Green Book traveling exhibit showing at Museum of the Cape Fear

17 Green Book Web Inside 1140x450 2The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, has created a new traveling exhibit about sites important to, and personal memories about, American travel during the “Jim Crow” era of legal segregation. The Navigating Jim Crow: The Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina traveling exhibit will be at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex though July 9.

“The Negro Motorist Green Book,” published between 1936 and 1966, was both a guide and a tool of resistance designed to confront the realities of racial discrimination in the United States and beyond. The book listed over 300 North Carolina businesses — from restaurants and hotels, to tourist homes, nightclubs and beauty salons — in the three decades that is was published.

The exhibit highlights a complex statewide network of business owners and Green Book sites that allowed African American communities to thrive, and that created “oasis spaces” for a variety of African American travelers.

Eight vibrant panels form the traveling exhibit, showcasing images of business owners, travelers and historic and present-day images of North Carolina Green Book sites.

The words of African American travelers and descendants of Green Book site owners are featured prominently in the exhibit. Each of these stories are from oral histories collected by the AAHC in 2018 and 2019.

This exhibit was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and there is no fee to see this exhibit. Two versions will tour the state’s African American cultural centers, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, history museums, historic sites and libraries. For more tour dates and locations, visit For additional information about the exhibit, call 919-814-6516.

The Museum of the Cape Fear is located on the corner of Bradford and Arsenal avenues in Fayetteville, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The museum operates under the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, within the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

New exhibit open at Cape Fear Studios, reception set for Fourth Friday

19 Picture1Cape Fear Studios is hosting Evoke, an exhibit featuring member artist Angela Stout. The exhibit features her striking art creations in oil and will be shown June 23 through July 25. Stout is a contemporary painter, printmaker, photographer and sculptor.

Also a veteran, Stout teaches art classes to the public. She is a graduate of Fayetteville State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Arts. Stout exhibits frequently in group exhibitions and competitions locally, nationally and internationally. Her artwork deals with evoking a feeling and the social condition.

Cape Fear Studios is also excited about having its first open reception in a year on Fourth Friday, June 25 from 5–7 p.m. The event if free.

Cape Fear Studios is a non-profit artist co -op, offering original pottery, woodwork, glass, jewelry, metalwork, paintings and photography. The Studio’s workshops and retail section will also be open to visitors.

Cape Fear Studios is located at 148 Maxwell St. The Studio will be open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Questions can be directed to:, or 910-433-2986.

Gilbert Theater brings Broadway hit 'Urinetown' to local audiences

Urinetown 4 03Gilbert Theater’s newest musical “Urinetown” is set to open June 4 and run through June 13, bringing some clean toilet humor to the public. Written by Greg Kotis, the musical originally premiered on Broadway in 2001, and it satirizes various social constructs.

“One big-wig has taken over everything in the story and is monitoring the water use and making huge amounts of money doing so,” said director Robyne Parrish. “People literally have to pay to pee under the threat that they will be sent away to this place called Urinetown, if they disobey.”

The storyline is set in a dystopia where a water shortage leads to governmental ban of private toilets and how one man, Bobby Strong, stands up against the unjust system.

“The question is, ‘what is Urinetown?’ Is it a jail, is it an island somewhere, is it a work camp, what is it and you find that out as the story progresses,” Parrish said.

The lead of the story rallies the town people to speak up and make change in the town, actor Quentin King said.

“The main character meets and falls in love with the villain’s daughter, Hope, so there is a little bit of the star-crossed lover’s element,” actor Jacquelyn Kessler said.

The musical puts a satirical spin on the legal system, and questions capitalism, corporations, corporate mismanagement and bureaucracy.

“It has all the things you want to see in the musical, it’s got love, heartbreak, death and fantastic characters, so any big Broadway musical lover is going to love this show,” Parrish said. “Huge built-in numbers and great dance numbers, sweet ballads, it just has a little bit of everything for everyone.”

Urinetown also mocks Broadway musical shows like “The Threepenny Opera” and “Les Misérables.”

“It’s going to talk about social constructs so it will be a lot of poor versus rich for a lot of the scenes so hopefully the clothes will reflect that. One group will be dressed posh and the other very raggedy Ann,” Kessler said.

Artistic Director of the Gilbert Lawrence Carlisle encourages potential audiences to not shy away from the production because of the title.

“People should not be turned down by it being called “Urinetown,’ it’s good family fun and there’s something for everyone,” Carlisle said. “The opening night is sold out already.”

For more information about the show and to purchase tickets, visit

Weekly market held at Festival Park

05 11 The District Summer Market Logo light in dark out 1The Cool Spring Downtown District has launched the District Summer Market at Festival Park. This combined farmers and makers market is scheduled to operate from 4-8 p.m. every Thursday through Aug. 26 (except July1). Market wares, food, beverages, free entertainment and other activities will be available. Vendors are selling a variety of wares and products at the market each week including locally grown produce, meat and seafood as well as locally made artwork and artisan goods. Food and beverage trucks are selling meals and drinks. Canned beer from Bright Light Brewing Company and Lake Gaston Brewing Company will be available at the Cool Spring Downtown District tent.

