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Painted crosswalks add a vibrant touch to RailWalk Arts District

by | Oct 12, 2022 | Arts

Making a trip to Downtown Salisbury? Be sure to head over the the RailWalk Arts District and look down. Bright new paintings have sprung up on the crosswalks at Lee and Kerr Streets and elsewhere.

The Paint the Pavement project was created in 2021, with input from a variety of sources, including students in an art class at Henderson Independent High School.

Covid hit, and then the special street-quality paint needed was nowhere to be found, so the project was put on hold. But recently, the streets were filled with enormous vegetables and other artwork.

Shane Manier, artist-in-residence at the Center for Faith & the Arts in Salisbury (http://www.faithart.org or https://www.facebook.com/creativecontemplation/) , was out painting Sept. 24 and 25 with a small crew, creating two of the crosswalks.

“Everybody did such a great job, we had so much fun,” she said. “We rocked it in two days. We got a lot of support from (city) staff who fed us and made sure we had what we needed; the Public Art Committee helped.”

One of her favorite designs in the crosswalks is a tree drawn by a former Henderson student. “Sadly, those students have moved on since then. There are a lot of students in foster care, or they go back to their original schools.

How do you Paint the Pavement near the Farmers Market? With vegetables, of course.

The student-designed tree is the focal point of the crosswalk at Lee and Kerr streets, a symbol of hope that’s part of the Paint the Pavement Project.

Tree of life

The creator of the tree did the sketch while he was in jail. He told Shane that it helped him to heal. It was a pencil sketch, with half the tree shedding leaves and the other half full. It represented his past life and the life he hoped to create.

Shane said the student knew the artwork would be included, but she has not been able to get in touch to show the results. “It was beautiful for me to honor his work.”

Luckily, Tropical Storm Ian did no damage when it hit just a week after painting.

“When we talked about what else to paint, the idea of the vegetables seemed a natural.”

“Knowing what it looked like before and seeing it now, it really makes you happy,” Shane says. “Several people thanked us while we were doing it. They thanked the city and Alyssa Nelson,” urban design planner in the Community Planning Services for the city. “Folks from the yoga studio (SoFul Yoga) were over the moon about it.”

Shane believes that “showing color and vibrancy and symbols that instill hope and joy and celebration and empowerment, those can really shift mood, change your outlook. For that reason alone, you should go there and get your heart cup filled up.”

Shane Manier, artist-in-residence at Canter for Faith & the Arts, shows the Tree of Life, created by a former Henderson Independent High School student, now part of Paint the Pavement at Lee and Kerr streets.

Giving students hope

At Henderson, Shane and the other artists do visual art and poetry, all based in personal development. “We want to instill life lessons and personal growth, do anger management, centered in art. We might do a stencil of the body and ask students to color in where your anger is before they blow up. We show them they have options can take back some control of their lives.

“We often go in needing the class as much as they do.”

The class has eight students now and will probably get to 12-14 by the end of the year.

“We feel like we’re making a difference. Some students have left gangs. We don’t save anybody, but we allow space for them to save themselves, we help them figure out what they need and how to respond, what can you do to get control back and have a plan.”

Shane says, “Hopefully, knowing Henderson students had a say in the designs will shed positive light on those students. I’m hoping it will open the city up to more art opportunities for the community. It’s great to meet other artists, and I hope it encourages more collaborations, the city seeing all of us doing it together.”

A few of the folks who helped Paint the Pavement with vibrant designs.

Lending a hand

The collaborating artists include Shane (https://www.facebook.com/shane.manier.7) , Stefanie Boughton, and DeNeer Davis, an artist from Charlotte. Both come to the Henderson program which includes visual arts, poetry and more.

What do you think about the project?

DeNeer thinks the project is, “A great way to bring some love and light to Salisbury. The art looks amazing!

She says the student involvement is exciting. “They have desires and voices, they have passions, and to know they were involved brings me joy. I pray they continue with the art journey and continue to use their voice!”

DeNeer, a muralist, sneaker artist, inspirational speaker, says, “I am passionate about community, and giving our youth the space and opportunity to use their voice to be the change they wish to see.

Another artist helped paint that day, Storm Kimball, from Playing for Others, a non-profit in Charlotte. C.J. Peters, a local musician, artist and contractor, and Shane’s fiancé, Daniel Arthur Gurley, and Jessicha Kean also pitched in.

The Paint the Pavement project was funded by the North Carolina CARES for Arts Grant from Rowan Arts Council. Materials were supplied by the Salisbury Public Art Committee.

The Paint the Pavement project, delayed a year, is now adding a lot of color to the streets around the Railwalk Arts District.

