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Rooftop market encourages community diversity of artistic expression

Local 506, a music venue in Chapel Hill, pictured on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.

On Saturday afternoon, the graffiti-covered walls of the rooftop between music venue Local 506 and bar Beer Study hosted tents of art vendors and customers for the Attic 506 Rooftop Market. 

Attic 506 is a second-floor working art studio above Local 506 that fosters a space for resident artists to work. Chris Musina, the market's organizer and an artist-in-residence at the studio, said he wanted to host an event that represents a diverse group of people and was welcoming to marginalized communities.

He said the close, in-person contact of attendees and artists at the market made it feel like a collaborative, community-based experience. 

“I mean, it’s such a part of the human experience,” he said

Musina found vendors through a variety of ways. Whether it be contacting artists he knew personally, reaching out to connections from his T-shirt business, “No Masters" or putting out an open call for vendors on Instagram,  around 15 artists came together to share their work.

Attendee and recent UNC graduate Robin Gao said it was nice to see different modes of creative expression showcased by the vendors. 

Chapel Hill-based artist Katie Ozturk, who set up a booth on Saturday, recontextualizes objects for her business, “Upsnerch.” Her creative process involves disassembling an object if it doesn’t speak to her or she can’t use it as originally intended.

“I want to show people that it’s easy to get materials into a place of reuse with just a little bit of networking and a little bit of creativity,” Ozturk said.

She primarily makes furniture such as lamps and tables from materials she finds in places like estate sales, Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores. She mainly works with wood and other natural materials to avoid plastic and synthetic polymers. 

Ozturk said she is trying to sell her products at markets that center artistic work. She brought various items to sell at Saturday's market, including mirrors and vintage knick-knacks. 

Other artists showcased chainmail jewelry, upcycled clothing, paintings, contemporary art and even comics.

In the six years of making comics, the Rooftop Market was the first show where artist Andrew Neal has sold them in Chapel Hill. Neal, who has been releasing comics in his series "Meeting Comics," also owned Franklin Street’s Chapel Hill Comics until 2014. 

The series started when the Hillsborough-based artist drew doodles in meetings at his job at a public library. It initially featured jokes about work and now explores the lives of around 20 to 30 characters, the most popular being a woman named Val.

For the past few months, he has been working on the comic’s 29th issue, “The Divorce Party,” a series about two long-standing couples who get divorced, and the party that follows. 

“That’s what I’ve found I like to do, is take something that could happen in real life but is extremely unlikely,” Neal said. 

Along with physical art, three bands also performed at the market — Silk Moth, Fate of Saul and Entrez Vous. 

Entrez Vous is a Chapel Hill-based rock ‘n’ roll band inspired by '60s pop music. 

Guitarist and singer Kelly Reidy and drummer and backup singer Clark Blomquist performed live as a duo for the first time on Saturday. They sang songs like “Palm Springs” and “Silky” from their second album, which will be released by the end of the year. The band normally has five members who perform live and two who record and write the songs, which are mostly a minute or two long and heavily influenced by the organ

Reidy said the band loved the market’s combination of art and music. 

“It’s just cool to see all those different types of people together on one actual rooftop,” Reidy said. “It’s pretty amazing that we can do that in this community.”


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