The Arts Council of Wilmington’s monthly Fourth Friday Gallery Nights are a favorite among the community. On Thursday, Jan. 12, UNCW will host their own rendition of the event through their inaugural Campus Art Walk. Each month, during one night, four different exhibits can be explored, as well as career focusing and networking opportunities for art students. Stefani Norris, director of Campus Life and Art Programs, coordinated several campus galleries with upcoming shows to combine their opening receptions on the same night to create the event.
“We have a partnership with all of the galleries on campus individually, and each of us work together,” Norris says. “I knew the art walks downtown were popular, and one of our offices on campus was encouraging students to participate in them. I thought it would be nice to simulate that idea on campus.”
Campus Art Walk will consist of the Biennial Faculty Exhibition, “NC Living Treasures: A Look Back on 30 Years of Craft,” “Unspoken” by artist Gemynii, and “Success Beyond the Scholarship: A Retrospective.”
The highlights at each exhibit include artist talks that begin at staggered times. Like Fourth Friday, guests are free to begin and end the walk at any of the galleries. In order to hear formal remarks at each exhibit, however, guests would start at the Cultural Arts Building on campus at the Biennial Faculty Exhibition.
The exhibit, held in the CAB Art Gallery, will feature the current work of UNCW’s studio art faculty members—Donald Furst, Ned Irvine, Courtney Johnson, Annie Lindberg, Casey Scharling, Shannon Bourne, Andi Steele, Pam Toll, Jeremy Millard, and Aaron Wilcox. The exhibit will remain on exhibit at CAB until Feb. 17.
“We’ll have Kristen Brogdon, our director of art, and Rhonda Bellamy, chair of Wilmington Arts Council, escorting guests in 45-minute rotations to each venue,” Norris says.
After visiting the CAB Art Gallery, guests are encouraged to check out Randall Library for the next exhibition, “NC Living Treasures: A Look Back on 30 Years of Craft.” NC Living Treasures is an award given biannually to artists throughout the state who have used their craft to contribute to education and society. Designated by the UNCW Museum of World Cultures, the award was originally created by the late Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Shinn, who was a well-loved philosophy and religion professor at UNCW. Dr. Shinn coordinated the presentation of the award until his retirement.
“The library has a great relationship with North Carolina Living Treasures, so they thought that would be a great event to tie in with the evening,” Norris explains. The exhibit will consist of three decades of craftsmanship, from gunsmiths to potters, quilters to shipwrights, ceramists and more. Dr. Shinn’s daughter, Ruth Heath, will make an appearance to speak about her father’s legacy.
The tour guides will escort guests to the Fisher University Union where the final two shows will be held. One will be in the Boseman Gallery, which annually features the work of the Ann Flack Boseman Art Exhibition Scholarship recipient.
“The Ann Boseman Scholarship winner is the only solo show displayed in the Boseman gallery,” Norris adds. “Success beyond the Scholarship: A Retrospective,” differs from the usual scholarship shows in that it highlights the progress of the award’s past winners from 2005-2010. Each artist will display the piece that won them the scholarship, as well as one recent piece to show how their work has evolved over the years. The winning and post-scholarship pieces will be available for viewing until Feb. 10.
Across the hall from the Boseman Gallery is the Upperman African American Cultural Center, which will host the opening reception for “Unspoken,” a collection by artist Gemynii of Durham, NC. A self-taught artist, Gemynii is a painter, poet, writer, art instructor, and community activist. Her paintings and drawings are heavily influenced by social issues dealing with race and gender acceptance, as well as music and the human body. Gemynii’s collection at the Upperman Center will take spectators out of their comfort zones as they are challenged to think critically about topics evident among our modern society, including white supremacy and patriarchy. This exhibit will continue to hang in the Upperman Center until May 30.
The artists from each gallery at the Fisher University Union will speak at 7:15 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvre will be provided at each venue. Catering will be provided by Aramark, UNCW’s dining services. Free visitor parking will be available in Lot M across from the Fisher Field House. Admission to the Inaugural Campus Art Walk is free for guests to attend, and select pieces throughout the art walk will be for sale.
“This event serves to show the public the many opportunities there are to engage in the visual arts on campus,” Norris says. “We hope to continue the tradition.”