More art events

Kids Writing Workshop, Kannapolis Library, 850 Mountain St., Kannapolis, 2 p.m. Oct. 13. Ages 7-11 – Bring out the creative writer in you with story starters, prompts, and games! View the full event details here: https://go.activecalendar.com/cabarruscounty/site/library/event/kids-writing-workshop-kan-22/

Lee St theatre, 329 N. Lee St., Salisbury. “Dracula,” Oct. 14-15 and 21-22, 7:30 p.m. This new adaptation contains adult themes as the play explores the seduction and suspense of Bram Stoker’s book. Filled with horror and humor, this new version is wickedly theatrical. For tickets, go to https://leestreet.org/season-15/dracula/

Spotlight Series: “Wit,” Nov. 3-5, 7:30 p.m. Vivian Bearing, a renowned English professor who has spent years studying and teaching the sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her approach to Donne has been aggressively probing, intensely rational. But during her illness — and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy program — Vivian reassesses her life and work with a profundity and humor that are transformative.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this performance includes the use of adult language and themes. This will be the first performance in the new Lee Street LAB space, which provides an intimate and unique experience to enjoy productions. For tickets, https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=lee

Two nights only, the popular musical “Tick, Tick … Boom!” Nov. 11-12, 7:30 p.m., Lee St LAB space. Before “Rent,” there was “Tick, Tick… Boom!” This autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning composer of “Rent,” is the story of a composer and the sacrifices he made to achieve his big break in theatre. Featuring the talents of Matt Carlson, Joey Moray and Lizzie Ruiz.  https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=lee

Nov. 11-12 only, ‘Tick, Tick…Boom!’ at Lee St theatre, part of its Spotlight Series.

Piedmont Players theatre, Meroney Theatre, 213 S. Main St., “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” Oct. 21-12, 28-29 and Nov. 4 and 5, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 and 30 and Nov. 6, 2:30 p.m. The play traces the brilliant trajectory of Monty Navarro, a charmer, seducer and avenger, on his quest for recognition and family fortune. He’s expecting an earldom from the D’Ysquith family, but he’s eighth in line. Twists and turns ensue. For tickets, go to https://piedmontplayers.com/show/gentlemens-guide/ Or call 704-633-5471.

After Dark Series, “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” Nov. 10-12, 8:30 p.m. After-dinner theatre — every ticket includes dessert, wine and a show. Visit https://piedmontplayers.com/#whats-on

Waterworks Visual Art Center, 123 E. Liberty St., Salisbury https://www.waterworks.org : Holiday Family Fun: Winter Solstice Lanterns, Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Cost:  $45/$30 members; one adult plus child.

Winter Solstice has been celebrated all over the world for thousands of years. It occurs on the shortest day and longest night. Often the first day of winter, it is a time to celebrate and invite the light back into our lives. Families are invited to design winter solstice lanterns and participate in a parade at the Bell Tower Green Park, Wednesday, Dec. 21. Instructor, Jackie Black.

Rail Walk Studios and Gallery, 409-413 N. Lee St., https://www.railwalkstudiosandgallery.com/services-9, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Student Exhibit, Oct. 21-Nov. 5, opening reception, Oct. 21, 5-7 p.m. Juried exhibition of work by Art & Design students.

Open House Reception, Saturday, Nov. 11, 6-9 p.m. Meet the artists and enjoy the exhibits.

Salisbury Symphony: “Soaring Melodies,” Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., Keppel Auditorium at Catawba College. Two melodic pieces from the 20th Century: Florence Price’s First Violin Concerto played by Young Concert Artist Lun Li and the monumental Second Symphony of the Russian pianist Serge Rachmaninov. A prolific composer during the 20th century, Price’s works were heard far less often than the level of their artistry really demanded both because she was a woman and person of color. A pre-concert talk featuring Lun Li and Maestro David Hagy begins at 7 p.m. in the concert hall. For tickets and more information, https://salisburysymphony.org/shows/soaring-melodies/ , or call 704-216-1513.

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About The Author

Deirdre Parker Smith

I grew up in the theater; my father was a set designer and my mother was an actress. My most magical memories are from the days when we worked on stage and backstage together. My father, James “Parkie” Parker was a well-respected member of the theatre arts department at Catawba College for 33 years. Though I was born in New York City, and lived for a time in Washington, D.C., I graduated from Salisbury High School and Wake Forest University and was a writer and editor at the Salisbury Post for 35 years. Watching talented people do their thing is a great joy — acting, singing, playing an instrument, painting, drawing, writing. I’ve been lucky to meet many awesome creative people over the years. Art, in all its forms, heals people, makes connections and gives us a deep joy.