It is sometimes the nature of an artist to steal away into a secluded environment to immerse themselves in their work. We will work maniacally for hours on end. Sometimes we miss meals, forget to drink water, forget to stretch or rest. We focus on this creative space deep in the tunnels of our minds and allow ourselves to get lost in it. Other times, we find ourselves at a standstill. We stare, wide-eyed at a blank canvas and, for whatever reason, we can’t seem to form a single, real idea. It is during these times that we begin to really question ourselves as artists and self-doubt begins to take hold. Here in Rowan County, arts organizations are combating this sort of “artist block” by providing fun opportunities for artists to work in spaces that are filled with lively energy. These collaborative opportunities spark important and inspiring ideas and dialogue that help artists to overcome that block and move onto their next great feat.
Coffee Shop Meet-Ups
For all my life, coffee shops and artists seem to go together like ice cream and cake. Between the eclectic atmosphere, the people watching, and the intimate spaces, coffee shops draw us in and invite us to observe, to think, and to create. The Mean Mug Coffee Company in Downtown Salisbury offers several monthly opportunities for artists. Every second and fourth Wednesday they hold Drink & Draw, “an informal event for like-minded people to get together, grab a drink, & DRAW.” At this event, artists may be given a theme to spark an idea. Other times they simply gather together and share space.
Just Be Yourself at Center for Faith and the Arts
Just down the road in the Chestnut Hill area, Center for Faith and the Arts offers Art Tones on select Monday evenings. During Art Tones, Center for Faith and the Arts open their doors to the public and invite area artists of all types to stop in, create, inspire, ask, and answer questions and really, anything else of interest. In addition to the classroom spaces, participants can also enjoy the open gallery space, the piano, the drums and the WIFI. Attendees can join in free of charge, but donations to support the center are always welcomed.
As resident artist Shane Manier points out, “Creativity sometimes thrives on isolation and hiding out in our own private studio space no matter how small. Other times, the private, isolated space turns into more of a prison. We get bogged down and have no one to talk us out of the bog. We hit a problem and have no one to turn to for answers. We doubt ourselves and have no one to talk to. We have an idea but need suggestions on how to make it come to life. We want to take a break and just chill with like-minded folks. Sometimes we just need more room and a bigger table.”
What’s New – Vibes
Other opportunities to collaborate include the arts incubator that has recently emerged on S. Fulton Street. Vibes, The Premier Creative Arts Incubator, is a brand-new endeavor by Community Leader and Fashion Designer, Sabrina Harris. For Mrs. Harris, Vibes represents an opportunity for artists to engage one another, lift one another and grow together through community engagement, activism, and innovation.
“Artists can benefit by seeing their arts through another set of eyes in a way that help them grow what they are creating. The feeling of a connecting thread is what Vibe is interesting in creating,” Harris explained. Harris has been hard at work for several months assembling a team of creative minds to help shape the vision and future of Vibes. Mr. Yeddi Lino is the Head Photographer over at Vibes and can be found bouncing around during events and working to capture that perfect shot. “Vibes is more than a space to me….it is HOME! We are all a family which makes the space a lot more meaningful. Vibes gives me the opportunity to explore all of my dreams with NO limitations! I am free at Vibes,” Lino shared.
Since opening last month, Harris has hosted several spoken word events known as Uncensored. During these events, spoken word artists and poets perform their work in an art-filled, mood setting, alongside local Jazz musicians. Candice Kimble works as an assistant to Mrs. Harris but also enjoys performing at Vibes during the Uncensored events. “Vibes for me is an escape from my reality. It allows me to take off the mommy hat (that I wear much more than any other hat) and be Candice. The space carries high vibrations and it has become my happy place when my vibrations are off. Within those walls I have gained confidence to explore my spoken word seriously and find what makes me free and happy as an individual,” Kimble said.
Givin’ Good and Warm Vibes
Harris has also hosted a marketing class for creative entrepreneurs, events such as “Givin’ Good and Warm Vibes” on Saturdays to feed those in need, small business events for entrepreneurs of all ages and more! Harris is actively working to solidify her business model along with her team of local creatives who all have a passion for helping their community. Coming up, she hopes to host College Nights, rotating art exhibitions, and more classes. She also hopes that artists will use the space to collaborate and create new pieces.
What’s in Store for the Community
Local Visual Artist and Singer/Songwriter, Jae Wheeler is playing an active role at Vibes and is excited for the role it will play in the community. “I think the community needs a space like this because Salisbury is a relatively small town and there aren’t many, if any, movements such as that of VIBES currently present in the city, creating the kind of artistic platform that VIBES is offering. Art is an important part of society and I think VIBES existing to support the arts will turn out and is turning out to be a great thing for the city of Salisbury.” Wheeler went on to explain that “artists can benefit from utilizing this space by having a fresh, but innovative art platform from which to release their art to art collectors. Likewise, possibly have an opportunity to collaborate in ways they hadn’t had the chance to with different platforms before.”
As we adjust to shorter days and Winter weather, let’s strive to remember that we are not alone and the opportunities to create, engage and express are growing. Grab some boots and your favorite art supplies and head out into the community. Here in Rowan County, you’re sure to find plenty of like-minded people to share space with and to fight back against those winter blues. Maybe I’ll see you there!
To find more information about the opportunities available at Vibes, please check out the website at http://www.vibesalisbury.com/ or visit them on Facebook or Instagram.