Art comes alive in downtown Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh's Warehouse District doesn't have new fancy building but there is art on Martin Street.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Downtown Raleigh's Warehouse District doesn’t have new fancy building but there is art on Martin Street.

“I think this is really becoming a central hub in Raleigh for the creative community,” said Sarah Powers, of the Visual Art Exchange, which opened Thursday night in the district.

The business joins several other art galleries on Martin Street, which is quickly becoming an arts corridor in downtown.

“There’s a real sense of community down here that's really grown in a grassroots kind of way,” Powers said.

On the opposite end of Martin Street, Flanders Art Gallery is celebrating a year of showcasing paintings and sculpture.

Marjorie Hodges, of Flanders Art Gallery, said people would be surprised at how quickly art is changing in the southwest side of downtown.

“If they have not been here in the last six months, they have no idea what's happening,” Hodges said.

Next door, at the Contemporary Art Museum, executive director Elysia Borowy-Reeder said it's to have arts businesses close by.

“The more arts galleries you can bring into a focus, the more you'll get traffic, the more people can just park once (and) walk around,” she said.

A vibrant arts community is a boost for the entire city, Hodges said.

“It could be our competitive advantage of all the cities around, that we are attracting that creative class,” she said.

Local artists and gallery owners say this is only the beginning.

“We can sort of come together and make a really special place for downtown Raleigh,” Powers said.

Those galleries and many others will be open late Friday as part of Raleigh's First Friday gallery walk. Some restaurants are running First Friday specials.



Brian Shrader, Reporter
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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