Downtown Winston-Salem has been happening for a while, but the City of Arts and Innovation still has the ability to transform. One example of the ever-evolving landscape is the Benton Convention Center, recently renovated and now a downtown venue that reflects signature Winston-Salem characteristics, including the distinctive works of local talent in exhibitions like the current Public Art Project.
A curated collection of work from the Associated Artists of Winston-Salem, the Public Art Project exhibitions include creations from AAWS members interspersed among permanent installations. Ranging from large-scale paintings to photography and even an Art-o-mat, the art on display features many local icons, both human and other.
“This is part of a series of portraits titled ‘In Their Own Words,’” said Dennis Wells, referencing his representation of Maya Angelou. “I create the portraits using quotes from the person’s life. Maya is such a large figure here that it seems perfect for her to be part of the permanent installation.”
A key community figure in his own right, Tommy Priest and his wife, Kendall, brought family and friends to the Friday night Gallery Hop reception at the Benton Convention Center. Priest stopped in front of a work by Owens Daniels.
“I hadn’t seen this piece except online,” he said. “To see it in person brings it to life. It tells Owens’ story and how his trip to New York was transformative.”
Susan Foushee and Shirley Fly attended, pausing in front of a piece by Barbara Eure.
“We came to see the Associated Artists exhibit and the new Benton Convention Center,” Fly said. “I think people will be surprised when they see the talents of local artists.”
Bill Scherbak’s “Epiphany” captured the attention of many who attended. A member of AAWS for more than seven years, Scherbak said that he was inspired by another form of art.
“We live in a marvelous universe,” he said. “This painting was inspired by images that came from the Hubble.”
Steve Mizel’s painting “Bodega Bay” is part of the show.
“My wife and I went to Bodega Bay and stayed in one of three small cottages,” Mizel said. “This painting represents the scenery there — the water, the sunset.”
Artist Karl Bostwick spoke with Gregory Silva about his abstract and noted that the painting represented a new focus.
“I have always painted traditional landscapes, but about a year ago, I tried to loosen up and use the same techniques in a different way,” Bostwick said. “This led me into abstracts and exploring color relationships.”
Susan Martin and Myra Grozinger talked with Daniels in front of his series of photographs featuring well-known Winston-Salem residents.
“I love his work, and also the trees by Lea Lackey-Zachmann that are upstairs,” Martin said.
Jonathan Oldham and his father, Michael Oldham, came out for the show as well.
“My mom is a teacher and every year, she tells her kids to come to Gallery Hop,” Jonathan said. “So we decided to finally come down and do it ourselves.”
Furr Ball 2017
Gowns and tuxedos were accompanied by a few well-groomed canines for the 2017 Furr Ball held at the Millennium Center. Against the backdrop of a Winston-Salem architectural icon, guests gathered in their finest evening attire to raise money for the Forsyth Humane Society.
Co-chairmen John Hoemann and Howard Upchurch brought Molly along to welcome arrivals at the end of the red carpet entrance, along with co-chairwoman Ann Rainey Rokahr, accompanied by her beloved Henry.
“Our hard work and fabulous crowd raised a record-breaking amount in 2016, and we fully plan to top that this year,” Rokahr said. “It is such a pleasure to honor our dedicated and passionate FHS supporters with an elegant and entertaining evening. Our fundraising has put us one step closer to our goal of No-Kill Forsyth 2023.”
Rob King, accompanied by Lu Wall, represented Furr Ball’s presenting sponsor, Bob King Automotive Group, and said the company was pleased to support the Humane Society.
“This is a cause that is near to our hearts,” King said. “We are delighted to contribute to promoting the welfare and safety of animals and to strengthening the bond between animals and people.”
Christine and Michael Morykwas joined Sarah Williamson, the executive director of the Humane Society, for a photo before dinner. Williamson expressed gratitude for the individuals and organizations that support Furr Ball and the Forsyth Humane Society.
“Furr Ball raises funds to support Forsyth Humane Society’s adoption, educational and outreach programs, including low-cost spay-neuter assistance and our pet food pantry,” Williamson said. “We so appreciate the generosity and support of our amazing co-chairs — Anne, Howard and John — as well as our honorary chairs, Beth Parker and David Janeway. And what would Furr Ball be without the generosity of Christine and Michael Morykwas who underwrite the gala? This year, we are also proud and grateful to welcome Bob King Automotive Group as presenting sponsor.”
“For years, David and I have shared a passion for animals,” Parker said. “Our involvement with FHS and Furr Ball came after a lovely friendship was formed between myself and Darla Kirkeeng that helped us have a deeper understanding of the hard work, dedication, love and magic that happened every single day at the Humane Society. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?”