Artists like Sarah Goetz are bringing culture and color to empty store fronts windows in downtown Chapel Hill.
Windows on Chapel Hill, a program funded by a grant from Chapel Hill’s Public and Cultural Arts Office, allows local artists to install art into the windows of downtown businesses.
Three art installations have been on display this fall, and the town is now seeking ideas for installations for the spring.
Goetz, an artist from Durham, has a piece called “apothecary for wonderlust”, on display in the front window of The Franklin Hotel.
The work is a three-dimensional piece of art. Folded bus tickets are formed into beehives, surrounded by clusters of blank price tags.
“It’s about trying to find a balance between claustrophobia and agoraphobia,” Goetz said.
She said after growing up in Oklahoma with a lot of open space, coming to North Carolina was a big change.
“I’d be happy to do this again,” she said.
“Preferably in a space that is open to interact with the public.”
Down on West Franklin Street, the Yates Motor Company Building features the work of Nicole Bauguss, a piece called “something will be missing.”
And “Peace (is) Freedom” by the Street Scene Teen Center and the Sacrificial Poets fills the front window of 422A W. Franklin St.
Jeffrey York, public art administrator for Chapel Hill, said he thinks it’s important for Chapel Hill to have art installations like these outside of museums.
“I think Chapel Hill is noted for its creative and artistic temperament,” he said. “It gives an opportunity for the individuals to be creative.”
He said the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership did a pilot of the window art installation in the spring, and it was such a success that it continued into the fall.
But he said the project is funded only for this fiscal year and doesn’t know if money will be available next year.
“Empty store fronts are unattractive and unappealing,” he said. “Anytime that a storefront can be filled with something of interest, that’s a positive.”
Meg McGurk, executive director of the Downtown Partnership, said she loves all the pieces.
“They are all fantastic, wonderful additions to the visual landscape,” she said.
McGurk said she hopes artistic UNC students will apply to make an installation.
“Every time we’ve done this it’s kind of grown and seen more support from the community,” she said.
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