Gallery C founder Charlene Newsom never gets tired of searching out work by artists both well known and obscure to fill the gallery’s annual “The Best of North Carolina” show.
Every year, there’s a new name to introduce or previously unseen work to unveil to art lovers and buyers.
“It’s fabulous because we’re going to educate people and show them something they haven’t seen,” Newsom said.
Newsom began the show in 2001 to showcase the state’s rich visual art history. As a new century rolled in, she didn’t want to risk that the previous centuries’ artistic heritage would slip away.
“We tend to forget the past – the 19th and 20th centuries,” she said.
The show seeks to honor artists with a North Carolina connection from those time periods, bringing dozens of works of historic fine art to the walls of the gallery.
The collection is different every year and features pieces from estates, private collections and the gallery’s own holdings. All of the work is for sale.
There are mainstays in the show – work by painters such as Francis Speight or Claude Howell – but each year also brings new names.
This year, the show includes for the first time three paintings by Elsie Dinsmore Popkin, an artist from Winston-Salem known for her vivid pastel landscapes. Another new addition is Frank Stick, known for his paintings of outdoorsmen fishing and hunting.
The show also features three paintings by 19th-century artists, a coup for the gallery because it’s not always easy to track down work from that period, Newsom said.
Each work also brings its own story.
A self-portrait by James Augustus McLean reveals a glimpse of a man who opened the Southern School of the Creative Arts in Raleigh in 1929. The school dissolved during the depression, but McLean went on to work on Works Progress Administration projects and remained a champion of N.C. art.
Another painting in the show, “Three Tables” by George Bireline, who taught at the School of Design at N.C. State University, has been around the world. In 2006, it was in an exhibition in Copenhagen, as part of the “Art in Embassies” program run by the U.S. State Department.
By the time the show closes, Newsom said she’ll already be anticipating the next with plans, acquisitions and preservation work.
“I’m still finding artists who I’ve never found before,” she said. “It’s never going to get old or boring.”
The gallery, at 540 N. Blount St., will host a reception for “The Best of North Carolina” on First Friday, April 3.
Want to go?
First Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m., is a monthly art event in downtown Raleigh. Galleries stay open late, and many restaurants offer special deals. To learn more, go online to FirstFridayRaleigh.com.
More First Friday
▪ 311 West Martin Street Galleries and Studios, 311 W. Martin St.: “A Father-Daughter Show,” work by Simon Griffiths and Gillian Griffiths
▪ Adam Cave Fine Art, 115 1/2 E. Hargett St.: oils on aluminum by David Dunlop
▪ Artspace, 201 E. Davie St.: “Wild at Heart: Our Affair with Nature,” work by Derek Cote, Jackson Martin, Elisabeth Applbaum, Gayle Stott Lowry and “Ellipse/Eclipse,” work by Mary Kircher and Ann Roth
▪ Brushstroke Studio & Gallery, 520 N. West St.: oils and mosaics by Saramanda Zurbuch
▪ CAM Raleigh, 409 W. Martin St.: “Wonderland” by Sarah Anne Johnson
▪ Designbox, 307 W. Martin St.: “Point,” installation and sculpture by Andi Steele
▪ Flanders Art Gallery, 505 S. Blount St.: “Verb,” work by Kenn Kotara
▪ Gallery C, 540 N. Blount St.: “The Best of North Carolina,” 19th- and 20th-century artists
▪ Lee Hansley Gallery, 225 Glenwood Drive: paintings by Herb Jackson
▪ Litmus Gallery, 312 W. Cabarrus St.: “New Pulp City,” work by Hoop & Stick and Marwen El Hicheri
▪ Local Color Gallery, 311 W. Martin St.: “Coalescene,” work by Keanna Artis and Rebecca Toy
▪ Lump, 505 S. Blount St.: “Pockets,” new work by Joy Drury Cox.
▪ The Mahler, 228 Fayetteville St.: new work by gallery artists
▪ Nature Art Gallery of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St.: “On Point Wild,” ball point pen nature drawings by Brian Carney
▪ Nicole’s Studio and Art Gallery, 719 N. Person St.: “Travels with Judy Crane & Nicole Kennedy”
▪ Roundabout Art Collective, 305 Oberlin Road: various artists
▪ Trinity Gallery, 549 N. Blount St.: “Transforming Places,” work by Jennifer Simonton
▪ Visual Art Exchange, 309 W. Martin St.: “Common Goods,” various artists; “Stasis,” work by Erin Davis