Click here to see a schedule of Orange County exhibits:
Chapel Hill & Carrboro – Opening during Second Friday ArtWalk, June 8
Hillsborough – Opening during Last Friday ArtWalk, June 29
By Alicia Stemper/Vitamin O
During Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, photographer Donn Young envisioned a statewide art exhibit organized around the theme The Walls We Build. Young pitched the idea to the co-founders of Artists United over iced tea. “I was shot down immediately.”
However, Young, Tinka Jordy and Katie Bowler-Young continued to massage the idea. Young notes his co-founders both bring “more sophistication toward communication and the arts than I do.” With their guidance and with Young as the driving force, plans for an ambitious series of Triangle wide art exhibits and performances emerged. Scheduled for June, events are connected through the existing structure of Friday Art Walks.
Art Walk events are in Raleigh on the 1st Friday of each month, and in Chapel Hill/Carrboro on the 2nd Friday. Durham hosts on the third Friday, and Hillsborough says “See you last Friday” about their events. In addition to Art Walks, galleries, schools, museums, businesses, and pop-up artists will showcase work related to The Walls We Build theme. One such local event will be the Pride Piper Walk in Carrboro at 6 pm on Tuesday, June 5. This celebration of gay pride month will feature music, Steven Ray Miller’s Rainbow Ram, and the unveiling of muralist Michael Brown’s new painting of Joe Herzenberg, the state’s first openly gay elected official. Another is a poetry reading emceed by Jaki Shelton Green at Flyleaf books on June 7th. And in Hillsborough, a collaboration between Young and Randi Byrd (pictured) involving Native American responses to a stereotypical portrayal of tribal leadership will be on display at the Thomas Stevens Gallery.
Artists United is a collection of artists from all disciplines. Express interest and you are a member: Says Young, “There is no way you can have Artists United and have walls to stop people from joining.” He adds, “We all look better in unity.” At its core, Young stresses the exhibits and events of The Walls We Build project are a protest – “a protest of artists using their art. No bullhorns. No placards. Just artists with their art.”