Space to Work, Play, and — Most Importantly — Create!
Mural by Sebastian Coolidge at the VAPA Center — CREDIT: Arthur Rogers
Great Spots! Three new creative spaces have opened since COVID hit.
We’ve always maintained that one of the things creatives need is space. Space to create. Space to perform. Space to showcase.
With people returning to traditional offices and routines and live events re-emerging, the need for affordable, interesting, accessible and (ahem) affordable space for creatives to create and share their work is front and center again.
This week, we’re highlighting three new venues that have opened since the onset of the pandemic. Explore them with us … and then explore them in real life.
One of the most important historical buildings in uptown Charlotte is the former Mecklenburg Investment Company Building on S. Brevard St. It may have a proud history as part of Charlotte’s Brooklyn community, but it has a new future punctuated by creative events, parties and installations inside (and even outside) the building.
The Studio at Wray Ward
When creative agency Wray Ward opened its new offices on Thrift Road in Charlotte earlier this year, they also unveiled The Studio, a 2,500-square-foot rentable space. With easy access and one of the best skyline views in Charlotte, The Studio is available for photo and video shoots, group meetings and events.
The VAPA Center
The Visual and Performing Arts Center (VAPA) may have only been open a few weeks, but it’s already buzzing like a beehive. Housed in the former Hal Marshall Center on North Tryon St. (across from the McColl Center for Art + Innovation), it offers 150,000 square feet of affordable event and workspace for creatives. The first 11 tenants have already been announced with more being added often.
Rehearsal for “Migrant X” — CREDIT: Skyler Parrow-Strong
Two Latinx Creatives to Follow
Charlotte is fortunate to have an active, talented and diverse collection of Latinx creatives at work in our community. While we strive to share their work throughout the year, we especially enjoy celebrating the individuals behind it during Hispanic American Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15). Read our 2020 profiles here.
This week, we’re celebrating two Latinx creatives who have been making their mark on the Queen City over the last 20 years.
- Rosa Diaz moved to Charlotte in the early 2000s and dove into the creative community head first – working in radio and designing prints and graphics for small businesses. She’s now working on creating digital portraits of Latinx creatives in the city … and she wants your suggestions.
- Isabel Gonzalez has been gracing Charlotte’s stages since she was 6. She’s in two performances in the next six days … and more ahead later this year.
These creative profiles are powered by OrthoCarolina.
Render of an art and entertainment space currently under construction near Charlotte Art League — CREDIT: UNC Charlotte College of Art + Architecture
Creative Space Update: Charlotte Art League
Speaking of cool spaces, earlier this year, we teamed up with The Charlotte Ledger to share an in-depth look at a new creative hub developed by Flywheel Group and anchored by the Charlotte Art League (CAL) underway near NoDa. So, we thought we’d check in with CAL’s executive director, Jim Dukes, to see how the project is moving along.
Here’s the skinny, straight from Dukes:
- Exterior art and entertainment space designed by UNC Charlotte College of Art + Architecture (CoAA) is under construction. (Psssst! Here’s an update with photos from CoAA right here in addition to the rendering above.)
- Charlotte artist Meredith Connelly is finalizing the interior lighting sculptures she designed for CAL’s new space.
- Interior walls are up, and plumbing, mechanical and electric are being installed off Raleigh St.
- Entranceways are cut into the building.
- Lawler Design and Upcycle Arts are in the process of designing an amazing new kitchen space.
- Two major installations are already booked in the new facility’s exhibit space.
We cannot wait to see this new facility and host events there. We’ll provide regular updates on our Instagram feed: @cltiscreative
Betty By Moxie Awning in Progress — CREDIT: Laurie Smithwick
Covering Your Entrance with Art
A few months ago, Michelle Castelloe, owner of Moxie Mercantile, had an idea for a new kind of mural (and not finding any) — one to adorn her new Plaza Midwood shop.
After searching for examples of awning murals elsewhere, Castelloe decided to act on it herself. She engaged Plaza Midwood neighbor/artist Laurie Smithwick to paint a 44-foot mural on the awning of her new retail business at 1219 Thomas Ave. called “Betty by Moxie,” which opens later this month. She’s hoping it kicks off an awning mural revolution in Charlotte.
The first awning is underway now and will be installed soon. The store opening will follow soon after. In designing the mural, Castelloe and Smithwick incorporated colors from “Betty’s” neighboring Plaza Midwood businesses.
Betty will focus on all things kids, from clothing to toys to books and everything in between, Castelloe says.
The Big Bunnies are Back!
Thanks to COVID, Charlotte SHOUT! had to hibernate a little while longer (until sometime in 2022), but that didn’t stop Australian artist Amanda Parer’s installation of inflated bunnies (a.k.a. Intrude). They hopped here from Parer Studio last weekend and popped up across from First Ward Park in a patch of land owned by Levine Properties at 8th and Caldwell Streets.
The bunnies are on display until Oct. 12, according to Blumenthal Performing Arts. And, bunny lamps are on sale at the Bechtler and Mint Museum Uptown’s gift shops Uptown.
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