The Color of Ordinary: Cape Fear Studios art exhibit highlights everyday objects

48Often overlooked objects such as bottle caps, jars and marbles step into the spotlight thanks to artist Donna Slade’s new exhibit The Color Of Ordinary featured at Cape Fear Art Studios until Oct. 23. The exhibit honors the colors and textures of these everyday items.

“I try to bring those objects — that maybe in an antique store that somebody walks by — to life in a pencil drawing,” Slade said.

The Wake Forest based artist said many pieces in the exhibit draw inspiration from objects found in antique shops. Many of these items now receive less attention due to modern technology, according to Slade.

“Those things are disappearing or folks are not as interested in them anymore, and you just don’t think about those things as much anymore, so it’s just important to keep them out there and remember those things,” Slade said.

Steve Opet, board president of Cape Fear Studios, said he hopes events such as this exhibit help to expose those in the area to art, further elating those already interested in art, and encouraging others to get more involved in viewing and practicing art.

“It’s an important way to express to the community and bring art to the community that they otherwise normally wouldn’t have a chance to be exposed to,” Opet said.

Describing the exhibit as “light and airy,” Slade said she hopes this collection of her work brings viewers enjoyment and some respite from the stresses of life.
Most of the works have been created with colored pencils.

Slade’s process for approaching this exhibit’s pieces begins with a reference photo. After making a sketch, Slade begins incorporating colors, moving from dark to light. Her pieces have as many as 25 to 30 layers.

Though the process can take up to hundreds of hours, Slade says she doesn’t bother keeping track of time.

“I would spend more time keeping track of the hours than working on them, and I’m not sure I want to know,” she joked.

Slade originally spent time as a graphic designer for around 30 years and always was involved in art. Originally composing pieces with pen and ink, Slade turned to colored pencil for more detail. Slade says she has been creating with colored pencils for about 25 to 30 years.

Opet highlighted that anyone could come to enjoy the art featured in the studio, saying the studio seeks to expose those in Fayetteville and the surrounding areas to various forms of art and expression.

The Color of Ordinary is not Slade's only active exhibit. Her collection of works entitled Faces of Colombia: The Invisible Communities will be displayed at the Cumberland County Arts Council until Oct. 29.

Slade said she hopes the significance of physical art is not lost due to technology, and she emphasized the importance of continuing to appreciate it.

“The world needs art,” Slade said. “And I have a feeling that the technologies are taking that part away from everybody and I hope that the computers and the computer programs and the drawing programs never take away original art. And I think it's something that everybody needs to appreciate and hopefully that continues.”

Cape Fear Studios is located at 148 Maxwell Street in downtown Fayetteville. For more information call 910-433-2986.

Gallery 208 presents The Alex Munroe Collection: Artwork by Celebrities

36Like moths to a flame, most of us are interested in seeing original works of art by our favorite celebrities. What would be the subject of a painting or drawing by Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash or Mohammed Ali?

What art style would Jimi Hendrix prefer that reflects his musical genius or Richard Petty when he was not racing cars?

From sophisticated paintings to whimsical watercolors, the newest exhibit at Gallery 208, The Alex Munroe Collection: Artwork by Celebrities, which opens Oct. 11, reveals what multitalented superstars have chosen to create in paint, colored pencils or watercolors during their private life.

The exhibit is also as much about the collector as it is about the exhibition. The Alex Munroe Collection: Artwork by Celebrities reveals much about the collector's personality, his personal life choices, and why he has chosen to collect over 200 works by celebrities.

Curiosity will bring you to the gallery to see the original works by the following celebrities: Janice Joplin, John Lennon, Grace Slick, Mohammed Ali, Jacques Cousteau, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Sid Cesear, Nancy Wilson, Red Foxx, Jimi Hendrix, Tony Curtis, Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Charleston Heston, Phyllis Diller and Richard Petty.

You will leave the exhibit with an unexpected and surprisingly pleasant experience. We can compare what we have already experienced, the mass media way of knowing a celebrity, juxtaposed with something that feels personal and private. The more you know about each star, the more you will appreciate the experience of seeing the exhibit.

For example, Jimi Hendrix's career gained popularity with his first single, “Hey Joe,” and his follow-up, “Purple Haze.” A pioneer as one of the most outstanding instrumentalists in rock music history, Hendrix manipulated the distortion and feedback from an electric guitar into a type of fluid language.

While superstar Hendrix is on the road traveling, in a motel room waiting for a concert, or home — what and why did he choose to paint, and what style best suits the fluid language of his music? Would it be a narrative story and have a figure in the painting? What would the figure be doing?

