Light at the end of the alley

by Brian Crean

It’s a good thing that daylight savings time has recently kicked in. Now, as the weather warms and the sun shines a little longer on South Elm Street, the First Friday Art Hops will feel a little less sketchy than they have the last couple of months.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m used to the transitional quality of Greensboro’s arts district, but sometimes I don’t think all of the rich folks in town are too jazzed about parking their Lexus sedans on the block. And, like many of us, they probably are not too inclined to walk down dark, narrow alleys to spend money supporting the arts.

Why do I bring all this up? Because of a well run, and relatively new, creative space located at the end of a dark alley behind the Broach Theater. It’s called Studio B, and although a few of us may have already been there to hear some great live music, I don’t think too many of us have been there to check out the art. And, thankfully, this month, there is a great exhibition worth seeing.

Sponsored by Bricolage, a creative recycling store located on West Market Street, and the Piedmont Land Conservancy, our friendly neighborhood environmental conservation non-profit, the exhibition is essentially a memorial show dedicated to the life and work of John Skau.

Known for his contemplative wood-weaving and formmaking, Mr. Skau passed away in 2007 and left a mountain of raw material that his generous wife, Judy West, donated to Anne Wilson at Bricolage. Wilson then contacted a slew of area artists including Danielle Hatfield, the gallery coordinator at Studio B, and a very unique and impressive collaboration began to take shape.

Titled John Skau’s Wood: A Point of Departure, the exhibition is touching and unique and functions as a kind of organic creative dedication, with each artist incorporating Skau’s unused raw material into their own creative vision.

Most of the pieces at Studio B are photographic, while some 3-D work can also be viewed at Bricolage and a few area libraries.

Participating artists include James Burns and Dave Gregory of Winston Salem; Karen Tury Cecil, Marc Derro, Diane Ellis, Anni Frolich, Hollis Gabriel, Danielle Hatfield, Jim Hoyle, Stacy Nofsinger, Christian Parsons, Rob Rachlin, Joy Schreiber, Brittany Sondberg Matthew Spencer, Mark Wagner, Anne Willson and Lisa Woods of Greensboro; Ginger Williamson of Oak Ridge; Alix Hitchcock of Mocksville; Peter Driscoll of

Bermuda Run; Teresa Wiles of Kernersville; Lynn Pownell of Haw River; Kurt Gabriel of Charlotte; and Tony Bible of Warsaw, Ohio.

Jim Hoyle’s nude series accentuates the curves of both wood and body. David Gregory’s work is especially engaging as well. “Veneer Landscape #1” is emotive, well-composed, and my favorite in the show.

For the upcoming April 2 First Friday, local musicians the Natbush Ramblers will also be performing. Although I doubt that they’ll be sitting in the alley with their guitar cases open, hoping for spare change, I think that like everyone else at the event, their hearts will be open, and they’ll be grateful for the good people who helped make the exhibition possible.

Though I never met Skau before he passed, I can’t imagine that he’d be anything but proud of what all involved have accomplished in his honor.

wanna go?

First Friday Art Hops happen the first Friday of each month in Greensboro along Elm Street and in Winston- Salem emanating from the corner of 6 th and Trade streets.