If you haven’t been to the NC Arts Incubator in Siler City lately, then you’re missing out. This week, we talk about the NCAI with its Virginia-born artist-turned-arts-administrator, April …
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If you haven’t been to the NC Arts Incubator in Siler City lately, then you’re missing out. This week, we talk about the NCAI with its Virginia-born artist-turned-arts-administrator, April Weaver. Weaver arrived in North Carolina about 10 years ago and has served as incubator’s director for the past year and a half. In addition to her executive duties in Siler City, Weaver has raised two children. Before her Incubator job, she was the general manager of an art store in Sanford and served in management at Galloway Ridge in Pittsboro, positions which successfully tested her administrative skills. The NCAI is located in downtown Siler City.
Talk about what’s new at NC Arts Incubator and your role as its director…
The NC Arts Incubator in Siler City is entering its 17th year with the opening of a new retail shop, NC Artshop, a brand new coffee shop, The Chatham Rabbit, and exciting plans for the new year. We’ve experienced higher foot traffic and increased interest in the Incubator over the past year and we want to ride that momentum by opening the new shop and beginning an Artist in Residence program. We’re excited to be collecting work from some amazing artists throughout the state for the retail shop, our selection is interesting and diverse.
With growth and changes taking place in downtown Siler City, what role will the NCAI play, and how does it benefit the town?
We’ve seen an upturn in activity downtown over the last year with new shops opening up and more visitors. I would like to think that NCAI’s new direction has helped to contribute to the new feel. I would like to see us seize this growth and energy and grow this organization and cultural tourism along with it. The arts are changing the face of the town. The tradition of arts here is a boon to this community and I’m excited by what the future holds for NCAI.
For those who haven’t been to the Incubator, either through a visit and tour or to attend one of the events you hold, what’s the experience like? What can visitors expect?
NC Arts Incubator is home to over a dozen studio artists, the PAF Gallery featuring monthly rotating art exhibits, the workshop of world famous Terry McInturff Guitars, the Chatham Rabbit coffee shop, and the new retail space. The organization serves as a hub for downtown community events as well, with an outdoor courtyard space and performance stage. We’re also a community hub, gathering space with a lot of hometown feel. We have a puzzle table now in the shop, it’s starting to feel like an old general store in here, which is great!
NCAI is a non-profit entity. You provide critical support to local artists and studio space…but how is the Incubator itself supported financially?
We are continually networking with organizations and individuals on other sources of funding through grant research and new program exploration. The incubator receives income from gallery and retail sales, studio and shop rent, private contributions and grants. This year we have added a membership program in which private citizens or businesses can support local arts and community.
Let’s talk about events – what’s on the horizon at the Incubator in the coming weeks and months?
I’m so excited by the artists we have on the schedule this year. We have such a variety from our surrounding area. Next up is Jodi Ohl, an accomplished abstract artist and author who travels the country teaching workshops in her cold wax technique. We have recently made a wonderful discovery of a sculptor new to Siler City, Syd Ginsberg. She’s been scultpting for 77 years and has an impressive body of world class bronze cast sculpture, drawings and paintings. Those will be on display May 18. There are any fantastic artists to follow. We have a special event planned for August 17. It will be our fourth annual Koo Day Tah, a music festival in honor of our own Terry McInturff. On the roster for this event so far is Radar’s Clowns of Sedations, with other acts to be determined. During this event we will hold a drawing for a custom made McInturff guitar, the Devil’s Tramping Ground Model, available solely through this event. Check our Facebook page for upcoming event info at www.facebook.com/NcArtsIncubator/. In addition to the music, we will be partnering with another nonprofit organization, Kay Blada Recycling, dedicated to plastic clean up in the founder Blada’s home country of Haiti. Blada will be organizing Haitian art that he will bring back for this special event to be displayed in the PAF Gallery.