WALTER Magazine - March 2018

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TEAM CHRIS COMBS Rallying to fight ALS

ARTIST IN STUDIO King’s vivid creations

TAKING FLIGHT Hummingbird’s trifecta

MARCH 2018


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Volume 6, Issue 6 MARCH 2018




STORY OF A HOUSE Modern Madness by Jessie Ammons photographs by Trey Thomas



WALTER PROFILE Chris Combs by Hampton Williams Hofer photographs by Jill Knight

100 ARTIST IN STUDIO King Nobuyoshi Godwin by Samantha Gratton photographs by Lissa Gotwals


RALEIGHITES History of Raleigh Rose Garden by Shelley Crisp

116 WALTER EVENTS Book club with Allan Gurganus by Jessie Ammons

AT THE TABLE Sono Sushi by Laura White photographs by Trey Thomas

On the cover: a painted bird by artist King Nobuyoshi Godwin; photograph by Lissa Gotwals



52 52

OUR TOWN On Duty: Bettie Melvin Game Plan: DJ Joe Bunn Shop Local: Des Livres et Délices The Usual: Special needs dance group by Catherine Currin photographs by Madeline Gray


OUR TOWN SPOTLIGHT Congressman David Price by Mimi Montgomery


QUENCH Hummingbird by Catherine Currin photographs by Cara Powell

109 GIVERS First Fruits Farm by Iza Wojciechowska 113 AFIELD Go Ape treetop course by James Hatfield 130 END NOTE Matrons of the Arts by Catherine Currin




24 Raleigh Now


Letter from the Editor

40 Triangle Now



121 The Whirl

20 Whimsy 22 The Mosh

128 Scribo

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Beauty, Artistry, Tradition

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here’s an unintentional theme to these following pages: overcoming odds. In the 1930s, what is today the Raleigh Rose Garden near Hillsborough Street and Cameron Village was a neglected pocket of land in the middle of a suburb. It was generally acknowledged to be an unbuildable, unsightly plot. One small group of Raleighites, however, had a vision: They rallied local gardening clubs, petitioned the city for support, and tended a garden. An eyesore became an historic park with thousands of rose blooms each spring. (Read more about the park’s fascinating history on p. 82.) Local artist King Nobuyoshi Godwin also chose an unlikely path in search of beauty. He was diagnosed with autism at age 2; at age 22, he was offered career options such as sorting items at a thrift store and stacking cans in a grocery store. But Godwin wanted something to challenge and excite him. He wanted to be an artist. With the support of his parents and aide, Godwin paints bright canvases filled with paint-penned numbers, and even, sometimes, 3-D objects, like the bird on this issue’s cover (read more on p. 100). He made his dream his reality. And then there’s reckoning with a new reality. When faced with the devastating diagnosis of ALS in 2016, Raleigh native and Wolfpack Club associate director Chris Combs and his wife, Gena Combs, reacted with vigor. Within days,

they’d formed the organization Team Chris Combs to raise money for researching a cure; four months later, they hosted a gala that raised $1 million in a matter of hours. Their momentum has continued since, and Chris continues to defy a terminal disease by reporting to work most days, driving, and walking (read more on p. 74). His story is familiar to many of you, and emotional – but the prevailing sentiment, for now, is optimism. Stories like these feel like the right ones to tell as we enter spring. I know it’s unwise to catch spring fever as early as March, but who can help it? King and Chris are inspiring, and the rose garden will bloom soon. We have another historic park opening (p. 34), a celebration of art and flowers (p. 38), and Raleigh’s first-ever pay-what-you-can restaurant (p. 24) to look forward to; fresh cocktails and sushi to try (pgs. 96 and 88); cheerful faces to greet us during even the mundane tasks like parking downtown (p. 52). We’ll be sharing stories in person, too, through a number of upcoming signature events (see pgs. 49, 59, 116, 120). I hope you’ll catch a bit of my spring fever at this month’s afternoon with best-selling author Allan Gurganus. Till then,

Jessie Ammons Editor

D e s i g n i n g a n d B u i l d i n g t h e We l c o m e H o m e s i n c e 1 9 8 4

Raleigh’s Life & Soul EDITORIAL




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Community Manager KATHERINE POOLE

VP Strategic Sales & Partnerships ANNIE ALEXANDER


Advertising Design and Production DENISE FERGUSON Circulation JERRY RITTER BRIAN HINTON Administration CINDY HINKLE

Published 10 times a year by The News & Observer Publishing Co. A McClatchy Company 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh NC 27601 WALTER is available by paid subscriptions for $15 a year in the United States, as well as select rack and retail locations throughout the Triangle. For customer service inquiries, please email us at or call 919-836-5660. Address all correspondence to: WALTER Magazine, 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh NC 27601. WALTER does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please contact editor Jessie Ammons at for freelance guidelines. © The News & Observer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the copyright owner.

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The Raleigh native says she was honored to spend time with Chris Combs, a fellow Broughton High School alum, for this issue’s WALTER Profile. “Spend a few minutes with Chris and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. In a world where his future is uncertain at best, he hasn’t let ALS define him, even as he’s garnered national attention for transforming the world of ALS research through fundraising. You can’t hear his story without feeling inspired, humbled, and grateful. What an asset Chris Combs is to our community.”

The longtime downtown Raleigh resident says he loves the excitement that comes from being a short walk from many happenings in one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. The photographer’s architectural background came in handy when shooting this issue’s Story of a House, and he received a dose of inspiration from capturing At the Table. “Watching Hyun-woo Kim in his element was something to behold. His passion for his craft was inspiring and the ramen and sushi were divine.”


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SHELLEY CRISP / W R I TE R The North Carolina native grew up and later retired in Raleigh after a career as executive director of the North Carolina Humanities Council. She has served for several years on the Raleigh Little Theatre Board of Directors, which inspired her to catalog the history of the Raleigh Rose Garden (located on the RLT campus) for this issue’s Raleighites. “The Raleigh Rose Garden was close to my childhood home and the destination for many walks and bike rides. Unearthing the vision that created it has added a rich layer of pleasure to time in the garden.”

The editorial and commercial photographer based in Durham says she had a unique experience photgraphing artist King Nobuyoshi Godwin for this month’s Artist in Studio. “King’s quiet, kind demeanor was a lovely contrast to the bright, bold colors in his art. His commitment to his art and pride in his work was clear during the time I spent with him. The support he has from his family and caregiver was quite inspirational.”

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“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” –Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Detective

passion fruit leaf illustrations by Emily Brooks Rowe

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“Clumsily and as if by accident, it seemed to be spring. Tonight a body noticed. (Spring is the earth forgiving itself.)” –Allan Gurganus, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All RUN, DONUT WALK

TIMELESS STYLE Take a step back in time with a historic fashion show March 10 at the N.C. Museum of History. You’ll experience 150 years of fashion when 20 models take to the runway donning authentic dresses, hairstyles, and accessories. 2 - 3 p.m.; $12 per person, $10 for museum members;

TELL-TALES You can channel your inner bookworm at Dr. Elliot Engel’s March 2 lecture on The Tortured Genius of Edgar Allan Poe. The author and professor will speak at Raleigh Moravian Church on the peculiar and genius life of the American author. 7 p.m.; 1816 Ridge Road; $27 per person;


Why not... Pick up a pretty gold foxglove made of paper and tin from Furbish...dine at the Pacific Rim Islands dinner with Catering Works March 22…attend the Book Club Bash March 19 at Quail Ridge Books…add a schmear of butter to soda bread from La Farm on St. Patrick’s Day… plan ahead and stock up on Easter basket goodies at Zest Café & Home Art…

You can get some exercise and support a good cause March 10 at Sola Coffee & Café’s 5th annual Hot Mini 5k. The race begins at 8:30 a.m. at Sola, and you’ll end there as well, where you can celebrate with refreshments and live music. Profits go to Hope for Warriors of North Carolina. In case you don’t get your fill, you’ll go home with a voucher for some complimentary hot minis, the shop’s signature melt-inyour-mouth donut. $30 till March 9, $35 on race day; 7705 Lead Mine Road;

WALTERscope If you were born between Feb. 18 and March 20, you’re a Pisces. Your color is sea-green, and you’re certainly not a fish out of water. Head out on a weekend getaway to the lake or ocean to get some much needed sea time. Since you love to laugh, stop in for open mic comedy night March 15 at Neptune’s Parlour – the namesake of your ruling planet.

