Brillliant Letter! I hope Mr. Tata reads it and takes it to heart. The recent skewering of the Wake County School mess by Colbert should be a major red flag for Mr. Tata. The consequences of what Mr. Tedesco and Mr. Margiotta are pushing are far-flung and disruptive of our community at many levels. As a physician who sees patients from a wide variety of backgrounds, I have yet to hear anyone speak to me in favor of the attempts to overhaul our school system. I ask my patients who are conservative and liberal politically and cannot get any sense that people regard these changes positively.
Let me add my name to the list of Indy readers who were disappointed in the hatchet job done on Joe Rowand. He started his business nearly 40 years ago as a framing shop on the 15-501 bypass (then a two lane road). He began to sell high quality art at a time when few galleries in the entire region offered up the works of good artists. He expanded into Eastgate Shopping Center and virtually anchored that mall along with Southern Season. Somerhill Gallery openings brought throngs of people who also shopped in the area, ate in restaurants, and generally enhanced the business climate in Chapel Hill.
Several years ago, the business nearly went under by a devastating flood. Most would have given up their business after that. When the real estate investment trust decided that a bicycle shop would be a more certain investment than a successful art gallery, Joe was unceremoniously evicted from Eastgate. He took the plunge and built a gallery in Durham (in the same building where the Independent exists). The gallery is architecturally significant and another crown in the jewel of the growing business community in Durham. Then the art market collapsed as the economy tanked. The complexities of the bankruptcy proceedings are beyond my understanding but for the Independent to pillory Joe is outrageous.
He has provided countless artists in the region a venue for selling their paintings and sculpture and jewelry. Name a dozen other galleries within 100 miles who carry work of the quality consistently seen at Somerhill Gallery. John Beerman's prominent display in the NC Museum of Art is in no small way due to Joe's exposure and promotion of his work. The list of artists whose work is displayed in corporate offices, restaurants, stores and homes is unbelievable. He has promoted North Carolina artists prominently over the years.
Joe's contributions to charity and to the business community in the area are known to many. How many times have I gotten good tips from Joe about new restaurants and interesting new shops in the area. He supports the community of merchants in the Chapel Hill and Durham and Raleigh in ways I have never seen in many other businesses.
I think the entire tone of the Indy piece was out of line and slanted.
S. Mitchell Freedman, MD
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