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Uncomfortable Satisfaction
New Ownership Grand Opening
Projekte Gallery
523 S. Third St.
Sat., March 31st • 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

WHIMSY OF IRONWORKS: Jeff Bridgers’ delicately designed metalwork is just one of the featured displays during Projekte’s grand opening art show. Courtesy photo

Downtown Wilmington’s Projekte Gallery has gotten an innovative and exciting makeover! New owner Kraig Bienias has been transforming the art studio since he took over on January 15th. In just over two months, he has done a lot more than apply a fresh coat of paint to the walls and ceiling.

Where a lot of empty floor space used to lie is now home to colorful, vintage and cozy furniture—couches, chairs, tables, funky lamps, and more. It’s not all there for decoration, however. Just like all the art on display, the furniture is for sale. Gay Adair (of Gay Adair at Home in the 9th House) and Bienias have turned the gallery into a consignment shop as well.

But that’s not even all of it.

Projekte is now part-gallery, part-consignment shop and part-café. It serves Wilmingtonians organic fair trade coffee and tea, alongside craft beers and fine wines, baked goods and even offers free WI-FI. Bienias wanted to create a space with “more of a lounge-y and at-home feel, where you can bring your dog, laptop, just chill and listen to music.”

They will have live music and community events on various occasions, including a Brazilian music night every second and fourth Friday, which is likely to expand to more of an internationally themed night in the near future, Bienias says. Monday nights are open mic, for example; and Tuesdays are for film and theatre. Bienias had a large movie screen and a projector installed for this purpose.
“Eventually, what we want to do is get involved with UNCW and Cape Fear’s film programs,” he says, adding to it all the addition of contests and juried student work.

“My goal is to connect my business with the art/antique district, which most people think ends at 5th Street,” he says. Currently, quite an array of local art hangs on the walls and from the ceilings. One wall is even dedicated to Laney High School students, showcasing the work of many talented teenagers. “Almost all of it is local art,” Bienias affirms, as a way of “giving back to the community.”

By the middle of next week, though, the space will be filled with art by regional talent Jeff Bridgers and Sullivan Anlyan Dunn, in preparation for the first grand opening under new ownership. On Saturday, March 31st, “Uncomfortable Satisfaction” showcases pieces of art which depict “living with ourselves and others.”

Bridgers, who has been creating art since he was a teenager, began working with metal at the age of 18 and stuck with it. A collection of his ironworks, including bed frames and abstract floral sculptures will be displayed at Projekte. “Metalwork is such a functional material,” he says. “I find it extremely satisfying to see furniture or hardware I made that also incorporates an art form. Making my own tools is a bonus as well.”

In addition to this show, Bridgers has been creating art for Wilmington for years. Folks may recognize his work from displays at other galleries, such Bottega or Jonkheer Jewelry Art Studio. He even created the forged ironwork at Crow Hill about two years ago.
“Recently my ironwork has taken on new techniques and direction,” he adds. “The new smithy has opened many doors and hopefully the flow of the workspace will be pronounced in the gallery.”

Dunn will be contrasting the three-dimensional pieces with her oil-on-canvas artwork. “This particular series is an investigation of my life under my own microscope,” she details. “It is about the veils put over emotions and our tendency to disguise our feelings in order to protect ourselves. Putting these ideas and beliefs into a visual format helps me to evaluate, and either embrace them or move on.”
The opening reception for “Uncomfortable Satisfaction” will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., with a wine tasting, live music, and light hors d’oeuvre. The artwork will be shown through May 5th. Projekte Gallery is located at 523 South Third Street.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Morgan Kenney

    March 28, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Congrats….. I wish you the best…. I lived in the building for 4 years…had a wood and metal studio in the front where I designed and builting exhibits and furniture. I live in the back in what could best be described as a “loft” environment….looking forward to coming in soon…presently renovating a house in Bolton, NC…should wrap it up some time this week or next….will come by the Cafe’ and experience all the great things you’re implementing….
    Ciao, Morgan

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