The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday June 1st

UNC professors to host art exhibit

Display will be in former museum

With the loss of the Chapel Hill Museum went exhibits that illustrate the history of the area. But a different kind of display will soon fill the space.

In hopes to revitalize the museum’s previous building at 523 E. Franklin Street, the UNC Department of Art is planning an exhibit to feature artists, half of whom are from North Carolina.

The town will lease the building to the department at no cost.

UNC art professor Elin Slavick, the exhibit’s curator, said she hopes to keep history alive despite the museum’s closing.

“It makes it very powerful and poetic to have an art show to respond to the building it is in,” she said. “It makes sense conceptually.”

“Local Histories: The Ground We Walk On” will feature art ranging from paintings to visual and audio performances.

UNC students will work with Slavick to curate the exhibit and sit in while she and her co-organizer, UNC assistant art professor Carol Magee, review the work of potential artists for the exhibit.

Artists should submit their work to Slavick by Dec.1 and have what they want displayed ready for the show’s premier in late January.

The show will end in April, but the art department is guaranteed the space until July. Slavick said she hopes to use the space as much as possible during the gap through means like a panel discussion on art or a local music celebration.

“I really want to organize events to bring people in, not just the opening event,” Slavick said.

Chapel Hill spokeswoman Catherine Lazorko said though the art department will have the space for now, the building’s future is still being determined.

“We continue to get a lot of exciting proposals,” she said. “We’re open to the public getting involved and providing some stimulating suggestions.”

And though town leaders are optimistic about the transition, some are sad to see the building’s original purpose — history — go.

Stephen Rich, the museum’s former treasurer, became involved with the Chapel Hill Museum several years ago when he attended one of its “friend-raisers.”

“I know there are a lot of people in town that feel the same way as the volunteers at the museum did,”?Rich said.

“We feel like the history is a form of art as well. More visual art is fine, but we filled a niche that is now gone.”

Slavick hopes a contemporary twist on the intention of the Chapel Hill’s museum will make the hesitant come around.

“We are inspired by the local history all over the world and how people engage and explore the idea from art,” she said. “We have a great opportunity here.”

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