MARCH Into the Arts
March is a month filled with expectation. The cold, dreary days of winter become less and less, just as the days begin to grow long. Spring teases us with warm afternoons and blooming daffodils. And every day, as we slip on our boots, we glance at our sandals and know that we won’t have to wait much longer. We feel hopeful and excited for the months to come. We start working on our to-do lists and dreaming of our futures. Yes, March is a month filled with expectation and that is the undertone in Rowan County’s arts community.
What to Expect
March brings with it some exciting opportunities to be an original and enjoy the arts. Lee St. Theatre is introducing their newest show, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” This family-friendly show, based on the iconic Sunday morning comics by Charles M. Schulz, is sure to leave you reminiscing about simpler times when our biggest worry was making it home before dark. In addition to their new Live streaming app, Lee St Theatre will also be taking advantage of the spring weather and hosting two outdoor performances on March 14, 2021. Talk about simpler times! This outdoor performance will take place “drive-in style” in the parking lot adjacent to the theatre. Lee Street’s Executive Director Rod Oden explained, “when the governor reopened performance spaces at 30% capacity, we had just started filming “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” The Board and I agreed we wanted to reconnect with our audiences immediately, and so we came up with the idea of an outdoor performance based on other theatre models back last spring. CLUE will be our first in-person and streamed performance in April.” Space is limited, so get your tickets early.
Tickets for the drive-in show are only $25 per car and can be purchased on Lee Street’s website at leestreet.org.
As the weather continues to warm up, we’ll see more and more outdoor performances, particularly from local musicians. Keep an eye on spots like New Sarum Brewing Company, Morgan Ridge Railwalk Brewery & Eatery, Morgan Ridge Vineyards, Sgt Peppers, and DJ’s Restaurant & Skylounge.
Don’t Resist the Impulse
Other great opportunities include Impulse, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s annual spring exhibition. This exhibition is open to all Rowan-Cabarrus Community College students regardless of their major. This gives those creatives who are pursuing degrees in other disciplines a unique opportunity to show off their artistic skills and to receive feedback from both the Art & Design faculty and the public. This year, the department is utilizing a virtual exhibition platform called Artsteps. As Art & Design faculty member Parker Reinecker explains, “In regards to our department, with our student body and community, using Artsteps makes our students’ work so much more accessible. Along with the virtual opening via zoom it also stands as a reminder to students and our community that you aren’t alone during this time.” This interactive platform allows art patrons to explore the exhibition in virtual reality from any mobile device or computer. Patrons can navigate through the exhibition and interact with the artworks. Not only is this an excellent opportunity to enjoy the arts, it is also an opportunity to support our local student artists and to help them to grow in their field.
These exhibitions give students the opportunity to learn important guidelines for submitting and displaying works in a gallery setting. They also provide students with opportunities to begin talking about their work, about their style, their methods and their thought process. When the community lends their eyes and ears to local art students it instills confidence and motivates them to continue down their path. Travis Philips, a full-time faculty member in the Art & Design Department echoed this, stating “art has a unique way of bringing people together and helping us process the human experience (And… we have a lot to process these days). It is a sort of melting pot of ideas, experiences, and perspectives that would typically not overlap. The world at large (our community included) needs more than ever to come together.” An opening reception for Impulse will be held via Zoom on March 25, 2021 at 5 pm. During this opening reception, visitors will have an opportunity to meet the artists and hear more about select works on display. The reception is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
For more information about the opening, please be sure to check out the Art & Design Department website at https://www.rccc.edu/finearts/
Savannah Taylor, Leaf Pen Holder, steel; 12th Grade RCHSA (Waterworks.org)
Allison Torres, 4th grade, Koontz Elementary (Waterworks.org)
What About Waterworks?
Speaking of students, don’t miss your chance to check out the 39th annual Celebrating Young Artists exhibition series at Waterworks Visual Arts Center. This year’s exhibition is accessible via Waterworks’ website and features K-12 students in private, public and independent home schools. This year’s show will be released in three parts. Beginning on March 3, 2021 patrons can view the select works of Rowan-Salisbury School’s elementary age students who excelled in a particular style or medium. These works will remain on display until the middle schoolers make their grand appearance on March 24, 2021, followed by the high schoolers on April 21, 2021. This show has become an important part of the Rowan community over the years. As Waterwork’s Executive Director Anne Scott Clement explains, “what makes the show special for me is the pride that the children have in themselves to have their work displayed in a professional museum setting and to publicly share it with their families and friends during the opening reception.” She goes on to share that during pre-Covid times “the children arrive for the opening dressed in a special outfit they have selected. I often ask them while welcoming them to Waterworks, ‘Is this your first museum show?’ With a sparkle in their eyes, they answer with great pride, ‘yes!’ The parents are equally proud and seize every opportunity to snap a photo and to show their appreciation. For some, this is their first engagement with Waterworks, or a museum in general.”
Emilyn Cochran, 4th grade, Rockwell Elementary (Waterworks.org)Allison Torres, 4th grade, Koontz Elementary (Waterworks.org)
The Show Goes On
Due to the pandemic, this year’s show required Waterworks to rely heavily on fine arts specialists throughout the county. Not only were the specialists responsible for teaching these young artists, but also for selecting the artworks, photographing the works and uploading them onto the Waterworks website. But as with everything, there is a silver lining. Taking the show virtual means it is accessible to be viewed by anyone, anywhere. Family members and friends who live outside the area can now view the works and support these young artists from the safety and comfort of their homes. Clement shared that “Although we are temporarily unable to engage with these wonderful young artists, we are grateful for their continued focus on their creations, and their commitment to learning from their art specialists. We will certainly miss greeting everyone in the galleries this year, but hope in 2022 that we will all be able to gather once again.”
No matter what you expect to get into this spring, there’s no doubt that here in Rowan County, there is plenty of fun to choose from. Support the local arts community, enjoy a performance or an art exhibition, and find some inspiration. There’s really no better time!
Leland Wiles, oil pastels and watercolor, 3rd grade, Shive Elementary (Waterworks.org)
This year’s concert on Sept. 11, will “Remember, Recognize and Rejoice,” remembering the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, recognizing all the health care workers “who have so arduously fought the pandemic, and rejoicing over the opening of Bell Tower Green,” says Maestro David Hagy, who will conduct the performance, now in its 17th year.
Theater is finally returning to Rowan County, with new seasons announced by Lee St theatre and Piedmont Players.
After more than a year of the Covid-19 pandemic, some things have changed, but not the plan to entertain and educate Rowan theatergoers.