Time to shine: CFBG offers level playing field for local artists

by Keith Barber

The photographs of local artist Jessica Loer will be exhibited during CFBG’s Time to Art Party event on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the performance venue located at 930 S. Chapman St. in Greensboro. (courtesy photo)

‘Jillian Doherty can attest to the struggles young artists face in getting their work exhibited. That’s why she felt so fortunate when she met Max Benbasset, co-founder of the performance space known as CFBG.

Campaign for a Better Greensboro, or CFBG, is a multi-faceted performance space located at 930 S. Chapman St. Doherty said CFBG’s open-door policy to new artists is rare and refreshing.

“Just allowing us to throw an idea out there and make it happen stands for a lot for a young artist,” Doherty said. “I just went in there hoping to get a show and [Benbasset] wanted to work with me right away.”

Doherty, who creates large, canvas-sized sketches with Crayola markers, will display her work during CFBG’s Time to Art Party Friday at 7:30 p.m. The event will also showcase the work of local artist Michael Trotter and photographer Jessica Loer.

The venue — a combination of a dance studio, art gallery and music performance space — will host indie rock artists Matty Sheets & the Blockheads and Antigravity Animated.

Loer, a 24-year-old UNCG student working toward degrees in art and elementary education, has taken some of her best blackand-white photos within the cozy confines of CFBG. Loer’s primary subjects are local people and local bands.

“I have a huge sense of hometown pride and want others to feel pride in Greensboro as well as work to make it a thriving artistic community,” Loer said. “My goal is to capture moments of fun and passion to preserve our youth in tangible form. Another goal is to provide affordable art by utilizing the do-it-yourself mentality so that art can be affordable to all.”

Creating a link between artists and art lovers was the inspiration behind Benbasset and CFBG co-founder Angelo Romano’s decision to open the space last year. However, CFBG is not a non-profit. Benbasset said he rents out the space by day for dance classes and books local bands at night. Admission is free for music performances but CFBG kindly asks patrons for donations.

Not surprisingly, the bulk of Benbasset’s clientele are college students.

“We’ve got a good group of regulars who come to our art classes — students who teach other students,” he said. “It’s mainly college kids for the most part, but we’re starting to get an older crowd at shows — people that go to the Blind Tiger and the Green Bean are now frequenting our place.”

Benbasset said CFBG has undergone significant renovations and now looks like a traditional gallery space. CFBG’s roots are firmly planted in the artistic soil of the Piedmont Triad, and local talent is beginning to blossom, Loer said.

“It’s been nice to have a project space in Greensboro,” she said. Doherty’s “Black Dahlia” is one of the pieces on display at CFBG. A portrait of Elizabeth Short, the victim of a brutal murder in Los Angeles in the 1940s, “Black Dahlia” captures an iconic figure in American true crime history.

“It’s a horrible crime but there’s something about it that intrigues me,” Doherty said. Heavily influenced by the pop art of Andy Warhol, Doherty said she enjoys sketching iconic figures.

“I remember seeing him at a very young age,” Doherty said. “I visited [The Warhol] Museum in Pittsburgh and I never wanted to leave. I’ve always wanted to reflect that because that’s what I like to see and that’s how I do my artwork as well.”

And inspiration is what CFBG is all about. “It’s an open place for a lot of entertainment and it’s cool we’re collaborating,” she said.

wanna go?

CFBG’s Time to Art Party 930 S. Chapman St Greensboro