DADA hosts a free Gallery Hop in downtown Winston-Salem each first Friday of the month. This winter, the dates are December 3, January 7, and February 4.
DADA is a collaboration of artists in downtown. According to the official site, their aim is “to alter conventional perceptions about downtown–just as the post-WWI abstract art movement of the same name set out to emancipate the imagination.”
Those who go downtown on the Gallery Hop nights can roam through the streets to visit exhibits and shops (which have extended hours) on Sixth, Trade, and Liberty Streets. They may encounter live music, dancing, local artist demonstrations, and more.
The Gallery Hops last from 7-10 PM.
Participating galleries include Arkworks Gallery, Piedmont Craftsmen, The Other Half, and more.
The Art behind the Galleries
While reading about the Gallery Hop on the DADA site, I kept coming across the phrase “art district.” This was all new to me. Winston has an area called the art district? I wanted to know why. What was the history of that nickname? When was it first used?
My research started where a lot of good research does (Teachers, try not to cringe.): Wikipedia. According to the Wikipedia entry for Winston-Salem, the city is often referred to as the “City of the Arts.” Who knew? I found the reasoning behind this nickname insightful, informative, and compelling:
Winston-Salem is often referred to as the “City of the Arts,” in part because of its history, in having the first arts council in the United States, founded in 1949, and for the local art schools and attractions. These include the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Twin City Stage, Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance, the Piedmont Opera Theater, the Winston-Salem Symphony, the Stevens Center for the Performing Arts, and the Sawtooth Center for Visual Arts. There are many galleries and workshops in the city’s art district centered at Sixth and Trade streets. The city plays host to the National Black Theatre Festival, the RiverRun International Film Festival, the Revolve Film and Music Festival, and the Reynolda Film Festival. Winston-Salem is also the home of the Art-o-mat and houses nine of them throughout the city. The city is also home to Carolina Music Ways, a grassroots arts organization focussing on the area’s diverse, interconnected music traditions, including bluegrass, blues, jazz, gospel, old-time stringband, and Moravian music. Once a year, the city is also the home of the Heavy Rebel Weekender music festival. Winston-Salem is also home to one of the largest ‘Indie’ music and art scenes in the state. The Werehouse, a local hang-out, artists’ residence, and theatre is the center of this growing lifestyle and artistic genre. (from Wikipedia)
I thought maybe the part about WInston’s having the first arts council in the US might be a little exaggerated. However, my next Google search led me to the website for The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. In fact, the council was the first of its kind, established in 1949.
I never seemed to find the exact origin of Winston’s nickname, or how a section of downtown was dubbed as the art district. So, in search of answers, I’d really only come up with more questions. All of this information was completely new to me, and to think – I went to school in downtown for eleven years.
As a city local, it is often easy to overlook the beauty of my hometown’s history. When I see the same places over and over again, I neglect to ask about the story behind them. I can’t say my research was pointless, because it has driven me to want to know more about this city.
The Gallery Hop just might be the perfect way to renew my love and appreciation for my city and its peculiarities. Care to join?
Arts Council Inc., “Arts Council: Who We Are,” Intothearts.org.
DADA – Winston-Salem Downtown Arts District, “DADA – THe Downtown Arts District Association of Winston-Salem,” Dadaws.org.
“Winston-Salem, North Carolina,” Wikipedia.