Arts Council is back home
The grand opening was on May 4, and you could feel the happiness and positive energy among the staff, volunteers, artists and art supporters as many shouted with excitement, “We’re home, we’re home!”
Irene caused significant water damage to the building last August. But volunteers and staff managed to save the art.
“As the storm was coming, all of our volunteers and staff carried every piece of art upstairs,” said Dawn Church, president of DCAC.
Damage to the Manteo building meant a temporary relocation to Kitty Hawk. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and staff, the Dare County Arts Council was up and running quickly.
“We were so grateful to our staff and volunteers that helped make the transition and open the doors for business three days after the hurricane,” said Church.
While the art was saved, other items such as furniture and display cases did not fare as well even though it had been moved off the floor.
“We didn’t think it was going to be three feet of water inside the building,” said Church.
DCAC had to replace drywall and floors throughout the building. Standing water under the structure for several days had to drain before contractors could start mold abatement.
Dare County owns the building and has flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
“With the exception of service contractors who performed water extraction and mold abatement, all work was done by County employees,” said Dare County Manager Robert Otten.
The repair cost $24,977.24. FEMA paid the $2,000 deductible and NFIP paid the rest.
The Arts Council hired Jeffery Ballard with Ballard’s Custom Homes to do some structural renovation.“It wasn’t a big job. We did some structural work and opened up some walls to make the gallery look bigger,” Ballard said.
While Ballard was opening old walls, he came across an old transom. “It was very neat to find it,” he said. “I believe it was from 1902.”
“We think it’s an original,” said Church. “We haven’t had experts look at it yet, but we’ve seen older pictures of the courthouse and the same glass was there. We think it’s been covered up since the 70s.”
Neither Ballard nor Church believes the transom was covered for storm protection. Ballard said that it looked like it was covered to save electricity from the heat, or perhaps to use the space for an elevator that was added years later.
The old building still has the same historical look but shinier and with a fresh smell.
Tony Gomez with Bright Ideas Designs helped with the interior lights, which are one of the changes admired by visitors, especially photographers.
DCAC traditionally has an opening reception for new art exhibits on the First Friday Celebration in downtown Manteo.
The art show, “Water, water everywhere” includes artists Carol Trotman, Betty Boyd Lease and Fred Vallade. They introduced their latest creations designed specifically for this show.
Carol Trotman grew up in Iowa and Alaska. After she married, Trotman moved to Virginia where she started a family and continued her education at Old Dominion University.
She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and subsequently taught art for twenty years in the Virginia public school system.
“I have an innate and overwhelming passion to paint,” says Trotman. “To paint what intensely inspires me, to share that visual response with others. To catch the essence of the subject is my primary and foremost goal.”
Trotman’s choice of medium is watercolor. “Its characteristics of fluidity, transparency, and versatility are challenging, stimulating, and fun.”
Her subjects include, but are not limited to, ocean and sound views, birds, boats, buildings, animals, flowers and people.
She recently completed paintings of her travels to the coasts of France and Italy. To see some of her work, visit her website at www.caroltrotman.com
Trotman’s art can be found at The Island Art Gallery (Christmas shop) in Manteo, Art Space in Southern Shores and the Dare County Arts Council Gallery in Manteo.
Betty Boyd Lease is an eastern North Carolina native, dividing her time between New Bern and Manteo.
She teaches at East Carolina University, in the College of Nursing.
“My specialty is mental health. I work with children, teenagers, and chronically mental ill,” she said.
Two years ago, she became interested in mixed media collage. Creating art is a hobby for her.
“Freedom of the work attracts me and my interest. There are not a lot of rules. Each person that does mixed media, makes their own rules as they go. For me, that’s a lot of fun and it’s very hands-on art and you feel like you’re in the fourth grade again,” Lease said.
She uses a mix of specialty papers from around the world, as well as fabrics, acrylics, inks, wire, different items she finds such as, corks, shells, and other items that she likes to recycle.
She has 21 art pieces in the show. “They were all designed around the thought of water, or some component of water,” she said.
Nature and her husband inspire her.
“My husband is a photographer and he’s a tremendous inspiration. He’s a very creative individual,” she said.
This is her first show. “It was an honor to be asked to do this show by the Dare County Arts Council. Dare County has a rich history with their Arts Council and this show was particularly wonderful to be involved in because it’s the first one back in the wonderful old building,” Lease said.
Her art can be also found at Gallery 101 in Manteo.
Fred Vallade was born and raised in Altoona, Pa. He moved to New York City when he was 19. He was inspired to pursue his desire to paint, create and express himself through his work.
He has worked in almost every media. “My discovery of a new meaning of art through graphics was a new found fulfillment to me of a desire to communicate one’s personal convictions,” Vallade said.
Printmaking as a medium provided him a wealth of new materials and techniques that only modern technology made possible. He has enjoyed doing etchings and aquatints for 23 years.
He moved to the Outer Banks in 1993 and started a new direction in his art career, choosing clay as a new medium to focus on. His daughter, who has a degree in ceramics, influenced him.
“Somehow being on the Outer Banks just seemed to require more color in my life, after almost exclusively working in black and white for over 20 years,” Vallade said.
He uses earthenware clay mostly for his ceramic work and uses slab roller for his hand-built pieces. Most of his work is decorative rather than functional.
“I also incorporate other items such as wire, fused glass, lucite, found objects etc.,” he said.
The need to create inspires him spontaneously to build in clay. He does not approach clay the same way twice.
“I try to be flexible in my approach, both with the clay and in vision and to embrace the unpredictable. What clay is and what it can do are questions that I need to examine and hope to never find all the answers,” Vallade said.
He studied at the Art Students League in New York. He’s is a self-taught artist in the clay media, but everything that he learned from his instructors, has carried over to the form,design, concept, style, and color.
“Having dual careers most of my life, it was a big chore working a full time job to support a family and be able to work on my art, teach, and do shows,” Vallade said.
He’s been retired for a year and can work on art full time. “I am so busy, I don’t know how I ever had the time to work another job for almost 50 years,” he said.
Last November he got a permit to sell his work and have a studio/gallery at his house. Vallade teaches art classes for kids and his work is displayed at the KDH Cooperative gallery.
“Now that I only have one career, I plan on getting my work out to wider audience,” he said.
He will present a show at the This Century Gallery in Williamsburg in the near future.
Vallade paraphrased T.S. Elliot by saying, “I feel it unnecessary to explain art, a process which too often results in explaining it away,” he said.
DCAC Gallery will resume its regular summer hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The gallery is closed on Sundays.
For more information, call DCAC at (252) 473-5558.
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