Adobe Stock (STYLE, POE, BASKET, PISCES); courtesy Furbish (FOXGLOVE); courtesy La Farm Bakery (BREAD); courtesy Sola Coffee & Cafe (DONUT)


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ROOM FOR ALL Raleigh’s new pay-what-you-can restaurant


e want a place where all people can come together to have a good meal,” says Raleigh native Maggie Kane. After years of experience working with homeless communities, both through local nonprofits and her own volunteer efforts, Kane wanted to think beyond shelters and soup kitchens. In January, she opened A Place at the Table, Raleigh’s firstever pay-what-you-can restaurant on Hargett Street downtown. The cheery spot offers straightforward breakfast and lunch options, like quiche, granola bowls, and salads. At face value, it’s similar to other downtown restaurants catering to the workaday crowd: except, here, customers can purchase a token for $10 in addition to his or her own meal. Anyone in need may take a


token and exchange it for any menu item. “We really want to give people a hand up, rather than a hand out,” Kane says. In that vein, token-users will volunteer an hour of their time to the restaurant once they finish their meal. A Place at the Table has been three years in the making. After looking to other pay-what-you-can restaurant concepts for inspiration, including F.A.R.M. Cafe in Boone, North Carolina, Kane began hosting monthly pop-up meals in Raleigh, including at NOFO @ the Pig, so•ca, and bu•ku. The pop-ups raised money to end homelessness; and their popularity proved the need for a brick-and-mortar, Kane says. “We realized that we needed to be a restaurant that is also a nonprofit, not a nonprofit that is also a restaurant.” She searched for more than a

MARCH year to find the space off of Nash Square, formerly Café de los Muertos coffee shop. Already, Kane has clearly built a fan base in downtown Raleigh. She’s at the cafe most days, usually exchanging hugs with familiar restaurant-goers and volunteers alike – over 100 volunteers come through the doors monthly. She says she’s thrilled to see the vision materialize: community tables filled with people from different walks of life. “We all have one thing in common: food.” –Catherine Currin Tues. - Fri. 7 a.m. - 2 p.m., Sat. - Sun. 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.; 300 W. Hargett St.;

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2-4 DEER JOHN It’s Dixie deer season. The Wake County Wildlife Club presents the 38th annual Dixie Deer Classic at the N.C. State Fairgrounds March 2 - 4. As the premier trophy whitetail deer show in the country, the expo celebrates N.C.’s hunting culture and is also a fundraiser for the Wildlife Club’s education and conservation programs. Mingle with fellow sportspersons, check out the latest in hunting equipment and services, and meet nationally known hunting experts. You can take the whole family: Special activities for junior hunters include a BB gun Turkey Shoot and the N.C. State Turkey Calling Contest. Bring along your prize-worthy trophies as well; there are contests for best trophy in numerous categories. The expo covers the entire fairground so take advantage of the admission price – it covers all three days. Happy hunting! Friday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; general admission $12 for the entire weekend, free for kids under 12, Friday $6 admission for youth 13-18, seniors, military, and women, 1025 Blue Ridge Road;


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How now, Theatre Raleigh? It’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the latest offering in TR’s Family Series, which is geared toward young viewers with shows that blend music with storytelling. This telling puts a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s tale of lovers, fairies, and mischievous woodland creatures and has been adapted to be accessible to audiences young and old. And, with a run time of 50 minutes, antsy pants stay still. What fools these mortals be that pass on this magical show. Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m., Friday 6 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.; $15 adults, $10 children 12 and under; 2 E. South St.;

Jill Knight (HUNTING); Curtis Brown Photography (MIDSUMMER)

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Takaaki Iwabu (RUNNER); courtesy Carolina Ballet (BALLET)


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RUN, FOREST RUN Lace up for the 15th Annual Umstead Marathon and William B. Umstead State Park. The March 3 race is for the non-road warrior, with a course that traverses the park’s wide sand and dirt bridle trails and that includes swaths of hilly, rocky, and rooty terrain. Your reward: All entrants receive a finishers pint glass to fill at the fabulous post-race meal. The race is sponsored by the Carolina Godiva Track Club, a local organization that serves runners and supports running related activities in the Triangle. Proceeds benefit the club and the Umstead Coalition. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.; $70; 8801 Glenwood Ave.;

Stirring, sensual, unforgettable – Boléro is one of the most recognizable pieces of music in the classical canon. Perhaps less known is its original inspiration. Maurice Ravel was commissioned to compose a Spanish-themed ballet score for the Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein. Boléro is the one-movement composition born of that endeavor. And, for a few weeks, Carolina Ballet brings the piece back to the dance with a world premiere performance staged by principal guest choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett. Boléro is yet another example of the diverse and thoroughly modern production audiences have come to expect from our world-class ballet company. See website for dates and times; $32 - $91; 2 E. South St.;

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SILVER SCREEN Interactive theater concept opens downtown


lamo Drafthouse is upping the date night ante. “The concept of Alamo is dinner, drinks, movies, and events all under one roof,” says creative manager Kristy Breneman. Raleigh’s Alamo opens on New Bern Avenue this month, and it’s the first North Carolina outpost of the Austin, Texas-based brand. You can stop in for a cocktail, see a feature film, or even rent a VHS from the Video Vortex rental shop. (If your VCR is long gone, those are for rent, too.) When it comes to showtime snacks, the menu doesn’t stop at popcorn and candy: there are heartier options, from almost 60 local draft beers to creative pizzas and salads. If you see a movie, the tenet at all of Alamo’s 29 locations is a strict no-textingand-no-talking policy during the film – one warning and you’re out, prefaced by on-screen PSAs from various celebrities. However, Breneman says that they’ll host select interactive and rowdy screenings if you want to express yourself. There are also sensory-friendly screenings for young families and guests with special needs every day before 2 p.m. Other events include champagne cinemas, afternoon tea, and throwback screenings. There’s something for everyone at this approachable, quirky entertainment –C.C. hub. 2116 New Bern Ave.;

courtesy Alamo Drafthouse



10 Brittany Keene (MRAZ); Nina Schultz (BOWIE)



MRAZ-MATAZZ Hot off his run in the hit musical Waitress, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz will serve up a big helping of charm at Memorial Auditorium March 8. An Evening with Jason Mraz, Solo Acoustic promises to be an intimate evening of just Jason (hopefully in his signature jaunty hat), just playing his irresistible hits. Lucky us. 7:30 p.m.; $35 - $85; 2 E. South St.;

Put on your red shoes and dance the Bowie blues away. The Bowie Ball returns to Lincoln Theatre March 10. This glam pop-rock party celebrates all things Bowie, starting with ball attendees. Come bedecked and bedazzled in Bowie-inspired attire: Ziggy wigs, Thin White Duke ascots, Major Tom space gear, and all the glitter, spandex, and platform shoes. Ball resident emcee, DJ 40, will be blasting the best of Bowie on the dance floor. And, when it is time to sway through the crowd for a break in an empty space, the Lincoln provides room to chill with a comfortable lounge, a glamification station, body painting, and a photo booth. Ash to ashes, funk to funky, this is the party for every space oddity. 9 p.m.; $12.50 advance tickets, $15 at the door; 126 E. Cabarrus St.;

Learning IsA Blast! From the earliest years, children learn that Ravenscroft is a place of warmth, of belonging, and of exciting new discoveries. We meet every child where they are and as they explore a new world of people and ideas, we take them by the hand and make sure their journey is one of wonder and joy. Discover why children love it here!

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7:30 p.m.; 4720 Hargrove Road; $12 adults, $10 students, free for children; shop. raleighsymphony. com

Pictured above: Sheila Anderson, January’s employee of the month.

OLD SCHOOL K&W celebrates 50 years at Cameron Village


n 1949, Cameron Village was the first shopping center built between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, and today it remains a Raleigh standby. One of its longest tenants is K&W cafeteria, which opened its Cameron Village doors in 1968, 50 years ago. But the casual buffet-style Southern restaurant isn’t making too much fuss about the five decade milestone; that’s part of its allure: no frills. K&W originally opened in the building adjacent to its current location, where there is today Medlin Davis and Village Deli. In 1992, the cafeteria took over the former Village Theater spot. Besides the expansion, not much else has changed. Many of the employees have worked for the Winston-Salem based company for decades. Cook Rubin Jones first worked at the North Hills location, moving to Cameron Village in the ’90s. All total, he’s been in Raleigh K&W kitchens for 28 years. “I’ve worked here for so long, it’s my family.”


