Open Studio in Downtown Chapel Hill
This summer, an art studio will pop up in a vacant storefront in downtown Chapel Hill, offering visitors a chance to watch four talented local artists at work. Studio 109 is a collaboration of the Town of Chapel Hill’s Division of Community Arts & Culture, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, UNC-Chapel Hill Arts Everywhere, and the Orange County Arts Commission. The studio officially opened its doors at 109 E. Franklin St. from 6–9 p.m. Friday, June 14, with a “Meet the Artists” reception as part of downtown Chapel Hill’s Second Friday ArtWalk series.
The artists that will be working in the studio this summer are Charlie Dupee, a graphic designer and painter; Paul Estrada, an art teacher at Chapel Hill High School who works in a variety of media; Ayla Gizlice, a mixed media artist who focuses on environmental art; and Heather Lewis, whose mixed-media works focus on loss and the process of grieving. More than thirty Orange County artists submitted proposals as part of a competitive application process, representing a variety of artistic platforms, from painting and printmaking to performance and papier maché. A selection committee chose these four artists to serve as the inaugural Community Artists-in-Residence at the studio. The four will each receive a $1,000 stipend and the use of the studio for the summer months. In exchange, the artists agree to work “in the open,” meaning that during certain hours, members of the public can come in, watch them work, and talk to them about their art. Each artist will also teach two community workshops during the summer, either at the studio or out in the community.
Susan Brown, Executive Director for Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, says the project advances several strategic goals, including creating more arts experiences downtown, activating vacant spaces with art, and showcasing great artists who call the Chapel Hill area home. Brown notes that Studio 109 is a true collaboration, “We are so pleased to have our partners at the university, in downtown, and at the county level partnering on this project that meets many of our shared goals.” Brown also gives special thanks to Gordon Merklein, Associate Vice Chancellor for Real Estate Operations at UNC-Chapel Hill, saying that while UNC has the space leased, they were happy to partner on this, “I approached Gordon with the idea of using the space for some pop-up arts events and he immediately agreed, offering his full support for bringing more art to downtown.”
In addition to regular hours, Studio 109 will host special events for each of the Summer Second Friday ArtWalks. After the Meet the Artists event this Friday evening, regular studio hours will start and are expected to be as follows:
- Monday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Tuesdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Wednesdays 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- Thursdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Fridays 12 noon – 6p.m.
- Saturdays 1 p.m. – 7p.m.
- Sundays 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
For more information about the project and the artists, follow the project partners on social media at @chcommunityarts, @chdpartnership, @artseverywhere, and @OCNCarts