Local storefronts to host Windows on Chapel Hill art exhibitions

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Sarah Wolfe, a resident of Durham, enjoys painting a glass bottle at Lantern Restaurant. She is a curator for Windows in the Chapel Hill area.

Windows on Chapel Hill, a project headed by the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, held a reception Friday to kick off a new run of its art exhibits.

The project recruits local artists to create exhibits that are placed in empty or underused storefronts in downtown Chapel Hill. The Downtown Partnership also works with the town of Chapel Hill Public and Cultural Arts Office and smArts Creative Programs & Events to fund the project.

Executive Director of the Downtown Partnership Meg McGurk said the goal of Windows on Chapel Hill is to partner the town’s artists with local businesses. She said the project aims to help members of the community engage directly with local art.

“We’re getting more and more artists doing interactive exhibits,” she said.

Jeff York, who works as the town of Chapel Hill’s public art administrator, said putting art in storefronts livens up the downtown atmosphere.

“We’re increasing the cool factor of Chapel Hill,” he said.

The reception, which was held at The Lantern, allowed guests to meet and speak with some of the project’s artists.

Curator Sarah Wolfe helps Windows on Chapel Hill find artists to create storefront exhibits. She said the reception was a good opportunity for the public to mingle with some of the project’s new artists.

“Each time we do a run, we do a reception,” she said. “You never know where these connections are going to lead.”

Carter Hubbard was one of the project’s artists attending the event. Her exhibit is located in the space that formerly housed Bruegger’s Bagels, next to Ben and Jerry’s on Franklin Street.

Hubbard’s exhibit takes the form of a scavenger hunt, and she has created about 30 visual clues that lead participants to various locations along Franklin Street between Graham and Columbia Streets.

Hubbard said her exhibit provides people who live in the area and those visiting from out of town with a chance to become more familiar with the places that characterize downtown Chapel Hill. The exhibit went up at the beginning of March and will be displayed until the end of May.

“It invites anyone walking by to have fun,” she said. “It’s a good place-making project.”

Linda Convissor, director of local relations at UNC, attended the reception after hearing about it on Facebook.

Convissor is not affiliated with the project, but she knows some of those involved from her past work as a board member at the Downtown Partnership. She said she has been to similar events before and enjoyed speaking with the artists and the organizers.

“It’s always a really energetic, exciting group of people,” she said.

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