District.” For those not in the know, I offer a glimpse into the area’s cultural development.

In the late 1800s Old Town Road, known now as Trade Street, served to connect the settlements of Bethabara and Bethania with the town of Salem. Farmers spent days at a stretch in the tobacco warehouses along Trade and Liberty Streets selling their harvest. The atmosphere spawned a musical culture responsible for the development of the old time string band music of the Piedmont. Through the 1920s and ’30s a variety of musical styles evolved regionally, including acoustic Piedmont blues, country and bluegrass.

Though the tobacco market’s heyday has long since passed, many turn-of-the-century buildings still remain around Sixth and Trade streets, where a vibrant artistic culture now rules the day. Pioneers of the Arts District began renovating buildings into a flourishing community of art galleries, studios and funky shops in the mid 1980s to be later joined by music venues, bars and upscale eateries.

Urban Artware Gallery is one of the early forerunners established in 1986. Millicent Greason, an artist already quite involved in the scene and employed by the gallery took over as its owner/curator nine years ago. Around this time, she also became one of the founding members of the SEED Gallery artists’ collective.

SEED’s tagline is “Planting Art in the Community” and its name was chosen to directly reflect the history of the first Soho Alley building that housed it, Cox’s Feed and Seed. Members of the group have changed over the years and now only Greason and Clark Whittington, creator of the Art-o-Mat, remain as the co-op’s founding artists.

Locations of the SEED Gallery have shifted with time as well, occupying the original space for eight years before moving to the Artists on Liberty building one block over, a year ago. The news this month is that SEED will change locations again, finding a new home within Urban Artware’s gallery walls.

As SEED and Urban Artware join forces, the gallery hop opening for March will feature SEED artist Dave Urena, who works with photographic collage. Urena’s art features photographs of scenes shot from multiple locations that are pieced together to create a large view, containing the angle shifts and distortions within. The result is a more experiential “feel” of the place portrayed than mere photography could produce.

Greason is enthusiastic about the move, which she feels will serve SEED artists and the community more fully. She urges people to come out and visit what she calls “my art orphanage, here on Sixth Street, with all my ‘children’ waiting for adoption.” Something tells me that with the popularity of this unique outsider art gallery, she shouldn’t have to wait too long. Urban Artware/SEED Gallery is located at 207 W. Sixth St. beside Soho Alley. More information can be found urbanartware.com and seedgallery.org.

In other gallery hop news, be certain to check out the completely remodeled Young’s Vintage Home & Garden at 633 N. Trade St. while wandering about on First Friday, featuring artful objects from modern times and bygone eras, all wonderfully situated in stylish new surroundings that beckon you in for a peek. Owners Becky and Jack Young will be there to assist you during the gallery hop or anytime during regular hours. More info on what’s new at Young’s can be viewed by visiting youngsvintagehome.com.

Our list for what’s hot at March’s Hop:

Studios at 625; 625 N. Trade St.; 336.724.3000: Work on display in member studios throughout the building.

Atelier Studios; 619 N. Trade St.; atelierstudiosws.com: Aura3 DVD release party, artist demos in the window gallery, Three Graces bellydance entertainment on the street front and the JeffYourSelf March installation.

Golden Flower T’ai Chi Center; 612 N. Trade St.; goldenflower.org: Three Graces bellydance performing 7-8 p.m., Tai Chi demo from 8-9 p.m., open-drum circle, presented by Living Rhythms Community Drum School from 9-10 p.m.

Earthbound Arts; 610 N. TradeSt.; earthboundarts.com: New works by Gordon Jones and Lucy Duncan including handmade beads and mugs, tea products and white sage.

Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery; 601 N. Trade St., piedmontcraftsmen.or*: New Members Exhibit featuring works in a variety of media by 18 of the new member-artists for 2008.

Artworks Gallery; 564 N. Trade St.; artworks-gallery.org: Interior Landscapes by Chris Flory, one-woman show of smaller format, colorful acrylic abstracts on poplar panels inspired by the view within.

The Other Half, 560 N. Trade St.; 336.407.5494: Ducks on Parade, Vietnamese fired clay ducks on display with graceful Italian glass flowers.

Five & 40 Gallery; 541 N. Trade St.; 336.724.2474: Exhibit on display for gallery hop, 7-10 p.m.

Patina; 217 W. Sixth St.; 336.725.6395: Open during gallery hop.

Artists on Liberty; 521 N. Liberty St.: New works on display throughout the building in participating member studios.

First Friday Gallery Hop is Friday, March 7, from 7-10 p.m. If you come, look for me, I’ll be out foxin’ around in the Arts District all evening!

Madelyn “Foxy Moxy” Greco is also the editor and a regular columnist of The HIPPO magazine.

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