What I Love About…The Triangle – The Arts
In my first post on this subject back in September 2009, I talked about how happening the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill (commonly known as The Triangle) tech community is. Today I’m going to focus on the vibrant arts community we have here. Whether it be our regional museums, dance ensembles, performing arts venues, etc. this is one community that literally rivals any major metropolitan area and I’m going to show you some of the reasons why.
NC Museum of Art
The North Carolina Museum of Art is an extraordinary place. From permanent collections to special exhibitions to outdoor film outings on the back wall (in the summer) to jazz concerts and special performances, this is one museum that runs the gamut when it comes to the arts. The stunning new West Building just opened a couple of years ago and with over 127,000 square feet of space, it’s environmentally friendly and airy. The Museum Park offers rolling hills and nature paths taking visitors to nature-inspired works of art. Picnics in the park are frequent during beautiful Carolina spring, summer and fall days. The NC Museum of Art is one of my very favorite places to visit.
The Carolina Ballet
I am absolutely in love with the Carolina Ballet and the funny thing is while we have lived here for just over 7 years, I hadn’t gone to a performance until last fall. It was then I wondered how on earth I had missed it!
Growing up, I had attended many Boston Ballet performances and I honestly thought there was no other ballet (in the regions I would call home later in life) that could rival the beauty of the Boston Ballet…until I attended Carolina Ballet’s “Black and White Swan” performance in September of 2011. I was absolutely blown away by the artistry and athleticism our dancers showcase. WOW. I have since attended “Dracula” and “The Nutcracker”. I look forward to next month’s “Beauty and the Beast” AND I’m going to work a season membership into my budget for their 15th season too!
The NC Theater
I’ll be honest. I haven’t attended a performance by the North Carolina Theater…yet. I am tonight, though. I’m heading to see their performance of “Steel Magnolias” and I’m excited!
In October of 2011, the NC Symphony hosted “Artstober” and that was actually my first taste of NC Theater (as well as NC Opera and Pinecone below). It was a free event open to the public to showcase what the NC and Triangle arts community has to offer. There were all kinds of performance samples, art displayed (and being painted on the spot), activities for the kids, etc. What a great way to introduce the community to arts in the community! Needless to say, I’m looking forward to my first NC Theater performance tonight and it’s probably a safe bet that I’ll be documenting it too.
I was absolutely mesmerized by the performance of the North Carolina Opera singers at Artstober. These two ladies in the image above were stunning as were the men who performed as well. Their final performance of the season is “one of Giuseppe Verdi’s greatest operas”, Il Trovatre. So romantic! Here’s a sampling from Noah Stewart who portrays “Manrico” in the peformance:
I have to give props to my friends The Wells for first introducing me to the beauty of bluegrass and traditional North Carolina music. Pinecone is the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. They too were at Artstober and once again, I just loved what I heard and saw! From concerts and events to jam sessions to a Sunday evening radio program on WQDR FM, the sights and sounds of traditional bluegrass music showcase the culture of North Carolina.
The Clayton Center
The “Jewel of the Downtown”, The Clayton Center is home to many local and national performances alike. From Clayton Youth Theater performances to main stage artists like The Robert Cray Band or Nanci Griffith, this is one arts venue you definitely should check out. The acoustics are phenomenal. I’ve attended several events there in the last 7 years and I looked forward to each one. The history of the venue alone is worth supporting. Check out Executive Director, Heidi Stump’s interview with The Clayton Channel for more.
The Garner Performing Arts Center (GPAC)
The former Garner Historic Auditorium has had a major re-branding and is now the Garner Performing Arts Center or the GPAC for short. Of course, I live in Garner so naturally I want to support Garner arts. But, I have to say, since the town hired Debbie Dunn to oversea the facility and all of its programs, I’m really loving the caliber of talent and shows that are being offered. This and next weekend is the Towne Players of Garner performance of “Father of the Bride”…and the Towne Players are good! It’s a historic facility at the center of an old school building and it offers Garner a little bit of culture. I love it!
These are just a few of the arts venues in the Triangle, most of which I have either attended an event, exhibit or performance at. Thus, the reason for inclusion in this post.
If YOU live in the Triangle, what are some of your favorite arts organizations or venues to see a performance and why? I’d love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below.
All images by Lisa Sullivan. ©2011. All Rights Reserved.