Hendrix was likely sensitive to seeing color as sound. Instead of a narrative style, Hendrix selected patterns and abstract-colored shapes to create movement across the surface of the page. Each color chosen creates a rhythm: the color yellow pops forward, sky blue slows down the repetitive beat and holds us in a musical pause, while the color deep red, like a symphony slowly increasing in volume, gains momentum in the overall composition.

Hendrix didn't need to know Chromesthesia is the name of a neurological phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to an involuntary experience of another sensory way. If we are familiar with Hendrix, all we need to know to enjoy his work is that a musical genius chooses only colors to create mood and rhythm in his design.

It's noteworthy that country singer Johnny Cash, like Jimi Hendrix, also abstractly uses patterns of color. Unlike Hendrix, whose design does not reference an object or person, the color mosaic patterns of Cash result in the image of a bird in movement. Centered on the page, Cash's bird seems to be ascending upward.

The imaginative, whimsical and minimal watercolor by John Lennon hangs on the gallery wall in contrast to a large painting by a cultural icon, the actor Tony Curtis. An American film actor, well known for six decades, he was the most popular in the 1950s and 60s. Of the 100 movies Curtis made and always performed with award-winning academy actors, the pop culture generation may know him for his role as a supporting actor in “Spartacus” or by his daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis.

Curtis had a passion and talent for painting in the post-impressionist style. His choice of subjects were colorful still lifes, landscapes and portraits. His painting titled “Red Table” is in the collection of the media wing in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Seeing another of his works, the sizeable figurative painting at Gallery 208, visitors will easily recognize the influences of Van Gogh and Henri Matisse. Whereas some of the works in the exhibit reflect a relaxing hobby, Curtis created a large body of work during his lifetime and was very clear on his intent. Artnet quoted Curtis saying, “When I paint, I don't paint shapes; I paint colors.”

If you attend the Oct. 11 opening, you will not only be fascinated by the exhibit but also by the collector. Alex Munroe will briefly discuss the art of collecting at the opening reception. Gallery 208 only exhibits 18 of an extensive body of work — over 200 pieces in his collection.

What someone chooses to collect tells us a lot about the individual. All collectors like the works by the artist(s), but they also assume the work could appreciate. For many investors, their collection symbolizes success within social circles.

Attending the exhibit, you will not assume Munroe's eclectic collection is a way to affirm himself as a social success. Instead, it is easy to sense the collection represents the collector as having an entrepreneurial passion for the unexpected and a highly creative way of seeing the world and culture around him. Upon meeting Munroe, you will readily see the collection as a self-expression of a fun-loving personality with various interests and a positive outlook.

Munroe stated, “I buy art for the sheer enjoyment of sharing it with people. Research has shown that when people view art, the brain releases chemicals that make them feel secure and happy. My art takes this concept to an even higher level as a celebrity has the added benefit. To see a piece by Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney or Richard Petty adds an element of awe.”

So, how do you share over 200 works by celebrities with the public? Create the ambiance for a restaurant by hanging your framed original art collection stacked up on the walls and even hanging the work in the bathroom and bathroom stalls. That's easy to build and own a restaurant with good food but also has the restaurant's décor that exudes your outgoing and engaging personality.

This gallery and eatery exists in Elizabethtown, off Interstate 87, and is a combination restaurant, bar and ballroom. The stacked artworks filling the walls are in an 1850 Salon exposition style. The list is unexpectedly endless, while dining at the Cape Fear Winery, and includes works by Picasso, Salvador Dali, Matisse, Ron Wood, Ringo Starr, Dr. Suess, Jonathan Winters, Eric Clapton and more.

As noted earlier, the collector is just as curious as the collection is. Graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Advertising, Munroe started his first company in Wilmington, in 2000, producing and selling detectable warning systems. Munroe then returned home to expand his company at the Elizabethtown Industrial Park.

Munroe states it best: “The abandoned winery was across the street from my office. It was a beautiful property, so that I would walk my dog there every day. I discovered it was in foreclosure, so I leased it the day I found out. Worst case, it was a beautiful property, so it was a valuable real estate to me. I asked around and decided the area needed an event venue, restaurant and lodging.”

The Cape Fear Winery expanded to include a restaurant, a distillery, a venue for weddings or special occasions, and a new gift shop and spa. With the collection always hanging, the restaurant is always the place to venture to when you are ready for good food and an eclectic dining experience!

