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This and that: Dowell says farewell to all (for now)

by Jim Dowell

]ear readers of YES! Weekly: I experienced many things in 2008… some good, some bad and some life-changing. I always try to come away from an experience with something positive, but sometimes it can be a hard thing to do. Several dear things I lost in ’08: one of my best friends due to the fatality of cancer in his case; one of my favorite cousins due to a fluke of nature and timing; my dear gallery due to the economy and lack of education of the arts on the part of the buildings’ owner; and my own patience with the job that I had endured for four years. For me it was a time for change, and change meant moving forward without looking back, relying on the love of family and friends, and trusting my own instincts.

I chose to enter the world of real estate, and while some may have viewed it as not the right choice for them, for me it was. Always I have been the one who had to have a constant salary and know exactly what I had available and when. But there was also an inner desire in me, to do what I wanted to do, and to choose my own future. I have always been there for others: I’ve been an inspiration for several businesses, run businesses for those who didn’t want to do day-to-day operations and have settled for salaries that plainly weren’t what I needed or wanted to make but what the employer “thought” I needed to make, despite the fact that the salaries didn’t keep up with cost of living, inflation, etc. Fairness in the workplace is practically nonexistent, especially if you choose to work for corporate America — or even worse, a small business owner. I finally had enough and decided to work for myself. I also got the blessing of my family and my friend who was dying. Why did I wait for this 10 years longer than I needed to? I Guess I will never know that answer. Anyway… I am happier now than I have been in years! And I am making it! I joined Prudential Carolinas in June of 2008, and it was the best thing I ever did. With this changing of jobs, it also means less time to be able to enjoy the arts community, and to report on the ins and outs of it in this wonderful paper. I thank you, the readers, for allowing me into your lives, and I thank Brian Clarey and Charles Womack for the opportunity that few get to experience: the true freedom of speech in the press. Greensboro has always had a hard time supporting its art venues, and I doubt that it ever truly will change. For every one or two that make it a few years, there are at least that many that close, and end someone’s dream, at least temporarily. It is an immense sadness that happens when you do close a venue… almost like a death… and it takes time to recover. The latest casualty of the economy, and another gallery to soon close its doors is the Heart Of Living Gallery, on South Elm Street. Opening show First Friday for February is called Steals and Deals, from 6-9 p.m. The gallery will close by March 31. The saddest part of this is the loss of Mary Lou Williams to the arts community. She has been the “heart” of HOL for a long time now, and I wish her success and happiness in whatever she chooses to do. Please drop by and say goodbye to the gallery and to the artists it represented. It was, always, a first-class act, second to none.

Down the street, our friends at Artmongerz are happily welcoming their new neighbor, the Mellow Mushroom (see review, page XX). Deemed as the shot in the arm that was needed downtown, it has not disappointed, and has sent foot traffic to a new stratosphere to that gallery. Artmongerz has two receptions this month. The First Friday one is titled LUV, and reception time is 6-9 p.m.; and the second, Little Lights Of Love, opens on Friday the 13 th . Little Lights offers music, ambience and artwork devoted to romance and attraction, including familial and “friendship” love. Artmongerz also takes no commissions on artworks sold through the gallery, which translates to fair pricing on great works. Check them out always for cutting-edge art and those who make it. Marshall Art Gallery also has announced the birth of Haven Marshall Becker! She was born on Jan. 13; she and mom Tracey are both doing great. Tracey is even taking a little time off and enjoying being a first-time mother. Best wishes to both! Marshall also has posted the year’s openings, and they are trying things on a different beat this year, moving all opening receptions to Sunday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. I personally, think this is a wonderful idea, and hope the community supports it. After all, the purpose is exposure, and sometimes evening receptions on weekends can be overpowering and overcrowded. Maybe more galleries will follow in this creative step forward. Please check with the gallery for exact listings and artists to be featured. Lyndon Street Artworks announces EROS: V to be held on Friday, Feb. 13. EROS is an annual erotic arts fest that LSA offers that is highly entertaining and slightly arousing… hint hint. This bit of naughtiness tied in with the world of art is original, fun and well attended. Check out the 40-plus artists involved in this venue for a great time. Also at LSA on First Friday, Feb. 6, you can see the one and only Emmett Williams doing a classic nude painting demonstration on the main stage. Emmett will be leaving LSA to return to his own studio at the end of February. You can find him at emmett@cubistman.com, or call 336.457.7238. Well my friends, this is the end of this run. I have enjoyed this so much for the past four years, and really will miss my many friends in this business. I feel at this point that my time and energy need to be focused on my career, and I always say “never say never.” I hope to make some return visits here, if the guys will let me. I must thank several people for their neverending support and love: Charlotte and Erik Ström, Erik Beerbower, Brian Hibbard, Judy Meyler, Frank Russell, Lori Key, Mary Lou Williams and Lois and Ernie Rich. I cherish you all now and forever, and thank you for all that you do for the arts in this town. Readers remember: The arts enrich you, empower you and entertain you. If you don’t support the players, you will not see the play!! I wish you all the best of love, life, and happiness! See you all… soon

Please contact Jim Dowell at jdowelljr001@ triad.rr.com, or jim.dowell@prucarolinas.com, 336.207.1906. This is his last Canvas the City column.

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