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The 2005 art scene wrap-up

by Jim Dowell Jr.

Happy Holidays to everyone! Finally, it seems that the time of year, and the weather are in sync with each other, and the flurry of shopping is in full swing.

The Downtown Festival of Lights began beautifully on Dec. 2, with the opening lighting of the tree in Hamburger Square. The tree itself is massive and beautiful. Sponsored by Grassroots, the whole downtown has been transformed for the season. Many storefronts have their holiday plumage in full display and are entered in a decorating contest.’ 

2ArtChicks offers a ‘“Last Chance Weekend’” on Dec. 17 and 18 with craftsmen displaying works in the gallery for last-minute shoppers. They are also open Sundays through that period from 1 to 5 p.m. They will be closed Jan. 1 and 2, and begin regular hours again on Jan. 3.

The 5th Annual Holiday Exhibit will be at the Marshall Gallery beginning Dec. 1 and running through Dec. 24. An opening reception and holiday party will be held Dec. 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. The Marshall will close in its present location Dec. 24, and relocate to their new location in January. We will keep you posted on times and openings as they are more certain of dates.

Lyndon Street Artworks continues to be the leading force in Greensboro, allowing new artists to show their works and garner the experience needed to pursue their aspirations as artists. Greensboro resident Crystal Lea’s first solo exhibition titled ‘“Impose’” opened Nov. 28, and runs through Dec. 12. A reception was held on Dec. 2. The exhibition is vibrant, wonderfully colored and the artist is eager to please. Check it out when you are in the area.

Also, at the same location, the Light on Lyndon women have a holiday benefit and gift sale ongoing with a sale and auction on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 to 6 p.m. All contributions are tax deductible, and the goal of the foundation is ‘“encouraging people to awaken to their inner wisdom and passionate creativity.’” For more information go to womenandwisdom.org.

‘ In an attempt to bond together all art venues citywide, there is hope that a new ‘“Art Hop’” or ‘“Art Crawl’” will be formed in the first part of 2006. There seems to be an underlying opinion that perhaps Thursdays are not the best nights for opening shows and receptions in this city. I am in agreement with this thought, and encourage anyone who has an opinion to call or e-mail me with your thoughts and concerns. I have mentioned this to several gallery owners and operators, and they have concurred. Erik Beerbower has followed through with quite a bit of research. Perhaps with a new name and a bold aggressive logo it could give the openings the shot in the arm they need in this up and down art market we have in Greensboro.

We are pushing to move the openings to Fridays, and to give a jump start to the weekends. We are looking for restaurants, bars, markets, coffee shops and entertainment venues to offer tie-in promotions to cross-market this effort and make it a win-win situation for the buyer-collectors in our area. Plus in doing it citywide, it could be a fun evening out for those who want to participate. Charleston, Savannah, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem have all had success with these citywide efforts, and our hope is to have the same here. First Thursdays seem to have hit a slump; in fact a dead end for some galleries, with at least one more scheduled to close by year-end, it is time to rethink and get the arts scene back on track here. I will let you know the outcome as I find out.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you who have made this a great year. The YES! Weekly readers are a constant source of encouragement, and we appreciate your dedication to the columns, the writers and the paper in general. I would like to thank Mark and Catheryn Gillis for opening the Upstairs Gallery and giving much needed exposure to ‘that’ side of the town. Second, I would like to thank all the artists I have had the pleasure of working with directly and indirectly and to the collectors who patiently go to all the openings and support their favorite artists. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but without the buyers, there would be no galleries. Thanks to Brian and Charles at YES! Weekly also, for giving exposure to a much needed area, and being supportive and positive, and sticking their necks out to show the arts community that we do have a paper that backs them.

In these times when things can be so uncertain and ever-changing, it is a wonderful feeling to be grounded and supported by those you care for and love. There is one person I must thank above all others, and that is my partner in life of 19 years, Robert Candido, who allows me to be myself without restraint, and to pursue the things in life that I want. May you all be so lucky to find someone as special.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season, and best wishes for a great year in 2006.

I’ll see you next year!

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