Carol McCreedy realizes her vision with gallery
As a young musician plays soft jazz on a mahogany Steinway baby grand, folks mill about the gallery sipping wine and creating a buzz of conversation. Brown and tan walls accent the foyer and a stained concrete floor gives the impression of walking on fine marble. The entire showroom looks as if you’ve just entered the home of a Fortune 500 CEO, but the atmosphere is warm and inviting.
But it’s not a home at all. Rather it’s an art gallery at The Home Designer’s Emporium at New Garden Village, a new home supply shopping center in the northwest part of Greensboro.
Carol McCreedy is a true visionary. She is the owner of Carolena Campanella, a fine art gallery she named after her grandmothers, and though the gallery just opened May 5 it has been in the planning for the past five years.
After working as a marketer in the media industry for 25 years, McCreedy was ready for a change. Her passion for art led her to want to open a gallery for artists not only in North Carolina but also throughout the country. With plenty of galleries around the area that support local artists, she wanted to bring something different to Greensboro, something that felt homey and was away from the hustle and bustle of the city. So over the years she built relationships with artists and friends in the industry, surrounding herself with encouraging and knowledgeable people while researching her dream. She also consulted gallery owners from all across the country whom she says warned her it would fail.
As she committed herself to her dream, however, she found encouragement. Things began to fall into place, she says, and she finally committed herself to making it happen. A true believer in following the heart’s dream, if she failed then she would fail, she says, but she had to at least give it a try. She put together shows for businesses, including one for Steinway and Sons piano company owner Chris Fulk in High Point for his showroom space.
Tonight her gallery is filled with the colorful works of painter Jane Filer and sculptor Salinda Dahl. The two artists work complement each other, as if they’d worked together just for this show. Dahl’s sculpted characters seem fairytale-like and have similarities to the characters in Filer’s paintings. But the two didn’t plan it. In fact they’ve never even met. It was McCreedy who put the two together in this show, just another part of what makes her stand out as a curator.
Filer has also gone through a period of persistence. Her painting started as a child in kindergarten where she spent her free time on an easel with a table of paints. It was her Aunt Sally who encouraged her to go to school for art in Chicago. She later earned her BFA in art at Southern Illinois University. In 1983 she moved to the Greensboro area to obtain her master’s in art at UNC Chapel Hill. But it still took several years working odd jobs and cleaning houses before she was able to make a living making art. Her expressionistic style paintings in McCreedy’s gallery contain colorful animals, people and aircraft that resemble those found in a Richard Scarry children’s book.
Dahl minored in art at Boston University before teaching elementary school in Philadelphia for eight years. She attributes her artistic talents to her father who was a syndicated political cartoonist for the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. After moving to North Carolina 30 years ago she developed an interest in pottery, taking lessons from a local potter and setting up a workshop in a small tobacco barn. She says when she began she would have probably scoffed at the work she does now, as it’s nowhere near the traditional North Carolina pottery found about the region. Her work now resembles something one might imagine finding in an enchanted forest ‘— colorful organic houses and characters with flowers and birds perched atop them.
Viewers peruse the gallery looking at the sculptures, then at the paintings and back again. They go so well together. As McCreedy mingles with guests she nods and says thank-yous to compliments on her gallery and her taste in artist selection. As she meanders about the place you can almost see her planning for something even bigger.