Local artist Michael Brown's moonlight mural coats the the east side of the former Yates Motor building on West Franklin Street, which at one time also served as a stage for public art. These days, the building houses the Carolina Ale House, which serves up burgers, barbecue and baby backs -- during warmer months, al fresco.
(photographs taken on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill)
Bold cups stacked in rows of colors emblazon the railings on Franklin Street. Look closely to uncover hand-written mantras in corresponding hues. The premise is to evoke emotion via bursts of color — inspired by Tibetan Prayer Wheels. The Color it Positive art installation by Helen and Mike Seebold is part of Windows on Chapel Hill’s pop-up art exhibits springing up through June throughout downtown Chapel Hill to showcase local artists and bolster the city’s vigorous arts community. The initiative is a collaboration between the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Town of Chapel Hill Public and Cultural Arts Office, and smArts Creative Programs & Events. Check out more of Helen’s work at littleflowerart.com.
(photographs taken on Franklin Street between Basnight Lane and Kenan Street in Chapel Hill)
Syd's Hair Shop has relocated and the brick building is up for rent, but the world-class mural remains, albeit generously faded from the afternoon sun. Michael Brown's "Many Earths" (2002) piece hangs on, thinly coating the westside wall howling for a restoration. Triangulate from here to catch sight of two additional murals. Across the street is Scott Nurkin's neo-signature "Greetings from Chapel Hill" (2013). Turn and face eastward for Brown's "Sea Turtles" (1993).
(photograph taken on W. Rosemary Street near the corner of Columbia Street in Chapel Hill)
Hats off to the Varsity Theatre and those who contributed to its digital campaign. Looks like the beacon will be burning bright on Franklin Street after all. The historic Chapel Hill landmark launched a $50,000 community campaign to raise money to purchase equipment to transform one of its theaters into a digital screen from the classic -- to some, soothing sounds of -- clicking film reels. Now on overdrive, the additional contributions will be applied towards converting its second screen.The above image is of a film short shown prior to a feature film at the Varsity.
(photographs taken on Franklin Street between Columbia and Henderson streets.)
The Varsity could have an alternate ending. The landmark Chapel Hill movie theater with the vintage vibe and glowing marquee is receiving pressure from technology to go digital or go dark. Over the past few years, motion picture studios have started distributing movies strictly as digital prints stored on hard drives, rather than film on reels. Economics has fueled the shift. The cost of releasing one film reel is equivalent to about 15 digital copies. While cost effective for studios, independent theaters are forced to shut down given the major hurdle to purchase a digital machine -- upwards of $100,000.
Built in 1927, the Franklin Street theater is one of the oldest in North Carolina. Though ownership and names have shifted -- starting with the original Carolina Theater, followed by the Village Theater before becoming the Varsity -- the Sorrell building has always housed a movie theater. In 2009, Paul and Susan Shareshian renovated the Varsity to offer affordable entertainment (movie tickets are $4) and a space for community events (local film premieres, fundraisers).
The duo is determined to raise enough money to convert one of the two screens to digital and stay alight. They have launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to raise $50,000. So far, they are half way there. The campaign ends in February 2015. To donate and sign up for updates: VarsityGoesDigital.com. To catch what's playing: VarsityonFranklin.com.
Keep the beacon aglow on Franklin Street.
(photographs taken on Franklin Street between Columbia & Henderson streets in Chapel Hill)
Steal a peek inside a century's-old jewelry box where the music lures and ballerinas regale. The 15th Annual Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Party in the Old Well Ballroom at the historic Carolina Inn benefits the Triangle Youth Ballet. Dancers from TYB bejeweled in flawless regalia and rich in character, silently welcome guests. Inside the ballroom, the tea party drips with chandeliers. Whirling dancers weave between tables while young'uns in Sunday best sip lemonade and stretch for trays of lined cookies.
(photographs taken in at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill)
(Photograph taken at "Artful Fall Reception," an exhibit by visual artist Murry Handler at the Bold Building in Governors Village, Chapel Hill. His contemporary paintings and drawings will be on display through December 31st. Murray resides in Pittsboro.)
Age and ability are a moot point. The Ackland Museum offers affordable hands-on art workshops for those who lean into pencils or pastels, sculpture or still life. The image above captures the Drawing for Tweens program for 10- to 13-year-olds. An instructor demonstrates techniques using the museum's collection as the classroom.
(photograph taken at the University of North Carolina Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill)
Push the button. Peek in the box. Voilà! Behold one of the first available forms of color photography: autochrome.
