Elsewhere to hold annual extravaganza in Downtown Greensboro
Downtown Greensboro’s busy September will continue this Saturday, Sept. 17, as local art museum Elsewhere hosts its annual Extravaganza that evening. Head down to 606 S. Elm Street and you’ll be treated to a public street event and a great indoor party for ticketholders.If you’re not sure you can find the place, just look for the 50-foot tall Ferris wheel that will be out in front of Elsewhere.“With help from the City, we’ll be shutting down the street from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. that day,” said Guido Villalba Portel, Elsewhere’s communications coordinator. “Ferris wheel rides will be available from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. for $1 per ride. The Ferris wheel is actually taller than our building and the artists here will make sure there’s something spectacular to see on the roof just for those folks taking the ride “There will also be live music beginning at 8:30 p.m. by Echo Courts,” Portel continued. “They’re an Indie dreampop band with a 1970s feel and they come from here in Greensboro.”Beer and other refreshments should also be available outside and from nearby restaurants. While that should make for a grand time, the big show will actually be inside. For ticketholders, Elsewhere will be putting the extra into Extravaganza.“The event inside will run from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m.” Portel said. “We’re having food provided by John Jones, who runs an underground dining experience called the Next Supper. He’s been doing these great members-only dinners in the area for a while now anywhere there’s a kitchen open, and he’s doing something special for our guests.”In addition, there will be performances by the Raleigh Rockers, a regional B-boys crew, and Carrboro’s Disco Sweat, who spin vinyl records with a modern twist. Visitors will also be able to tour all three floors of Elsewhere, seeing not just the first floor thrift shop turned museum, but also the art galleries and installations that make Elsewhere such a unique place. Cocktails and refreshments will also be available to attendees.“We’ll have showings of work from our three most recent artist residencies,” Portel continued. “That includes Miami Goes Elsewhere created by a group of six Miami-based artists and Southern Constellations which showcases the works of artists raised here in the South.”It will be an excellent opportunity to meet the artists and creatives that make their homes on the property and get in touch with a very historical part of downtown Greensboro.Tickets for the indoor event are available online at: goelsewhere.org/extravaganza or purchased at the museum itself at 606 S. Elm Street in Greensboro. Advance tickets for the event at $50 for the entire event ($35 for Elsewhere members). A night owl option will also be available to visit after 10 p.m. after the food portion of the event has ended.Elsewhere will also be showing off its recently finished restoration project, founder George Scheer said. Over $850,000 from private and public donations went into the restoration project, aimed at preserving the historical building, its contents and expanding its capabilities to be a beacon for local and national artists.Scheer explained the work had been done in great part by Landmark Builders and had been assisted greatly by the City of Greensboro.Elsewhere, if you’re not familiar with the story, was originally the site of a series of thrift shops owned and operated by the late Sylvia Gray. She operated the property at 606 S. Elm Street as a thrift store from 1939 until her death in 1997, first offering second-hand furniture, then Army surplus and later fabric bolts and remnants before finally just becoming a thrift store that housed anything that caught her interest.Mrs. Gray really started collecting items after the death of her husband Joe in 1955, Portel said. “She would go to the Salvation Army store twice a day to find things and she became known as Greensboro’s eccentric neighborhood matriarch.“If you came in, she wouldn’t sell you a thing if she didn’t like you,” he continued. “If she saw you stealing something, she’d lock you in. And only certain people got to go upstairs to shop. She was a lovely person but she was certainly an eccentric.”After she passed away in 1997 the family was left with the store and all of its contents. They really didn’t know what to do with it and so it sat for six years, virtually untouched and collecting dust. And then one night, after attending a concert, her grandson George Scheer and his longtime collaborator Stephanie Sherman unlocked the building. Over a decade later, Scheer and friends are still working through all of the possibilities and inspirations left behind by Mrs. Gray and her unbelievable collection. !