Likewise, former Raleigh general manager Rankin Brown remembers “when I was a student at N.C. State in the ’70s, my friends and I would walk to Cameron Village to eat at K&W.” He has spent a collective 33 years working in different locations around the state. Employees and customers also find comfort in the food. There’s a winding line out the door most Sundays about the time local churches let out, and trays filled with items from baked spaghetti or fried flounder to employee Jeannette Horton’s favorite, “San Francisco chicken,” a breaded chicken dish with rice and vegetables. In addition to the food, Horton says she loves seeing a familiar face in the regular diners, and kids who are “all grown up” returning with their parents or grandparents. To many Raleighites, the place bears nostalgia, be it from the comfort food, the atmosphere, or the employee you’ve known forever. –C.C.

AND THE OSCAR GOES TO... You can walk the red carpet on Oscar night at the Rialto Theatre. All are welcome to the theater’s free screening of the 90th annual Academy Awards. Beer and wine are for sale, so you can truly toast the winners. March 4; 7 p.m.; 1620 Glenwood Ave.

Laura Petrides Wall

MAKING MUSIC Raleigh Symphony’s Free Spirit Ensemble will perform Music of Tomorrow March 10 at Ruggero Piano. The showcase celebrates original compositions by aspiring composers.


10-11 courtesy Monster Jam (TRUCK); courtesy Christie’s (OZ)

JAM ON IT Do the monster mash. The PNC Arena is getting down and dirty for the revved-up, super-charged Monster Jam March 10. It’s an adrenaline pumping, family and fan friendly monster truck rally with a one-two punch of unbelievable displays and gravitydefying feats. The stars of the show are the tricked-out trucks, and the lineup, for those keeping score, includes aptly named El Toro Loco, Grave Digger, Stone Crusher, and Whiplash. For the monster truck die-hard, consider crashing the Pit Party before the Sunday show. Pit Party ticket holders are invited down on the track to meet the drivers and get up-close and personal with the trucks. Parking lots open two-and-a-half hours prior to the show for pre-jamming (parking fees apply). Jam on this monster party, it really is the pits. Saturday 7 p.m., Sunday Pit Party 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Sunday show 1 p.m.; $19 - $49, $15 additional charge for Pit Party tickets; 1400 Edwards Mill Road;

Trunk Show Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7

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13-18 WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS There’s no place like home to catch Broadway-caliber performances, and North Carolina Theatre with Broadway Series South delivers. Get swept up in The Wizard of Oz March 13 - 18 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. The show has it all: melting witches, lollipop guilds, yellow brick roads, flying monkeys, and the little dog too. Scoop up your munchkins and ease on down the road (to quote another great show). See website for show dates and times; $25 - $100; 2 E. South St.;

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Robert Black and Ormond Sanderson are important figures in this state’s modern art and design world. Accomplished artists in their own right, the pair were among the first to introduce North Carolinians to modern art, architecture, music, and design at their renowned studio Strawvalley, once located on a sprawling farm near Chapel Hill. The Gregg Museum will honor these modern pioneers in a new exhibit, Design Duet: The creative lives of Robert Black and Ormond Sanderson. The exhibits opens with a reception March 15 and runs through September 2018. Design Duet includes examples of Black’s collage paintings and stonewares, alongside Sanderson’s etched and glazed enamels. Furniture, lighting, and decorative pieces of the modern era will also be featured as a fitting background for this remarkable show. 6 p.m. reception, see website for regular museum hours; free; 1903 Hillsborough St.;

1718 COMIC RELIEF Zap! Kapow! Biff! North Carolina Comicon: Oak City is powering up March 17 - 18. Are your Spidey senses tingling? The two day fanperson extravaganza at the Convention Center includes: workshops and panels with industry professionals; interactive exhibits; and top vendors of comics, toys, and collectibles. Bring an autograph book and your personal paparazzi for plenty of meet-and-greet opportunities with creators, animators, voice actors, and industry luminaries. Special guests include Greg Eastman, creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Art Baltazar, creator of the Tiny Titans; and James “Buster” Douglas, former heavyweight boxer who will be on hand to judge competitions of his video game Knockout Boxing. Come dressed for battle because costumes are encouraged and judged in the Cosplay Contest. Might be time to gas up the Batmobile. Saturday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; VIP $90, two day pass $40, Saturday pass $30, Sunday pass $20, free for children 9 and under; 500 S. Salisbury St.; BUY



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Corery Lowenstein (GREEN); Carl Court (DOG SHOW)

GREEN DAY The Oak City proclaims Erin go bragh March 17 for the Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival. Get into the green and go. The parade route begins on Wilmington Street by the Legislature Building and winds its way to Salisbury Street before concluding at Lenoir Street. The parade begins promptly at 10 a.m. and ends by 11:30 a.m., leaving plenty of time for festivities. The Wearin’ O’ the Green Festival is held on City Plaza with plenty o’ music and dancing. When the jigging gets you knackered, take a break and enjoy good eats and green tinted refreshment. Or, browse the many vendors and craft booths for some Celtic merch. And for the wee kiddies in tow, make way to the end of the rainbow: Leprechaun Lane is lined with bounce houses and rides. Irish is a state of mind on St. Paddy’s Day, so round up the lads and lasses and go big as you go bragh. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; free admission; see website for parade route, festival is at 400 Fayetteville St.;


Find out who is top dog at the fifth annual Jackie’s Puppapalooza March 18 at Dorton Arena on the N.C. State Fairgrounds. Hosted by Jackie’s Basics and Beyond Dog Training, this is a low-pressure, high-hilarity, fun-filled dog show for two-legged and four-legged friends of all ages. Enter your prized pooch into one of the 15 doggone entertaining events, which include: Puppy Commands, Senior Dog Agility, High Jump Short Legs, Team Machine, Nose Work, Special Talent, and Dogue Fashion. Visit the website to pre-register your pooch; entrance fees may apply. With special kid activities, vendors, and adoption groups on hand, it is sure to be puppy love. 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. $5 general admission, free for children under 12; 1025 Blue Ridge Road;


MARKING TIME A new park honors historic Oberlin Village


t a small construction site on Oberlin Road between Wade Avenue and Cameron Village, five slightly curved, roughhewn clay and concrete spires rise up, almost impossibly, from the earth. This is the beginning of Oberlin Rising, an art installation and park by local artist Thomas Sayre, with much help and inspiration from the surrounding community. Oberlin Village was established after the Civil War by freed slaves on land that


was once a plantation. By the turn of the century, it was a thriving neighborhood and many of the original homes and structures are still intact, making it one of North Carolina’s few remaining Reconstruction-era communities. It will now be honored and preserved with this new park, set to open later this spring. Do not pick up or remove stones, rocks, glass, or shrubbery. These simple items are often grave markers. So reads a sign marking nearby historic Oberlin Cemetery, which

predates the village and is thought to be a burial site for slaves. Those lines are the guiding inspiration for the park, Sayre says. He hopes the place will be a marker for the unmarked, a symbolic “marking of this community” to the greater Raleigh area, and he worked closely with Oberlin Village residents to bring it to reality. Each element of the installation is a marker, from the self-renewing landscaping to the lines of lune poetry integrated

Katherine Poole (THIS PAGE); courtesy Clearscapes (HANDS)


fashion • interiors • lifestyle

into the design by local poet and playwright Howard L. Craft. The five earthcast spires represent the labor of the community, from farming and trade work to education and social justice. Sayre had a surveyor make a site line for the spires to aim directly toward the cemetery (which is located behind the Interact building). Even the park’s marker is a marker: Sayre gathered the 10 oldest and 10 youngest village residents to cast their hands in concrete that was used to construct the Oberlin Rising sign. In February, Raleigh’s City Council granted the project an historic overlay, which sets specific design guidelines

for new construction and renovation. The measure was an important step in recognizing this monumental effort to celebrate the Oberlin Village community. WALTER looks forward to telling you more about the park upon its opening. –Katherine Poole

Opposite page: Beyond park construction are two prominent historic Oberlin Village sites: Oberlin Baptist Church, established in the early 1870s, and the Graves-Fields House, which is being relocated just down the street behind the Rev. Plummer T. Hall House to become the new home of Preservation North Carolina. Above: Handprints of Oberlin Village residents cast into concrete for the park’s entrance.