The photography world gained momentum in color photography in the early 1900s using a starchy crop, the common potato. The autochrome process produced images using glass plates spread with a thin film of dyed potato starch -- red/orange, violet and green -- and sealed with a tacky varnish. Once prepared, the plates were fitted into a camera and the shutter opened enabling light to pass through the diaphanous grains, forming an image that was subsequently developed into a positive transparency. The process produced a radiant color picture that could be viewed when held against light. The photographs had an ethereal quality resembling pointillist-style paintings, a result of the potato particles. Compared to today's split-second camera snap, autochrome images had exposure times of up to 60 seconds requiring subjects to remain still oftentimes unveiling majestic-looking photographs.
This autochrome photograph above, "Group of Female Nudes" (c.1910 Louis Amédée Mante & Edmond Goldschmidt), is one of 150 photographs stretching methods, years and style on display at UNC's Ackland Art Museum. "PhotoVision: Selections of a Decade of Collecting" reveals a collection of photographs the museum acquired over the course of the past 10 years. The exhibit, which can be seen through January 4th, is part of the Click! Triangle Photography Festival which runs this month throughout the triangle -- Chapel Hill, Durham, Hillsborough and Raleigh. The festival provides a forum for exhibits along with locations for photographers to discuss and feature their work.
(photographs taken at the University of North Carolina Ackland Art Museum, PhotoVision: Selections from a Decade of Collecting, in Chapel Hill)
Chapel Hill's 42nd annual Festifall Arts Festival coaxed thousands onto Franklin Street Sunday for an afternoon of brilliant blue skies and endless amusement. Here are some festival moments.
(photographs taken at the 42nd Annual Festifall Arts Festival on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill)
Metal dinosaur skeletons, soaring geometric forms, rolled paper on a plaster wall, gigantic primate images, and a teepee that when one steps inside, is beamed into a universe of planets. These are but a handful of sculptures flecked across the 17-acre JimGin Farm in Chatham County, yes a farm. Horses and potbellies reside there too, but it's the plethora of local art that lures hoards of families -- including leashed four-legged members -- to the Come Out and Play sculpture shows in August and September. For the past 13 years, the art show has been a staple at the home of Debbie Meyer and Eric Brantley. It has grown from less than a dozen participating artists to more than 60 this past year. An estimated 1,800 folks flock here to take in the art, purchase one-of-a-kinds, listen to live music, feed animals and delight in the potluck served by Debbie and her friends and family. Best part, artists keep 100% of revenues on sales. It's an event that has burgeoned over the years, but clings to its down-home roots.
While this year's show has come to a close, mark your calendar for next summer!
(photographs taken at the Come Out and Play final reception held on September 20 in Pittsboro)
He painted the delicate white dogwood blossoms first. Then added a backdrop in a deep green hue. And culminated by repeating blossoms trailing down the side of the building. Michael Brown's mural of North Carolina's state flower, "Dogwoods," evolved in three phases between 2009-2011. It can be seen from the parking lot behind the Chapel Hill Orange County Visitors Bureau on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
Brown has created a sundry of murals across Chapel Hill/Carrboro that have shaped the character of the sister towns including: The Blue Mural, Sea Turtles, Quilt, Parade of Humanity, Jigsaw Puzzle and Marathon.
(photograph taken behind the building at 501 West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill)
Stumped by the oversized jigsaw puzzle pieces painted arbitrarily on a number of Chapel Hill buildings? These pieces stem from a mural wedged in an alley off Franklin Street near the Varsity Theatre.
"Jigsaw Puzzle" (1999) was commissioned by the town of Chapel Hill with the intent to deter vandalism that was often strewn down this stretch between the Rosemary Street lot and Franklin Street. Since Chapel Hill muralist Michael Brown's work was often left untouched, the town suggested Brown erect a mural.
With a troupe of student volunteers, Brown painted one side "Carolina Blue" (though sun-faded over time) to give the claustrophobic alley a more open feel, like that of a daytime sky. As a juxtaposition he added "Duke Blue" on the opposing wall, the one closer to the city of Durham. The dark blue colors also suggested that of a night sky. The mural is a double entendre: Carolina vs. Duke, and Day vs. Night. Brown then added an additional dimension incorporating interlocking puzzle pieces that appear to be missing from the mural. He took this concept a step further by asking the volunteers to paint missing pieces randomly around town, adding mystery to an already elusive piece.
(photographs taken on Franklin Street between Colombia/Henderson streets in the alley near the Varsity Theatre)