Eventually, visitors to the restaurant will be able to see his most recent works, six more "Peanuts" pieces by Tom Everhart and an original by famous guitarist, Slash.
One would assume Munroe had lived in Los Angeles for many years and was directly influenced by celebrities to collect celebrity art. To my surprise, Munroe's brothers unknowingly influenced him to become a collector.

Munroe tells his story about going to New York City with his family as a young boy. He stated, “Coach Dean Smith was on the plane, and my brothers dared me to go get his autograph. I did, and my brothers thought I was so cool. So, to keep impressing them, I bought more stuff and suddenly had a nice collection. I have a broker in San Francisco who helps me acquire rare pieces when they come available, usually about a year after the celebrity passes away.”

What began as a “way to impress his brothers” became a sincere passion, enriching the area where he was raised as a child. Munroe believes “great art will be around forever, and long after I'm gone. I think of myself more as the current proprietor of the art instead of the owner. You usually have to go to a big city to see the caliber of some of the art I have, so I'm happy to be able to share it locally. Before I opened the winery, most of my art was in cylinders in my attic. I originally thought I'd display select pieces, but as people started coming and asking if I had more, I happily hung more pieces on the walls.”

The public is invited to attend the opening reception of The Alex Munroe Collection: Artwork by Celebrities on Oct. 11 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Gallery 208 on Rowan Street in Fayetteville.

Gallery hours are Monday thru Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For anyone who cannot attend the opening, the exhibit will remain at Gallery 208 until Dec. 15. For information, call Up & Coming Weekly at 910-484-6200.

Methodist University plans recitals, workshops in visiting artist series

15b A trombonist, a violinist, a vocalist and a drummer will perform as part of Methodist University’s Friends of Music Guest Artist Series, according to a news release.

Each year, the series sponsors live classical and contemporary music demonstrations and recitals for as many as 500 youths and adults.

“These amazing musical enrichment opportunities are open to everyone in the Cumberland County area free of charge,” said Susan Durham-Lozaw, chairwoman of the university’s performing arts department.

Each visit will include an 11 a.m. master class in Hensdale Chapel on the Methodist campus; a private workshop at Capital Encore Academy; and a 7:30 p.m. recital in Matthews Chapel on campus.

For the first time in the series, one artist also will lead a drum workshop at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, the release said.

15c Thomas Burge, a trombonist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra kicked off the series on Sept. 16. Originally from Australia, Burge earned his master’s degree at Julliard School and now lives in North Carolina. He has taught brass instruments at the college level and performed with orchestras internationally. He also has been a guest clinician and soloist across the country. Burge hosts a radio show and conducts brass ensembles, the release said.

The schedule for the rest of the series includes a violinist, a vocalist and a drummer.

Oct. 14: Violinist Megan Kenny is a member of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. A military spouse, she is originally from Montana. Kenny has a master of music degree in violin performance from Yale School of Music. She currently teaches at UNC-Pembroke, Campbell University and Red Lodge Music Festival.

15d Feb. 10: Yolanda Rabun is a North Carolina-based singer who performs and records across genres, including jazz, soul, R&B, gospel, folk, and contemporary music. Rabun also performs throughout the region in musical theater, opera and radio programs, the release said.

March 24: Liz Broscoe is a drummer and a facilitator who specializes in West African djembe and dunun drums. A resident of Lake Tahoe, California, she performs a theatrical solo drumming show, with her drum group, and as a member of a funk, jazz and blues band. With the support of local and national grants, she is currently a teaching artist in several schools and facilitator of social development drumming in juvenile treatment centers.

For more information about the guest artists, visit

Methodist University received a grant of $3,000 from the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County to support the artists series, the release said.

North Carolina’s Queen Elizabeth and King Charles

19 We watched the great and solemn events in Britain last week. But we heard not a mention of North Carolina’s important connections to the royal family, to Elizabeth and Charles.

Understandably perhaps, because our connections are not so much with the late Queen Elizabeth II or her son King Charles III. Our connections run to earlier British royals, to another Queen Elizabeth and another King Charles, whose names ring many bells for North Carolinians interested in

Some, perhaps many of us remember from our school history lessons that the first Queen Elizabeth was a friend and patron of Sir Walter Raleigh, who sponsored the first attempted British colonization in North America at the settlement we know as the Lost Colony.

We learned that the settlers of the Lost Colony recognized Elizabeth I as their queen by naming the first child born in the colony, Virginia Dare, in honor of their unmarried and virgin queen.

Manteo and the Lost Colony site are in Dare County, which is named for Virginia Dare, thus indirectly honoring the first Queen Elizabeth I.

Hundreds of years after her death or disappearance, the memories of Virginia Dare and that of her queen are kept alive each summer in Manteo when the symphonic drama by Paul Green, “The Lost Colony,” features Elizabeth as an important character.