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30 ABBY NORMAL EVENING Walk this way – to the Museum of Natural Sciences to see Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks’ cinematic monster mash-up of Mary Shelley’s gothic tale. The screening March 30 is part of the series Finally Friday: Where Science meets the Cinema. Before the show, you can discover the real deal behind anatomy, ethics, and reanimation as you engage with interactive science stations. There will also be live music, craft beers, and “Frank Night:” Carolina-style hot dogs and Italian sausages. The film screens at 7. Stick around afterward, when an actual doctor will separate the scientific fact from fiction. The evening is recommended for ages 12 and up (particularly the up). 5:30 - 9 p.m.; $2 members, $5 nonmembers; 11 W. Jones St.;

Sometimes we all need a little help. That’s the message of In Everything Trust God, the homegrown stage play that premiered to packed houses in Eastern North Carolina last year. Raleigh audiences will be able to hear the message March 31. Written by Wanda Dunston, the play is an inspirational, and often hilarious, lesson in life and how to deal with sickness, relationships, jobs, and even those well-meaning church folk. And where there are church folk, there is singing – popular gospel recording artist Paul Porter makes an appearance. Come hear the good word and put your trust In Everything. 6 p.m.; $25 - $39; 2 E. South St.;

courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; N&O Archives (HAND)



Experience the Brand New Wolf and Sub Zero Living Kitchen at Kitchen & Bath Galleries Please join Kitchen & Bath Galleries for their Grand Opening of this new Living Kitchen and enjoy the culinary talent of Chef Vinnie Balducci Tuesday, March 20th 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. 8411 Glenwood Avenue Raleigh 8411 Glenwood Ave., Ste. 107 Raleigh, NC 27612 919-783-7100

108 E. Chatham St. Cary, NC 27511 919-467-6341

1201-J Raleigh Rd. Chapel Hill, NC 27517 919-929-1590

4209 Lassiter Mill Rd., Ste. 130 Raleigh, NC 27609 919-600-6200

RALEIGH NOW AGENDA RAISE A TOAST The McKimmon Center at N.C. State hosts Toast to the Triangle March 11, a tasting event benefiting the Tammy Lynn Memorial Foundation. The foundation provides resources to children and adults in the Triangle dealing with developmental disabilities. The evening includes a silent auction and food and drink from dozens of sponsors, including the Angus Barn, Neomonde, and Ponysaurus Brewing. 6 p.m.; 1101 Gorman St.; $80;

IRISH ADVENTURE You can bring your little ones to Historic Yates Mill County Park for a leprechaun extravaganza March 16. There will be Irish music, stories, and you can even build a leprechaun trap. Avoid being in a pinch: make sure to wear green! 11 a.m. - 12 noon; ages 6 and up; $1 per person; registration and adult supervision required, keyword: in search of leprechauns

Spring Clothing Show March 15, 16 (10am to 6pm both days) • Spring Clothing Trunk Show Charlotte's at North Hills • Tyler Boe, Jude Connally, and Mollybeads Jewelry

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MIXED MEDIA You can visit Tim Lytvinenko’s latest showing of prints and photo transfers this month at Anchorlight Raleigh. Liminality explores life transitions through a collection of large-scale works; they cover 400 square feet all together. The exhibit is inspired by and dedicated to Lytvinenko’s late mother, and runs through March 10. Saturday and Sundays 1 - 5 p.m., or by appointment; closing reception March 10 6 - 9 p.m.; 1407 S. Bloodworth St.

Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm • Saturday 10am-5pm • Closed Sunday & Monday

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Art in Bloom returns in full force 38 | WALTER

courtesy North Carolina Museum of Art


CMA’s fourth annual Art in Bloom festival returns March 22 - 25 with a notably local bent. The delightful event invites 60 floral designers to create art-inspired masterpieces based on the museum’s permanent collection. This year, for the first time, the majority of the designers are from North Carolina. Art in Bloom began as a way to “make art more interesting to first-time visitors,” says Laura Finan, the museum’s coordinator of programs. She says that mission remains, strengthened by introducing museumgoers to floral designers nearby, whom they might recognize or have a connection with. “We’re really able to showcase the talent that’s here in North Carolina.” There are a bevy of ways to celebrate flowers and art throughout the weekend, from succulent arranging classes to park tours – and, of course, flower care 101. Here are a few. –C.C.

MARCH Museum-goers enjoy installations at Art in Bloom 2017.

FLORAL ENGAGEMENTS SCAVENGER HUNT Your kids can also be included in the artistic expression. Bring them to the West Building for a family scavenger hunt featuring the floral art. March 24; 9 a.m.; free with Art in Bloom admission

PINKS AND INKS PARTY Let a party be your excuse: You can visit the exhibition for the first annual Pink and Inks cocktail party. This soiree happens after-hours with an open bar, live models, and guest speaker Arthur Williams, who is a renowned florist from Denver, Colorado. March 24; 7:30 p.m.; $40 members, $45 nonmembers

DESIGNERS CHALLENGE – SEEING RED Think Project Runway meets Iron Chef with fresh flowers. Two designers go head-to-head to create a masterpiece. Conservator Perry Hurt will lead the discussion on how the color red influences art as well as flowers. March 25; 2 p.m.; $27 members, $30 nonmembers

FLOWER MEDITATION Find your inner mantra within the flowers. There are two chances for a guided meditation. March 23, 6 p.m.; March 23, 7:30 p.m.; $36 members, $40 nonmembers Tickets to Art in Bloom are $13 for members, $18 for nonmembers, and free for children under 6;

MARCH 2018 | 39


Takaaki Iwabu (BAR); Adobe Stock

Spott ligh

N.C. State fans celebrate the Wolfpack’s 66-63 victory over Georgetown in the third round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament at Players’ Retreat.


Slam dunks for NCAA Tournament viewing


t sets in on Selection Sunday, March 11, and rises to its final, fevered pitch Monday, April 2. It is March Madness, and all around the Triangle even our most mildmannered denizens will succumb to the bracket-busting, house-dividing, lucky-sock-wearing insanity. You can embrace it and follow along at these local watering holes known for solid eats and drinks; large and plentiful screens; and a welcoming atmosphere to all hoops-mad fans. Don’t miss a moment; a few seconds is all it takes to win a championship – sheer madness. Here are a few places across the Triangle, in no order of preference. –Katherine Poole



RALEIGH / CARY Carolina Ale House 4512 Falls of Neuse Road Other locations in Glenwood South, Brier Creek, Cary, and Durham

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Pete Leabo, Jim Mone, Greg Hatem

Craft Public House 1040 Tryon Village Drive, Cary Hickory Tavern 1156 Parkside Main St., Cary Other locations in Carrboro and Holly Springs High Park Bar and Grill 625 E. Whitaker Mill Road Players’ Retreat 105 Oberlin Road Ruckus Pizza, Pasta, and Spirits 1101 Market Center Drive, Cary Other locations in Cary, Morrisville, Apex, and Raleigh Village Drafthouse 428 Daniels St. Woody’s Sports Tavern & Grille 8322 Chapel Hill Road, Cary

DURHAM CHAPEL HILL Carolina Brewery 480 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill Italian Pizzeria III (IP3) 508 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill Orange County Social Club 108 E. Main St., Carrboro Top of the Hill 100 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

Devine’s 904 W. Main St., Durham Mattie B’s Public House 1125 W. NC Highway 54, Durham Pour Tap Room 202 N. Corcoran St., Durham Tobacco Road 280 S. Mangum St., Durham Other locations in Chapel Hill and Raleigh

MARCH 2018 | 41


proportions at the 2018 Culinary Adventures dining series. Experience delectable cuisine created by our award-winning chef, Rich Carter, served at our exclusive venue, the Laurelbrook. Full course dinners inspired by intriguing destinations, paired with unique libations, and served by our exuberant team of tour guides. Ready for takeoff? Your seat backs and tray tables need not be stowed. This sensational expedition of food, flavor and pure enjoyment awaits. Bon Appetit, Bon Voyage and thank you for flying with Catering Works. Charter your voyage at 919.828.5932 or Group tickets are still available, please inquire. SPONSORED BY

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September 21, 2018 6:30 pm a nomadic adventure from Patagonia and beyond to taste the flavors influenced by ancient Incan culture Individual Ticket $95

November 9, 2018 6:30 pm old-world culinary roots, seasonal and pristine fresh, nouveau dining from Napa to Sonoma Individual Ticket $95

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Durham is home to one of North Carolina’s finest examples of Art Deco architecture: the Snow Building on West Main Street. Its presence downtown is notable, not only for its distinct look but also because a woman commissioned it to be built in the ’20s. That woman, Anna Exum Snow, is the focus of the Museum of Durham History’s latest exhibit, The Woman Who Made Snow. The exhibit features components in both the museum and the Snow Building. At the museum, visitors discover Snow’s independent, pioneering spirit. She was a savvy businesswoman and a forward thinker at a time when women had only recently been granted the right to vote. At the Snow Building, Through the Eyes of the Snow Building honors memorable historical events that took place just outside its doors through a selection of The HeraldSun archives. Plan an afternoon to take this historic tour of Durham, then enjoy the modern-day amenities currently making history downtown. See website for museum hours; free; 212 W. Main St.;

4 HEAVENLY HOST Duke Chapel Music and the Duke Department of Music present Mendelssohn’s Elijah at the Duke Chapel March 4. The oratorio presents key events in the life of the prophet Elijah taken from the Old Testament. The Duke Chapel Choir will be joined by the Duke Chorale, professional vocal soloists, and an orchestra to give the dramatic piece full voice in a venue most fitting. 4 p.m.; $20 general admission, $15 Duke employees, $5 non-Duke students, free Duke students; 401 Chapel Drive, Durham; chapel.

