The art story that dominated 2016 in the Triad now dominates a section of downtown Greensboro’s skyline: the iridescent netting of sculptor Janet Echelman’s “Where We Met,” hovering over the performance space at LeBauer Park, that city’s newest downtown public space.
Elsewhere in the public sphere is… Elsewhere. In 2016, the living museum finished up a massive infrastructure upgrade that enables it to remain open all year long on Greensboro’s South Elm Street. Later in the year, Elsewhere installed a full-on Ferris wheel in the street out front, granting rides for a dollar to all comers on First Friday.
And a growing collection of murals in our cities gained notorious new real estate. A giant clutch of irises adorns he wall of a building along Holliday Circle in downtown Greensboro, part of the No Blank Walls project that placed five murals in the city beginning in 2015. In downtown Winston-Salem, the mural wall at the art park turned over again, even while the Art for Art’s Sake building rises from the lot next door.
Winston-Salem artist Kendall Doub probably takes the prize in 2016, contributing a piece to the West End Mill Works, a piece in the West Salem Historic District and another near the News & Record in downtown Greensboro.
And Winston Square Park near the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts got a new resident in December: a baby bird constructed from pipes and plastic by artist Aaron Gibbons dubbed “Interactive Bird.”
Deserving of kudos is filmmaker Brendan Malone, who won Greensboro’s 48-Hour Film Fest with his short “Libris Mortis,” and then took another short, “Foodie” to the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner.
In other film news, longtime RiverRun Executive Director Andrew Rodgers stepped down from his post to helm the Denver Film Festival. His replacement, Rob Davis, comes from the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, and is already working on the 2017 slate.
The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art took on a new director as well: Katherine Foster, formerly of the New Winston Museum.
While the theater community mourned the passing of local producer and director Steven Gee, the Community Theatre of Greensboro, which now takes up residence in the old Broach Theatre space on South Elm Street, ran a revival of his play A Tuna Christmas, his first success in that intimate space.
On the comedy scene, the Idiot Box comedy & improv club moved from its space in downtown Greensboro to the lower decks of Geeksboro, a few miles to the north on Lawndale Avenue.
And in literature, Greensboro author Quinn Dalton released Midnight Bowling, her fourth book, and celebrated its release with an event at Scuppernong in March.
The Weatherspoon Art Museum stayed current this year with Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015, a study of commercial imagery with the brand names and logos omitted, showing starkly the expected roles of women through the 20th Century.
Among the most popular art stories this year at triad-city-beat.com, top honors went to a profile of Winston-Salem illustrator Kyle Webster who, among other pursuits, designs all the labels for Foothills’ beers. The model for the People’s Porter label, he told TCB in October, was original brewer and current CEO Jamie Bartholomaus.