Artists and galleries around the Triangle are getting agile this fall, as the cheap, old properties they've traditionally lived in are snapped up and razed for condos and mixed-use development. It's not fun to see favorite places struggle or vanish as commercial pressure rises, but new spaces have appeared in different areas and old ones have found new opportunities in the chaos. Still, for the art-goer, it's not easy to know the lay of the land anymore.
Durham especially has sprouted lots of new spaces over the last couple of years, including SPECTRE Arts and Supergraphic, near Golden Belt, and Pleiades Gallery and Alizarin Gallery downtown. One you might have missed is the Power Plant Gallery at the American Tobacco Campus. Jointly run by Duke's Center for Documentary Studies and their MFA in Experimental Documentary Arts program, the gallery is planning a juried show of self-published and handmade photography books for the fall.
As the Durham art complexion changes, established spaces are refreshing themselves too. "Off the Radar" is a series of one-night pop-up exhibits in empty studio spaces at Golden Belt. Organizer and studio member Heather Gordon, who just won a N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship for painting, hopes to provide an alternative to the fairly static set of tenant artists.
"We're trying to bring art that's outside of our building inside," Gordon says. "I'm specifically looking for art that's not easy. If somebody walks by the door and says, 'Is that art?' that's particularly right for me." Look for pop-ups featuring Cody Platt and Amanda Saxe Barr in September, then Erin Oliver and Zoe Sasson in October. Check the "Artists at Golden Belt" Facebook page for schedule specifics.
Even longstanding spaces are becoming more nimble. Though nothing is confirmed, rumor has it that both the Durham Art Guild, which has longstanding space in the Durham Arts Council building and Golden Belt Room 100, and Duke's Nasher Museum of Art are considering the possibility of outreach gallery space.
Limited public hours might have kept you away from a pair of great spaces to the west. Hillsborough's Daylight Project Space is a couple of years old but, outside of opening events, they're only open on Saturday afternoons. They'll feature a show of Triangle-area book arts in September, ranging from fine-press titles to books as sculpture, co-curated by Josh Hockensmith and Rio Aubry Taylor.
Although Chapel Hill's Horace Williams House is not a new space, gallery directors Tama Hochbaum and Nerys Levy have rejuvenated its programming over the last two years. Because it's a historic home, public hours are still a challenge (Tues.–Fri. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., otherwise by appointment only), so try to attend its upcoming exhibits' opening receptions. They'll show paintings by John Beerman and Celia Johnson over the next two months, and collages and assemblages by Susan Stapleton-McLaurin and Carol Owen in November.
New galleries haven't popped up as much in and around the City of Oaks, although on the outskirts of Cary, fashion and portrait photographer Gordon Munro has just opened a gallery in the Preston Corners shopping center.
But things are stirring, as Quercus Studio now showcases high-end jewelry and home design downtown. Raleigh's First Fridays have been jam-packed, as CAM Raleigh anchors a great row of art spaces including Flanders Gallery and the Visual Art Exchange. And can you believe that Lump is turning 19 years old?
The Triangle is swarming with contractors right now. Once they finish their work, it will also be swarming with new residents unfamiliar with the art scene. The gallery owners and museum directors flexible enough to reinvent their spaces could become the peaks in this new, turbulent topography.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Artistic agility"