John Rottet (SNOW); Chuck Liddy (CHAPEL)

Journey with us on a tour of gastronomic

courtesy Scrap Exchange (BOTTLE CAPS); Takaaki Iwabu (MARATHON)





The American Tobacco Trail is known for idyllic running conditions, making The Tobacco Road Marathon and Half-Marathon the ideal race for runners of all stripes. Seasoned distancer? Marathon-curious? Boston Qualifier seeker? This is your race. As advertised, it’s 20 “fast, flat, and fun” miles. The race is Sunday, but make time for the Pre-Race Expo Friday and Saturday at the Embassy Suites of Cary. The expo showcases the latest in fitness, nutrition, and gear. Sign up for a pace team or arrange for a pre-race massage. Post race, join fellow runners at Appalachian Mountain Brewery to celebrate with fellow running buddies. Go for your personal best and give back while doing so. Proceeds benefit Hope for the Warriors, the American Red Cross, the Triangle Rails To Trails Conservancy, and JDRF. On your mark, get set, go for it. See website for race information, registration, regulations, and fee schedule;

SCRAPPY DO What comes to mind when you hear the word craft? Glue gun or pilsner glass? Either way Scrappy Hour is for you. Scrappy Hour is an evening of making and sipping at The Scrap Exchange in Durham, a nonprofit on a mission to promote environmental awareness through creative reuse of materials. In other words: they find the junk, you make it art. Scrappy Hour happens every third Wednesday of the month; on March 16 the project is bottle cap art. Learn how to turn bottle caps into one-of-a-kind conversation pieces. The materials are provided and so are the yummy snacks. You may B.Y.O.B. for further inspiration. D.I.Y. not make it a doubly crafty night? 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.; $25, reservations are recommended; 2020 Chapel Hill Road, Durham;















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Fountains & Pines of Rome FRI-SAT, MAR 23-24 | 8PM

Ben Gernon, conductor Brian Reagin, violin

Saturday Concert Sponsor: Smith Anderson

Respighi’s masterpieces Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome evoke the Italian city at various times of day. NCS Concertmaster Brian Reagin plays Bruch’s most famous composition, the Violin Concerto No. 1.


FRI, APR 6 | 7PM SAT, APR 7 | 1PM & 4PM

Wesley Schulz, conductor Enchantment Theatre Saturday Sponsor: WakeMed Children’s

Weaving together theater, puppetry, and magic with the evocative music of Igor Stravinsky, Enchantment Theatre tells this captivating tale of Prince Ivan and the fabulous Firebird.

Brahms Symphony No. 4

FRI/SAT, APR 13-14 | 8PM

David Danzmayr, conductor Angelo Xiang Yu, violin Weekend Sponsor: Grubb Ventures

Sarah Kirkland Snider: Something for the Dark Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 Brahms: Symphony No. 4

Romeo & Juliet

FRI/SAT, APR 27-28 | 8PM

Grant Llewellyn, conductor UNC School of the Arts

Actors from the UNC School of the Arts join the Symphony for a semi-staged production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, with music from Prokofiev, Berlioz, Kabalevsky, and more.

Tickets selling fast! Buy now! 919.733.2750

SWEET AS CAN BE Family gardening series starts with ’taters


ig into family time this month at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill. Its annual family gardening series begins March 17 with a focus on “the uber tuber”: the sweet potato. “We believe gardens are natural teachers. They provide places to explore, discover, and build relationships with the natural world,” says Elisha Taylor, the garden’s youth and family education manager. Meant for ages 5 and up, the Saturday afternoon session will keep everyone interested with fun facts, hands-on activities, and practical gardening advice. “Our hope is that (participants) are inspired by what they learn and see demonstrated in our vegetable garden and apply it to their home gardening projects, with the child as a full participant in the gardening process,” Taylor says. You’ll take home a potato experiment and the know-how to plant your own vegetable garden, if you’d like. This month’s gathering begins a series running through the spring. On April 28, you can make your own growing soil and learn about worms and other useful creatures. On May 19, you’ll plant herbs and go home with recipes. –J.A. This month’s family gardening series: 1 - 2:15 p.m.; $10 per child, $9 for members, and no fee for accompanying adult;

courtesy North Carolina Botanical Garden

The Firebird

SANCTUARY 317 Cambridge Woods Way, Raleigh 27608 The fruition of a renowned Chicago architect’s intrepid vision of a modern Southern home, this thrilling renovation dares you to stop and savor its workmanship. A wide bluestone pathway ushers you through an intricate arched doorway into a magnificent foyer, anchored by a dramatic floating staircase. Heavy wooden doors adorned with an artisanal inlaid design. A jaw-dropping kitchen. A luxury hotel master suite. And a sanctuary-like outdoor setting, complete with a creek for the Huckleberry in all of us.

HERITAGE 1007 Nichols Drive, Raleigh 27605 The story begins in 1949, when Willie York developed Cameron Village, mixing apartments, homes, office and retail into the live/work/play community we love today. When the apartments were converted into condos in 1983, Mr. York retained a building for his family, reimagining the center four flats into this extraordinary 4500 SF residence, now owned by his daughter Phyllis and husband Don. Several renovations later, the home glistens with warmth, character and a modern layout, mindful of its great heritage.

LANDMARK 2025 Fairview Rd, Raleigh 27608 After purchasing land from B.G. Cowper in 1920, prominent builder C.V. York constructed this magnificent Italian Renaissance residence for his growing family. The man whose tall legacy includes two of Raleigh’s most significant landmarks - Memorial Auditorium and the NC State Bell Tower - built a home to last for generations. The present owners, whose family first acquired the property in 1934, have stewarded that legacy beautifully, sparing no expense to preserve and modernize this storied estate. 919.449.7535

23 PICTURE THIS For many, going to the big dance at Duke does not mean the NCAA Tournament. Big dance of the ADF variety happens all year in Durham and this month is an outstanding example. (That it happens during the basketball tournament is not lost on us.) Duke Performances presents: The Principles of Uncertainty at Reynolds Industrial Theater March 23. Acclaimed illustrator and painter Maira Kalman collaborated with choreographer John Heginbotham, a Mark Morris alumnus, to bring Kalman’s strange and wonderful book The Principles of Uncertainty to life. Higenbotham brings a playful whimsy to Kalman’s mischievous drawings that mine the uncertainty of life. Kalman herself takes part in the performance with accompaniment by a four-piece ensemble. No uncertainty here, this big dance is a winner. 8 p.m.; $38, $20 ages 30 and under, $10 Duke students; 125 Science Drive, Durham;

23 NATIONAL TREASURES The Woody Guthrie archives contains close to 3,000 handwritten song lyrics that never became songs. That is, until Woody’s daughter asked bluegrass legend Del McCoury to set them to music. The result, Del McCoury Band: Del and Woody, is a special collaboration between two men who never crossed paths. You can catch this remarkable show at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill March 23. You’ll hear, as Paste magazine reported, “two grand masters, one groundbreaking sound.” This show belongs to you and me. 8 p.m.; $25 - $69; 114 E. Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill;

Bold & Beautiful

courtesy Duke Performances (DANCE); courtesy Del McCoury Band (BAND)


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Modern dance meets traditional discipline


hen the Portuguese discovered Taiwan off the coast of China in the 16th century, they were said to have called it Formosa, or beautiful isle. Their initial exclamation of beauty inspires a modern dance performance in Chapel Hill March 6. Also called Formosa, the work by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will be energetic and ethereal. The dance troupe produces simultaneously delicate and explosive choreography by integrating ancient movement arts into its modern dance playbook, including Qigong, martial arts, and ballet. For Formosa, evocative staging adds to the mix: shapes and colors meant to suggest mountains, rivers, and tsunamis. The dance was commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts for this one-time performance, the kind of mind-bending and genre-bending show worth beholding. –J.A. 7:30 p.m.; $25;

LIU Chen-hsiang



Art fare We are thrilled to partner with 3 standout local restaurants, Garland, Brewery Bhavana, and Heirloom, to bring this thoughtful meal to life. Join WALTER magazine for a memorable evening inspired by art. Each chef’s team will draw from one of CAM Raleigh’s 3 latest exhibits to create an intimate 3-course dinner in the gallery.

