Commissioned benches, juried art show highlight monthly arts event
by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — They’re too big for a tarp, so town leaders dedicating two public art pieces downtown will have to settle for a ribbon cutting.
At 6 p.m. Friday, join Mayor Vivian Jones and Public Arts Commission (PAC) Chairman John Pelosi at the Jones Plaza for the dedication. The location is at Jones Avenue and South White Street (across from Wake Forest Coffee).
At Jones Plaza is the Leaf Shade Bench by nationally renowned artist Robert Tully, who also designed and installed the Rain Gate down South White Street near The Cotton Company.
“We’re very excited about it (the public art),” said Lisa Newhouse, downtown development director.
Both pieces are Wake Forest’s first examples of town-funded public art. Tully beat out dozens of other designs, which had to be approved by the commission of mostly artists and craftsmen, which were required to reflect a Wake Forest theme.
The bench plays on the town’s tree city status and the rain gate promotes ecological conservation.
After remarks, those gathered at the bench are invited to walk over to town hall for a reception and Foundations-Renaissance Art Exhibit on the ground floor of town hall one block down and over on Brooks Street. Or they may choose to walk to any of downtown merchants’ nearby Art After Hours offerings, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m (listing below).
The art exhibit — a juried show reflecting the spirit of the downtown Renaissance District — remains open at town hall until 8 p.m.
From April 8 through May 17, the PAC solicited amateur and professional artists’ applications. The following artists were selected to showcase their works at town hall:
•Sharron Parker, Birth of Light and Passage IV,
•Gayle Blackerby, A New Perspective,
•Lisa Bernardi Wolf, Thirteen Six,
•Tammy Sorrell, Our Town — A Celebration of Old and New,
•Maureen Seltzer, Cowboy Comes to Town and Moms Morning Out,
•Linda Burrell, Wake Forest, A Cultural Destination,
•Barbara Crockett, Renaissance Wake Forest Blending Old and New,
•Mary Benejam, White Street Streetscape,
•Anthony Giammarino, Love Birds and Monarch, and
•Jon Alley, Resilience.
First, second and third place award winners will be announced during the ribbon cutting ceremony and will remain on view in town hall until July 12.
Billy Farmer and Gail Joyner will provide the entertainment during the reception, performing Cole Porter tunes, beginning at 7 p.m.
One block north of the bench is another example of public art, the mural of historic downtown on the side of the Wake Forest Art and Frame building. It was painted and donated by graduating Franklin Academy senior Marissa Banks.
“It looks great,” said Newhouse. “We appreciate the student and (building owner) John Lyon for putting it up there.”
For those who are going to both the ribbon cutting and reception at town hall, there’s still time to experience other Art After Hours activities, said Newhouse.
“Go back up to South White Street and do the horse and carriage rides and check out the different artists,” she said.
The monthly merchant-sponsored offerings are a draw for downtown, she said, adding, “It’s just an exciting opportunity to showcase everything the merchants do downtown, the art galleries and varied artists that we’ve got, the different demonstrations.”
Also at Art After Hours:
•Wake Forest ARTS will feature the work of local artists and the artists themselves during an open house at the 205 S. Brooks St. headquarters, 6 to 8 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
•A reception for watercolorist Ryan Fox runs from 5-9 p.m. at Sunflower Studio & Gallery, 214 E. Jones St. The studio also displays the work of seven resident artists and features a community gallery.
•A reception for Gail McIntosh, silver medalist in the North Carolina-Wake County Senior Games with her entry, Bittersweet, will be at Wake Forest Art & Frame Shop, 139 S. White St., 6-8 p.m. She has painted en plein air from California, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
•The Cotton Company, 306 S. White St., shows the paintings and sculptures of Ema Godfrey, as well as works by other local artists. Simple wine tasting from 6 to 9 p.m.
•Sensible, useable art in the form of handbags, aprons and pillow covers hand painted by Vicky Lynne will be at Nereida’s Nifty Threads, 222 Jones Ave.
•A new band, Rockin’ the Suburbs, will play rock and pop music from the ’80s through today at White Street Brewing Company, 218 S. White St., from 6 to 10 p.m.
•Appalachian dulcimer player Joan Burroughs returns to Next Consignment Botique, 210 S. White St., for the second straight month. Hear the enchanting sounds of the hammered and mountain dulcimer.
Other shops and galleries regularly participating in Art After Hours include Gilded Palette Gallery, Lede Studio & Gallery, The Gallery at Pick A Class, Storyteller’s Book Store, Wake Forest Coffee Company, The Lemon Tree Cafe and For Old Times Sake Antiques.
Art After Hours is a function of the Downtown Revitalization Corp. (DRC) and participating merchants.
For more information about these and other Art After Hours artists, music and events, visit tiny.cc/WF_AAH.