College basketball has found an unlikely home in Raleigh.
Inspired by the energy surrounding the season, the Lee Hansley Gallery in Raleigh is presenting “Art from the Big Four” — an exhibit featuring work from UNC, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest University faculty members. The exhibit, which runs until April 26, displays work from 18 artists, with five from UNC.
Lee Hansley, the owner of the gallery, was inspired to showcase the four universities after the annual buzz around the ACC Tournament, which began shortly after the exhibit opened.
“It came from basketball mania — the fact that everyone is so basketball crazy,” Hansley said.
He described the exhibit as the art version of the Dixie Classic — a popular regional basketball tournament staged by the Big Four in the ’50s and ’60s.
Hansley, who graduated from UNC in 1970 with a journalism degree, began his involvement with the arts working for the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem. During his time with SECCA, he ran their sale and rental gallery.
In 1993 he opened the Lee Hansley Gallery, which features modern and contemporary American art from local and state artists.
For the Big Four exhibit, Hansley said he had no central theme in mind and simply wanted to showcase the four different art departments. He visited each school and selected a total of 56 pieces from various faculty members.
“Each one of these (works) is a reflection of each art department,” he said.
Dennis Zaborowski, a UNC studio art professor, is one of the featured artists. He works primarily as a painter, using a variety of mediums including oils and acrylics. Zaborowski, who started working at UNC in 1968, contributed four pieces to the exhibit.
One of the paintings featured in the exhibit is titled “Dealing with Enchanted Children” — a piece he said is inspired by the chaos that comes with raising kids.
Zaborowksi, who is in phased-retirement, said he is not a fan of painting from photographs — a popular trend among artists today. His biggest piece of advice for his students and other aspiring artists is to avoid this trend and draw from their memory or imagination.
“Your memory about the (subject) or your imagination to me is much more interesting — even the discrepancies are much more interesting,” he said.
Unlike Zaborowksi, Hansley, 66, has no plans for retirement and hopes to continue running the gallery and showcasing quality work for years to come.
“My life and my work are completely integrated because it’s my interest — art and culture,” he said.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.