April 5 6:30 p.m.

Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh First course: Heirloom, the soon-to-open restaurant and tea shop in The Dillon Main course: Cheetie Kumar of Garland (2017 and 2018 James Beard Award semifinalist) Final course: Brewery Bhavana (2018 James Beard Award semifinalist)

Limited tickets available. For more information, please visit

23 NEW ATTITUDE She is a two-time Grammy Award winning singer, an Emmy Award nominated actress, a best-selling author, the host of a popular cooking show, and a tireless humanitarian. She also currently serves as the First Lady of Rock & Soul. She is the incomparable Patti LaBelle and she is performing March 23 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Whether belting out pop standards, rhythm-and-blues classics, or spiritual songs from the heart, Ms. LaBelle will deliver with grace, style, and soul-stirring power. 8 p.m.; $55 - $125; 123 Vivian St.;

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QUE THE MUSIC It’s all right there in the name: the Blue, Brew, and Que Festival of Duplin County. Venture out to the Duplin County Events Center in Kenansville March 24 for a grand ole day of bluegrass-jamming, beer-tasting, and barbecue-sampling. Hear the blue: headlining on stage are bluegrass luminaries Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, The VW Boys, The Malpass Brothers, and Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out. Enjoy suds from local craft breweries like Mother Earth Brewing, Nickelpoint Brewing Co., and Double Barley Brewing. Then, queue up for a heaping plate at the barbecue cook-off. It’s a full day of fun, so come prepared. What to bring: dancing shoes and proper identification. What to leave at home: food, drinks, alcohol, coolers, pets, and video equipment. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.; $20 early bird pass, $25 day-of pass, $15 military, $5 ages 21 and under, free ages 5 and under; 195 Fairgrounds Dr., Kenansville;


Models/lifestyle photos do not reflect racial or ethnic preference. Price subject to change without notice. Copyright © 2017 Lennar Corporation. All rights reserved. Lennar and the Lennar logo are U.S. registered service marks or service marks of Lennar Corporation and/or its subsidiaries. (23242) 10/24/17

Susan Pfanmuller (LABELLE); Kim Brantley Photography (RUSSELL MOORE AND III TYME OUT)



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POP A WHEELIE Into x-treme sports? Head over to Wendell March 24 to catch members of the Pro Town BMX stunt team put on an extreme show. Expect all the flips, whips, and 360s from these Greenville, North Carolina-based bikers who have X Games and ATM Dew Tour street cred. Stick around after the show for autograph seshes and free riding clinics. Shows are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. with a rain date scheduled for April 7, just in case. Strap on your helmet dude, it’s going to be epic. 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.; free; North Main Street, Wendell;

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“I was hired to be the cashier and collect money, but I believe that God put me here to encourage people.” –Bettie Melvin, parking attendant, Convention Center Underground Deck downtown


f you’re parking near the Marriott or Raleigh Convention Center downtown, chances are you’ll run into Bettie Melvin on your way into and out of the deck below. She’s been a friendly face there for four years, but this is just Act Two. When Melvin retired from 36 years at Kittrell Job Corps Center in Kittrell, North Carolina, she says that she needed a purpose during retirement. After visiting a friend at the hospital, she paid for her parking and thought, “I would love to have a job like that. It looks so stress free,” she says. Her sister encouraged her to apply at McLaurin Parking and Transportation and she’s loved every moment – even when her customers are terse. “Most everyone is very friendly, but some people have bad days. You never know their story.”

When Melvin is not working downtown, which is most weekday mornings, the Vance County native focuses on being a wife, mom, and “nana” to her three grandchildren. Being a parking attendant suits Melvin, she says, because she likes meeting new people. She also feels better when she’s being useful. “It’s therapeutic to stay active and to have a reason to get up every day.” Whether it’s a simple how are you?, asking about their kids, or wishing them a good day, she says that she enjoys chatting with regulars. She lives and works by the mottos that you never really know someone’s story, and a little kindness can go a long way. “I consider each day as a new opportunity to do some good for somebody.” –Catherine Currin

photograph by MADELINE GRAY


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“People see you loading a sound system to a party, and they’re fired up.” – DJ Joe Bunngroup


oe Bunn is part of the soundtrack of Raleigh. You might have heard the local DJ at a wedding or corporate event, or perhaps at a spin class at Flywheel or Cyclebar. Bunn first got the mixing bug at age 13, playing for parties in his hometown of Wilson, North Carolina. He tried a brief stint on the drums, too, but found it wasn’t his jam. He had to get more creative if he wanted to pursue music, he says. “From an early age, I realized that since I love music but wasn’t a very good musician, this was the natural progression of things. At least I’d be able to play music.” From Wilson, Bunn’s turntables moved to teen clubs, to fraternity basements at his alma mater UNC-Chapel Hill, and then to beach bars in Wilmington. It wasn’t until he moved to

Raleigh in 2000, he says, that he realized he could spin records full time. “I started making it more than just a one-man show.” Today, Bunn DJ Company includes dozens of DJs in Charlotte; Charleston, South Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia; as well as in Raleigh. DJing is fun and games, he says, but for Bunn it’s a lifestyle, too. In addition to his gigs, he sells custom turntables and records his own weekly podcast, The PhDJ Podcast. He’s also gotten his son Colin, 12, interested in the music. Bunn is an educational speaker, and he says up next he’ll be in Las Vegas this month at the Mobile Beat conference. “I speak more about business than DJing. I’ll speak about how I find and hire talent, and how I built this business.” –Catherine Currin photograph by MADELINE GRAY




“People can step into a little corner of France.” –Laurence Kneuss, co-owner, Des Livres et Délices


hen Laurence and Phillippe Kneuss were living in the hustle and bustle of Paris in the ’90s, they would have never imagined they’d end up in Raleigh decades later, they say. The couple moved to the states after raising their three children in Paris and Burgundy, France. “Once our children were grown and creating their own lives, we decided it was time for a change for us, too. And from our very first visit last year, we felt at home in Raleigh,” says Laurence Kneuss. Now, they’re bringing pieces of their old home to their new one at their book shop and gourmet market in Five Points, Des Livres et Délices. “I’m an avid reader and have always dreamed of owning and operating a bookstore. It was a natural next step to combine the bookstore idea with Philippe’s interests in wine and gastronomy.”

The store is a francophile’s delight: imported French goods, from bottles of Bordeaux and accompanying camembert cheese to ground mustards and honeys, line the shelves. Walk through to the library, and you’ll find rows of books. The majority are in French, and those written in English sport a tiny American flag bookmark. The couple also hosts events at their specialty shop, most recently a cider tasting with galette des rois (a French puff pastry). A book club for varying levels of French speakers is in the works this month. Laurence Kneuss says she hopes the place serves a little slice of France – a bit of joie de vivre – to the Raleigh community. “We plan to offer many events, combining the bookstore and the gourmet grocery store, inspired by similar activities in France.” –Catherine Currin 2008-2010 Fairview Road photograph by MADELINE GRAY


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“So much of a special needs person’s value and uniqueness is in their personal interactions.” –Lindsay Wrege, special needs community dance group leader


