For a variety of reasons, my family was excited about the move from the Midwest to North Carolina. Critical to me was the local art community. Some people consider art to be a luxury, especially in difficult economic times. I tend to agree with the philosophy of Michael Martin, who stated: “We may think art is entertainment, but it is in reality human engineering. Art is about engineering things so that humans feel they are harmonious and elegant in their context. Landscaping is about how juxtaposed bushes and trees together can create harmony and elegance. Architecture is about how juxtaposing structural elements creates beauty and elegance out of buildings. Art is the harmonizing of things and context that creates elegance and beauty.” Upon arriving in Raleigh, I began exploring the art centers, museums, and galleries in the Triangle area. When I walked into artspace, I was blown away. It’s the epitome of what an urban art center should be. Located in a revitalized downtown setting, the interior of the 3-story building retains an open, industrial look. A non-profit visual art center dedicated to presenting quality exhibitions and educational programs, it also promotes the visual arts by making the creative process accessible to the public. This is done via a unique environment where artists have their studios open to the public, inviting the community to become part of the creative process. There is a visual art center where children and adults can express their creativity through enriching educational programs, and venues for exhibitions by regional, national, and international artists. A stranger, I was greeted warmly by the staff, and the executive director even took time to welcome me to Raleigh, and answer my questions about the local art community. I was so impressed that I immediately became a member and signed up as a volunteer for artspace’s participation in downtown’s “First Friday” events. Since that time, my wife and I have made connections with several of the resident artists, sharing their love of art, philosophy, travel, theater, wine, coffee, local politics, and many other topics. We wanted to become integrated with the community, and artspace was our catalyst for doing that. artspace provides a great diversity of exhibition and educational opportunities. If they could expand the demographics of their membership base, students, and volunteers, it would help to counter the perception that the creation and appreciation of art is an elitist activity. artspace’s motto is “inspiring creative energy”. It certainly did that for me.
I have been involved with Artspace since 1989. It is one of the most vibrant, exhilarating, fun, and educational places that you will ever visit. The art is very high quality and the artists create their art on-site. Artspace provides the public with the rare opportunity to interact with artists as they are in the process of creating their art. Artspace has been a vital part of downtown Raleigh's resurgence and is the heart of the Research Triangle area art scene. For years, Artspace has provided a home for both the visual and performing arts and it has become an integral part of our community.
What a treasure Artspace is to the people of the Triangle area. Nowhere else is the entire process of an imagined work of art to a finished product so readily accessible. Creativity abounds within its wall and offers inspiration to all who have been lucky enough to walk it halls and galleries.
After being juried into Artspace Artists Association in 2002, I subsequently served two terms on Artspace Board of Directors. This experience allowed me to see it grow in terms of obtaining & rennovating the building, outreach to the youth of Raleigh and how Artspace supports the development & promotion of AAA members and bringing national and international artists to exhibit work. My own career has flourished through my association in AAA and the exhibits I have had there. I am committed to the work of Artspace because they are a phenomenal organization with a clear vision for fostering contemporary arts in the Triangle and southeastern environs.
I first experienced artspace just passing through and attending an occasional event or First Friday gallery walk, but in recent years I've been more closely involved by joining the Board of Directors and helping with fundraising, building issues, and other general support activities. I have also been involved with the Artspace Outreach program, where underpriviledged kids and adults are exposed to top-tier artists who help them express their creativity and gain a broader exposure to the arts than they ever could have otherwise. My company foundation has also chosen to help fund the Outreach wprogram for a number of years. This is a GREAT program and I've seen the results first hand in the proud, smiling faces of those touched by it. I can honestly say that Artspace does a lot with a little and is the nucleus of the burgeoning downtown Raleigh arts community. The building itself is great but the artists who inhabit the place and share their talents within and beyond the walls of the building are what truly make Artspace special and a hugely important part of the Raleigh non-profit community.
I was first drawn to Artspace as someone who enjoyed the work of some of the resident artists. The more I would wander down to Artspace, the more I was drawn in by the depth of what they do and the broad spectrum of their artists' work. Artspace is a great Downtown Raleigh neighbor and worth taking an some time to walk around and experience.
My family moved to the Raleigh area three and a half years ago and we were thrilled to find Artspace. We enjoy viewing and purchasing the work of local artists plus meeting the artists as well. Artspace has a wonderful variety of artists working in various mediums. Our son takes 6-8 classes during the summer. He loves learning from local artists and it is a great way for him to experiment in different mediums and enhance his skills.
I have been an instructor at Artspace for the past three years. I love it! The children I teach are thrilled with all the professional art. The staff is magnificent!
I have volunteered with Artspace on multiple occasions for various events and have been pleased with the experience. The organization seems well-run, although the staff often seems overworked. An additional staff member would certainly help with the planning and implementation process. Currently there are too few employees for labor to be delegated efficiently and equitably.
In February 2005, I was juried into Artspace as an exhibiting artist. A few months later, I moved into the building. As a studio artist, Artspace has provided me a place to create, collaborate with other artists, and exhibit my work. I have been fortunate enough to participate in both the annual New Works Show and the biennial Fine Contemporary Crafts exhibition. More importantly, Artspace has given me the opportunity to participate in a number of community events, such as doing demonstrations for the Downtown Raleigh Business Alliance and the Fayetteville Street Paint Out, as well as participating in community activities. I have been proud to participate in Artspace's Process and Product Program, an integrated art experience for fifth graders, as both a teacher and tour guide. I often say that Artspace is the center of the Downtown Raleigh arts scene, not just because its size or its location in the historic City Market, but also because of the way its outreach and educational programs extend far beyond the four walls of the building and into the community, inspiring creative energy by making the creative process accessible to the public. It is truly a special place.
We are blessed to have such a great cultural institution in the heart of downtown Raleigh. I've lived in major cities (San Francisco most recently) and never have I seen a place that draws a city's entire arts community together like Artspace. Well done!