Year-round at the Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, visitors can encounter life as the English settlers experienced it. Included is a ship, named Elizabeth II, newly constructed but made to demonstrate how the first settlers crossed the ocean on a ship named for their queen.

So, North Carolina, especially in Manteo and Dare County, holds fast to its connection to the first Queen Elizabeth.

Our state has even closer connections to British kings named Charles. It got its name from them.

North Carolina, and South Carolina too, got named for King Charles. But it’s not clear which one.

Do we owe our state’s name to King Charles I, who reigned from 1603 to 1649 when he was beheaded, or his son King Charles II, who reigned from 1660 until his death in 1685?

Here is the case for Charles I as explained by the late H.G. Jones in his classic book, “North Carolina Illustrated, 1524-1984.”

“In 1629, King Charles I granted to his attorney general, Sir Robert Heath, a vast tract extending from near the present northern boundary of Florida to the southern shore of Albemarle Sound, an area named “Carolana” in the King's honor.”

Carolus is Latin for Charles. Efforts to establish active Carolana colonies did not work out. Meanwhile, in 1649, Charles I was deposed and executed. But the Carolana name stuck and was used to describe the region.

In 1660, the monarchy was restored, and Charles II became king.

H.G. Jones explained what happened then, making the case for the state name’s connection to Charles II: “The restoration of the English monarchy in 1660 left Charles II with heavy debts to those who had engineered his ascension to the throne, and on 24 March 1663 he rewarded eight of his leading supporters with a charter for a vast slice of North America from the 31st to the 36th parallels from the Atlantic to the South Seas (essentially the same lands previously granted to Sir Robert Heath in 1629). Over this province of Carolina, as the name was now confirmed in honor of Charles II, the Lords Proprietors were given broad feudal powers.”

Later the province was divided into North and South Carolina, so both states can claim their names came from King Charles II.

Elizabeth and Charles.

North Carolinians can claim connections to the names of both royals.

Cape Fear Studios presents 6By Visual Exhibit

18 Cape Fear Studios’ latest exhibit displays work from artists across the nation. The 6By Visual Exhibit showcases art that is at least six inches on one side and no more than 18 inches on its largest side. Steve Opet, the board president of Cape Fear Studios, says this is the fourth year this exhibit has appeared in their studios.

“This show features artists in 13 different states. Eighty-two pieces were submitted this year and 40 pieces were accepted,” Opet said.

The art pieces were judged by local artists Greg Hathaway and Dwight Smith, an associate professor of performing and fine arts at Fayetteville State University.


The first-place winner, Stacy-Ann Topjian Searle, is from Carrboro, North Carolina. Her piece, “Groundcover” is a pen and ink drawing. According to her website, Searle works in a realist style, which allows her to capture the subtle details found in nature. She works exclusively in black and white because, for her, color is a distraction.

The second-place winner was a Hope Mills resident, Rose Kennedy. Her piece, “In the Moment,” is an impressionistic oil painting. According to her website, Kennedy enjoys applying paint in a “broken color” fashion, whether using buttery oils or acrylic paints. Creating a visual orchestration that has its own voice and speaks to herself and others is her goal with each painting.

The third-place piece was a spray paint and texture medium by Virginia artist, Silas Baker. His piece “Trichotomy” includes three 6x6-inch canvases which are hand framed.
Cape Fear Studios is a nonprofit arts organization in downtown Fayetteville. Its mission is to involve, educate and enrich Cumberland County and surrounding communities with the opportunity to create and freely view art.

“When you're in downtown, just come in and browse. You don't have to buy anything. You don't have to take a class. Just come in and enjoy the artwork. We're open for the public to bring art to our community regardless of who you are,” Opet said.

Upcoming Workshop

One workshop that is coming up is a colored pencil workshop with Donna Slade. Slade is a Charter and Signature artist of the Colored Pencil Society of America and has earned local, national and international recognition winning fine art awards in solo and group exhibitions.

Slade comes from a background in graphic design, however she works primarily in colored pencils. She creates contemporary realism paintings featuring a straightforward approach to representational art.
The two-day workshop will take place on Sept. 24 and 25. The cost of the workshop is $200, but there are free seats for six college students. While those seats have already been claimed, two more workshops are being planned.

“We're going to have two more workshops that we will offer six free seats with art supplies provided for free to local students,” Opet told Up & Coming Weekly.

Cape Fear Studios is located at 148 Maxwell Street, next to the Fayetteville Transportation Museum. The studios are open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are also open

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