.C. State freshman Lindsay Wrege has been involved with the special needs community since she can remember. Namely, since third grade, when she became fast friends with three girls with special needs in her class. “Growing up with them has taught me so much, and shaped who I am today. We still keep in touch.” Wrege’s childhood friends are part of what inspired her to organize a weekly community dance group meant for special needs people. The other part of the inspiration came from her time working in Cary at Creativity in Motion, a tutoring and dance studio for children with special needs. She began as a high school freshman; when the owner went on maternity leave at the end of her junior year, Wrege stepped up to the plate. She held classes at her house for the summer, and she and her sister, Kailey Wrege, decided they wanted to continue the classes into the fall. In 2016, the sisters’ unnamed troupe performed its first recital at the Cary Academy auditorium. Since then, they’ve performed around the Triangle, such as with a local Indian dance group and at a gala fundraising for down syndrome research. At the inaugural recital, Wrege was then the captain of the school’s dance team. She taught a modified version of

the school team’s routine to her special needs dance group for the performance. On that recital day, much of the school team was in the audience. “The girls were absolutely amazing,” she says of the group. It was the first time many of Wrege’s teammates had spent time with peers with special needs, she says. “I find that it’s so important for people to have regular interactions with them.” To facilitate regular interactions, Wrege’s dance group is routine in meeting time only: Tuesdays at the Wreges’ home dance studio. Choreography and public performances run the gamut, especially now that Wrege has passed the torch to 15-year-old Kailey Wrege. While Lindsay Wrege focuses on college, her sister draws on her own experiences: a background in synchronized ice skating, for example, motivated one recent ice routine performed alongside the high school skating team (pictured above). As Wrege studies biomedical engineering at N.C. State, she still meets with the dance group as often as possible. But the nuts and bolts are left to her sister – for now. Meanwhile, she has another on-campus extracurricular project: 321 Coffee, a pop-up coffee shop at N.C. State providing work experience for special needs adults. – Catherine Currin To learn more about Wrege’s coffee shop: photograph by MADELINE GRAY


S Book Club

with Allan Gurganus SPONSORED BY Join WALTER magazine in a discussion about Southern storytelling with novelist and essayist Allan Gurganus. The acclaimed writer and North Carolina native’s folkloric prose has been adapted into Emmy Award-winning works. He will join us fresh from a writer’s retreat for this lively exploration of his career and how it fits into modern Southern literature. Guests will enjoy brunch and cocktails provided by PoshNosh catering.

MARCH 25 AT 12:00 P.M. WHITAKER & ATLANTIC 1053 E. Whitaker Mill Road

Space is limited. For tickets and additional information, please visit



Congressman David Price with his father, Albert, and wife, Lisa, on election night 1986.


“This part of North Carolina really has been one of the most dynamic areas in the nation in terms of growth and diversification.” –Congressman David Price



ashington, D.C., is only a four-and-a-half hour drive from Raleigh, but when you’re just a regular Joe, federal government and the politicians who run it can seem lightyears away. You probably know Congressman David Price as the representative of the Fourth Congressional District, which consists of parts of Wake, Durham, and Orange counties. Price is not lightyears away: He is a long-time Chapel Hill resident, an avid gardener who likes to frequent Raleigh to see performances by the North Carolina Symphony. While he spends most of his weeks in Washington, the former UNC Morehead-Cain scholar’s home is really in the Triangle, he says, and he returns here most weekends. He’s got it down to a science – he has been in office since 1987, after all. Each weekend, after the last Congressional votes are held, Price leaves Capitol Hill to make the flight to RDU or the drive down I-95. He has a favorite home-cooked restaurant where he likes to stop for a bite to eat just outside Petersburg, but he’s still holding out for the day there’s a quick train between Raleigh and Washington, he says. He’s holding out hope sincerely, because he has had a frontrow seat to watching this region transform. Even though he has deep ties to the Triangle area, Price was born in Erwin, Ten-

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TAKE TO THE POLLS David Price casts his ballot in 1986, the year he was elected to office.


nessee, “a small town about six miles as the crow flies from the North Carolina line,” he says. Despite being student body president in high school, Price says he didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. Spurred on by the Sputnik obsession of the Cold War era, he thought he might want to be an engineer, and crossed the border to attend Mars Hill College, then a two-year junior college. He continued on to UNC-Chapel Hill, where he says his political inclinations began to take shape. Because of his Mars Hill ties, Price was elected president of the Baptist Student Union, and helped to integrate Chapel Hill restaurants and movie theaters during the Civil Rights movement. Price says he’s thankful he came of age during that time: Despite the turmoil of the mid-1960s, the decade’s political activism and progressiveness shaped the platforms he’d eventually use in office.“It changed my religious outlook, my political outlook,” Price says of working with the Civil Rights movement. “This was a moment when we needed politics, we needed government. And we made it work in this country. In retrospect, it was a remarkable time.” Working with the movement solidified Price’s interest in ethics and social action, and he decided to go to Yale Divinity School. He eventually received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale, too, and taught there for several years. When the offer came to join Duke’s political science faculty in the early ’70s, Price knew it was time to head back to North Carolina. Price worked in Durham, but chose to settle once again in Chapel Hill. Both his children went to the public schools there, and Lisa is on the board of the public library and helped establish North Carolinians Against Gun Violence. Price’s own ethical interests came into play when he was asked to help found the university’s Sanford School of

Public Policy, where he developed its ethical curriculum. Price finally took the political plunge when he was elected to the House of Representatives over 30 years ago. The Triangle area that Price represented then is much different than the one he does now. His district originally consisted of all of Randolph, Chatham, Orange, Wake, and Franklin counties; today, due to booming growth in the area, Wake alone has a greater population than one congressional district (hence why Price now represents only part of it). It’s not just the numbers that have changed, either, Price says – it’s evolved in ideals and character, too. “When I first came to North Carolina, there was maybe one Chinese restaurant and that’s it.” He adds that as a new Duke professor, he had a hard time convincing folks to relocate from other university towns to teach in the Triangle. Now Price’s constitu-

ents range from Nepali immigrants to Sri Lankans, and his district tops out at almost 800,000 people. The Triangle is not such a hard sell anymore, he says. “The area is always growing, and is much different from the rest of North Carolina in terms of economic and ethnic diversity,” he says. “You can see this in the political ebb and flow of my electoral history, but this part of North Carolina really has been one of the most dynamic areas in the nation in terms of growth and diversification.” Growth and numbers aside, given Price’s long-time ethical interests, there’s one moral dilemma that plagues him: As a UNC grad and former Duke faculty member, who does he cheer for when the two meet on Tobacco Road? Like a true politician, he deftly maneuvers away from the question. “I’ll keep my head down,” he says with a laugh. “My loyalties are divided.”

IN THE FIELD Price, center, visits Garner with members of the Garner Revitalization Association.

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STORY of a house

Warmed up minimalism meant for real life




efore there was Pinterest, there was Amity’s laptop,” says Mike Ferguson, recalling the process of their Raleigh home renovation. His wife’s folders of screenshots, magazine scans, and general inspiration are how the couple arrived at a modern architectural design, which was at first a surprise to them both. “I didn’t think I had a huge draw to modern,” Amity Ferguson says. But as she culled through websites and catalogs, the preference was unavoidable: “I just kept getting cleaner and cleaner, more and more glass – more and more modern.” The couple have added their personal touch to a classic school of thought with warm wood finishes and textured decor layered with quirky thrifted baubles. “ I have lots of weird little clus-


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INTENTIONAL SPACES This page: The Japanese maple is original to the property, and the Fergusons were careful to protect it. The dress-form-shaped sculpture at the front entrance is by close friend Jada Kellison. Opposite page: For fun, Mike Ferguson plays keyboard in local band the Balsa Gliders. The desk in Ferguson’s office was originally from his father’s insurance firm building in the ’70s; Ferguson took it with him to medical school and has kept it ever since. He used to think it was clunky but sentimental, and now he loves it. “It’s really a beautiful piece.” The desk chair used to belong to Mike’s grandmother. Daughters Ellery, 11, and Baker, 8, spend most of their time outside, Amity says, while she tinkers in the kitchen. The vast, windowed layout makes it easy to watch the girls from the main living area.


ters of stuff,” Amity says. They seem curated rather than weird – a side table made of a huge old mailbox; collected busts and sculptures next to animal skulls from a friend’s farm in Efland; little figurines of various sentimental values – and are a cozy complement to the house’s subdued tones and clean lines. The Fergusons had been living down the road before buying the home in 2008. The house is across the street from Fallon Park, and Mike says he had always envied the proximity. “It’s the ideal location right across from the park.” While walking the dogs one day, he noticed renters moving out; before long, he was on the phone with the owner making an off-the-market offer. With their dream lot secured, the couple set to reckoning with the outdated house. Given their newfound “modern sensibilities,” Mike says, a friend recommended celebrated architect Louis Cherry. Together with builder John Sanders, Cherry redesigned the house while keeping much of its original footprint. It was Sanders’s MARCH 2018 | 69

MEANT TO BE Below: A collection of found objects spruce up daughter Ellery Ferguson’s bedroom. Opposite page: Amity Ferguson found the Oly shell chandelier before construction even began. “I knew it had to be the chandelier for the house.” Through a stroke of pure luck, and thanks to impossible-to-detect minor damage, a friend was able to get it free of charge from High Point Market. The artwork is by Ollie Wagner.

first modern house and the Fergusons’ first go-round, as well; the couple says the collaborative effort was a happy one. “Louis (Cherry) nailed it,” Mike says, “and John (Sanders) had great practical insight, as did Amity. … It was the perfect combination.” The renovation took two years, and the Fergusons, along with daughter Ellery, 11 (and the’ve since added daughter Baker, 9 this month), continued living down the street until it was finished. (“We could practically watch the construction,” Amity says.) Today, the sunny final product reflects the Fergusons’ comfortable style and also suits their love of entertaining. “This has been a natural place to gather,” Mike says, especially with their close-knit group of neighbors. “It’s built for it: There are so many open spaces.” Community, space, and personal flair are all at balance here. Says Mike: “We’ll never leave this house.”


