The Road Less Traveled: "A" is for Artspace

August 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm (The Road Less Traveled)

In April, I posted my first Road Less Traveled installment about my visit to The Rocky Mount Art Center. The day trip to Rocky Mount, while worth the drive, took me 59 miles outside of Raleigh. So, as the summer of staycation vacations winds down, I thought I would tell you about one of my favorite places closer to home.

When I first moved to Raleigh eight years ago, one of the first places I visited was Artspace in Downtown Raleigh’s City Market Moore Square Art District. As I wandered down the artful halls, I never imagined that someday I would have my studio there.

Located in a historic building, Artspace was once the location of the city’s livery and later the Sanders Ford Car Dealership. Signs of Sanders Ford still swell from the brick walls. A metal arrow directing Please Park Left For Service hangs in the lobby and more conspicuously, the Sanders Ford logo peers out from under the blue Artspace sign in front.

Today, this 30,000 square foot building is home to 35 artists, including myself, working in a variety of media, along with three exhibition spaces, education space, a gift shop, and administrative offices.

According to its website, “Since its inception Artspace has inspired more than 2 million visitors and served as the heart of Raleigh’s visual art community. Artspace offers more than 100,000 visitors annually over 30 challenging and award-winning exhibitions, interactive workshops to over 2,000 school-aged children each year, art programming for at-risk youth, classes and workshops to over 3,000 youth and adults annually, and over 200 public events open to all in the community free of charge.”
Growing up in a major metropolitan city, I can tell you that the only open art studio environment we had was located in such a bad area of town, nobody ever went to it. Artspace is centrally located just steps away from Marbles Kids Museum and Fayetteville Street, and a Raleigh Rickshaw ride away from the State Capitol, The North Carolina Museum of History, and The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
This weekend, Artspace plays host to Family Fun Day. Carnival fun and games will include artist demonstrations, face painting, and make and take activities. For grownups, this Saturday, August 22nd, also marks the last Downtown Live Free Concert in Moore Square Park featuring the 90’s group Better than Ezra. This weekend I will be exhibiting a short drive away at the 33rd annual Lazy Daze Arts and Craft Festival in Downtown Cary.
So, whether you live or work in the Triangle or are just visiting this weekend or any weekend, plan your next staycation/vacation trip to Artspace. Artspace is open to the public 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and stays open until 10:oo p.m. the first Friday of every month. Admission is free.


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