Ellington-White art exhibition highlights fight for social justice

05 Circus Noir by Robert ArbogastIn an effort to continue the discussion on social justice, Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery is exhibiting Art & Social Justice, a national juried exhibition until June 26. For gallery owners Dwight Smith and Calvin Mims, like many of the exhibits, it is a way “for people to see the world from a different perspective.”

Over 155 works of art were sent to be juried into the gallery or the online exhibit based on the prospectus: “We are living in a tumultuous time; the pandemic has illuminated many of the inequities in our country. How do we move towards equity? Why do we seem to be moving away from fairness? Make an impact with your visually representation of feelings and thoughts on social injustice today … we hope the exhibition will continue the discussion of our path to social justice.”

Although the dominant theme in the exhibition is Black Lives Matter, artists have submitted an unexpected range of themes, styles and mediums based on the principle of social justice: every individual in a society has the same rights and opportunities to be treated fairly and equitably by the society they live in.

An unexpected subject by Korean artist, Sueim Koo, from Ridgefield, New Jersey, is a good example of why visitors should come to the gallery or visit the exhibit online and take the time to read the artists’ statement. In her work titled “Marriage Life (I was Covering my Eyes, Ears and Mouth),” Koo mixes abstraction and realism, predominantly green and pastel colors, abstracted faces are covered by realistic hands and arms on a background of patterns.

Without knowing what the artist intended, “Marriage Life” immediately leads us to understand there is a hidden social justice theme taking place. Koo’s artist’s statement is specific: “I am covering my eyes, ears and mouth with my hands in reference to the principle ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.’” It is also in direct reference to a Korean proverb about marriage. According to this proverb, a new bride should be blind for three years so she will not criticize anything she sees, dumb for three years so she won’t speak out and say something she may regret later, and deaf for three years so she won’t be upset by being scolded.”

Koo’s work is built on a basic social justice premise: the value of oneself in a culture (and to herself) is not greater or lesser than others. The artist speaks to this by stating, “the proverb of the bride can also be used to describe my life as an immigrant … I would sometimes avoid situations in which I would be seen as a foreigner … there were many times I had to pretend not to see or not to hear in order to overcome feelings of humiliation. We must avoid these hurts caused by unfair beliefs about people with different skin colors, different language, different cultures and different gender.”

In sharp contrast to “Marriage Life,” the digitally enhanced gouache titled “Circus Noir” by Robert Arbogast, from St. Augustine, Florida, stands out in the exhibit. Smaller than many of the works surrounding the print, the artist has said much with a minimal graphic design. Shapes and text in black, red, white and minimal green will speak to viewers from across the gallery to look closer — the artist mixes signals to create intent. Arbogast’s statement clears up the confusion: “’Circus Noir’ was inspired by circus posters. In that context, the image could be interpreted as a ‘trick shot,’ shooting a lit cigarette from a man’s mouth. The image can also be viewed as execution, the black man smoking a last cigarette before being shot. The ambiguity is intentional. But the hand holding the gun is white, an intentional reference to the epidemic of Black men being murdered by policemen.”

The above are only two of the thirty-six works hanging in the gallery. The styles range from realism to abstraction, textiles, mixed media to paintings. Just as diverse are the social justice themes artists addressed in their work. Black Live Matter is a prevalent theme, but other themes include, but are not limited to, #MeToo, sexual orientation and gender identity, immigration and poverty.

Curator- juror, Rose-Ann San Martino, must have had a difficult time selecting the award winners from such a varied range of work; but her experience as a professional artist, art advocate and being involved with Ellington-White Corporation since 2008 is a strong background of experience. San Martino studied drawing and painting at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally in group and solo exhibitions and can be found in private collections throughout the United States.

San Martino worked from a valid system of assessment: “The work had to be well crafted, adhere to the theme of the exhibit, and the intent of the work needed to be immediately recognizable. Many excellent works were submitted, but the subject did not follow the theme of social justice.”

She continued, “How does one select between a textile wall hanging, a print, photograph or a painting for an award? It’s never a hierarchical decision based on a medium, the image needed to be instantly recognizable and reflect what the artists included in the artists’ statement. Being recognizable can fall into the cerebral or sublime. For example, the first-place winning entry, a black and white photograph by Richard Perry, from Chapel Hill is an example of the cerebral — a hand pressing against a chain link fence is an image which immediately symbolizes not just one theme, but many themes of social justice.”

As the curator and juror of Art & Social Justice, “I was not surprised but pleased that artists addressed so many different themes, and their approaches to the themes ranged from extremely serious to humorous and even quirky. For visitors to the gallery, or the online exhibit, should take the time to read the artist’s statement. We all bring our own meaning to a work but reading the artist’s statement may give someone a new way to look at a theme or an artist’s approach to a theme.”

Other awards by San Martino include Jeremy Wangler, “7,” photography (2nd), and Sueim Koo, “Marriage Life (I was Covering my Eyes, Ears and Mouth),” mixed media (3rd). Honorable Mentions were given to a textile wall hanging titled “Gaslighter” by Mel Dugosh and “Circus Noir” by Robert Arbogast.

You will have to visit the gallery (or go online) and see firsthand how artists have created works which intersect with political activism and social justice causes. The only artist from Fayetteville in the exhibit is Andrew Johnson.

The exhibit is a means for raising awareness about social issues and affecting positive change. For information and to view the online exhibit, visit The gallery is located at113 Gillespie St. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday. For more information email or call 910-483-1388.

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