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PERFECT PROPORTIONS This page: The house features many large windows, but is remarkably private. “We never even installed the blinds,” Amity Ferguson says, because the windows face mostly private courtyards. Front-facing windows are sheltered by concrete walls that are just the right height: During construction, Amity would stand at the kitchen islands while Mike and builder John Sanders went to the road to see where the wall should be for privacy. The only visible windowed space is the upper half of the staircase, which is where dogs Clementine and Dewey usually post up and keep watch. “If there are any neighbors we don’t know, they know our dogs,” Amity says. Opposite page: The outdoor courtyard is used year-round for activities like watching the NCAA Tournament.

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WALTER profile


Former athlete Chris Combs takes on ALS with his team of family & friends



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wo years ago, Raleigh native Chris Combs, a 42-year-old husband, father of three, and former baseball player for N.C. State and the Pittsburgh Pirates, found himself struggling to fasten the top button of his dress shirt. The 6-foot-7-inch standout athlete, whose legendary lefty swing has him tied for fifth all-time in career home runs in the N.C. State Record Book, has never been lacking in strength or coordination. When he couldn’t put on a tie, he knew something was wrong. “I had elbow problems in baseball, so I thought maybe it was to do with that,” Combs says. He recalls lying in bed with his muscles twitching so badly he couldn’t sleep. A winding path of tests, cross-country visits to specialists, and misdiagnoses finally ended in an exam room at Johns Hopkins May 2, 2016, when the doctor told Combs he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Better known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, the brain disease targets motor neurons, and it’s usually fatal within 2-5 years. But don’t tell that to Combs and his wife Gena Combs, because they aren’t having it. They remain indomitable in the face


The News & Observer (HISTORIC BASEBALL); Ethan Hyman / The News & Observer (DOCTOR)

Combs was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1997, his senior year at N.C. State.

of a terminal diagnosis, rallying with eagerness and relentless hope to fight back and find a cure. In less than two years, this Raleigh couple has transformed the field of ALS research by raising millions of dollars to fund groundbreaking studies.

Immediate action Combs’s #26 baseball jersey hangs on the wall of his office at the N.C. State Wolfpack Club, where he is associate director. In 1997, his senior year at N.C. State, Combs was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth round of the amateur baseball draft. Injuries cut his professional career short, so he returned to his alma mater in 2005. Since his diagnosis, he still comes into work most days, drives, and walks; he is grateful that his ALS, which will eventually rob him of those abilities, has been slow to progress. The Wolfpack Club raises money for athletic scholarships and facilities, meaning Combs is a fundraiser by trade. Now, as seems to be a pattern in his life, he’s taken it to the next level by becoming a top fundraiser for ALS. Within days of his diagnosis, Chris and Gena Combs founded the organization Team Chris Combs to raise money for

Project ALS, a nonprofit that funds the most promising scientific research in the hunt for a cure. When they first shared the news of Combs’s ALS, the Combses were floored by the response from the Raleigh community. “Everyone wanted to do something to help,” Combs says, “so we had a meeting at our house. A buddy threw out the idea: why don’t we do an event at The Umstead?” And so began the planning for the Hope Gala, an intimate formal event featuring a live and silent auction that grossed a staggering $1 million in only a few hours. And that was just the first one in 2016, held just four months after Combs’s diagnosis. The second annual Hope Gala last September brought in another $1.1 million, thanks in part to live auction items such as a $112,000 shotgun donated by Italian arms manufacturer Beretta, as well as trips to New York and Italy. The team who runs the event, a group of the Combses’ close friends, is hopeful for continued success at the third annual Hope Gala this coming September. Battling ALS notoriously makes a person tired, but Combs says that on big nights like those, the adrenaline beats the fatigue: “The support gives you hope. It keeps you fighting.”

“Chris and his family have stepped up to fight this disease on a global scale, raising a ton of awareness and over 2 million dollars for ALS research.”

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Donations to Team Chris Combs go directly to Project ALS to fund research, and the money doesn’t just come from black-tie events. Raleigh and especially Combs’s N.C. State community have rallied behind the cause, and the Team’s work is massive. Team Chris Combs logos have been popping up at Glenwood Village Tire Pros, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, and Peter Millar, among many others. There are walks and baseball tournaments and hat sales; there are big-ticket anonymous donors; there are public displays of support from the N.C. State men’s basketball staff, who grew beards for the month of November to raise 78 | WALTER

awareness in support of Chris. “Chris and Gena’s positivity and their perseverance in this fight is inspiring,” says Mike Becker. Becker is a family friend (and Hope Gala team member), and his own father defeated the odds with a 12-year battle against ALS. “Chris is an exceptional man,” Becker says. “I always walk away a better person after spending time with him.” For all of Combs’s stardom, and despite his towering presence, he has a humble demeanor. He is soft-spoken and shirks attention. “When I once spoke with Chris about his condition, he quickly turned the conversation away from himself,” says

immediately. It’s groundbreaking work, and the direct result of the Combses’ foundation. “Team Chris Combs has enabled the establishment of (this) Project ALS Pre-Clinical Core at Columbia University, the first such effort. The Pre-Clinical Core tests the heck out of several potential ALS drugs,” says Valerie Estess, co-founder and director of research at Project ALS. “The contributions of the entire Combs family to Project ALS research have been transformative for the field.” ALS is difficult to diagnose, and even harder to treat. The disease weakens a person’s motor neurons, which send messages from the brain to muscles throughout the body. As the motor neurons weaken, so too does a patient’s ability to walk, speak, swallow, and then breathe. Project ALS’s current research focus is on slowing the progression of the disease until it can be cured. Funding from Team Chris Combs is also pushing forward critical genetics studies with implications for all forms of ALS. “With Team Chris Combs, Project ALS scientists have zeroed in on several new genes of interest,” says Estess. “Recent studies provide further evidence that ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s may have a lot in common.” This is the battle of Combs’s life, and it’s a good thing he’s tough. Sports have taught him to never let up: in college, he was known to hit home runs and pitch in the mid-90s under pressure for comeback wins against more than one ACC rival. He’s from a family with generations of friends and connections in Raleigh and at N.C. State. “My dad played baseball here at State. My uncle played football and baseball here. My dad coached summer ball, and I was a ball-boy for the basketball games,” Combs says. He’s built a big network and learned plenty of important lessons about courage and hard competition.

In search of miracles

Glenn Veasey, who has been friends with Combs for two decades (and is another Hope Gala team member). “Anyone who gets the opportunity to spend some time with Chris selfishly wants more. He’s special in that way.” Combs’s ardent fundraising is paying off: In a lab at Columbia University, doctors and researchers are testing FDA approved drugs for their potential to treat ALS. Instead of waiting 5 to 15 years for the FDA to approve a new drug, it makes more sense – especially for someone like Combs – to try to repurpose ones that are already approved for use

The community behind Combs is solid, but here’s the other thing about him, the real game-changer: There’s a fiery, welldressed woman by his side who refuses to back down from this fight. Gena Combs, co-owner and buyer for Raleigh boutique Gena Chandler, may be small, but she is a force to be reckoned with. She has marched head-on into the storm of ALS, reading, talking to doctors, learning as much as possible about things like spinal inhibitory interneurons. “She has a true talent for mobilizing people. She makes you feel part of something – one big loving family that is going to crack the ALS code,” says Estess. Soon after Combs’s diagnosis, the couple flew to New York City to meet with Valerie and Meredith Estess, the co-founders of Project ALS, whose motivation, stemming from their deeply personal connection to the disease, matched the couple’s. The Estess sisters started Project ALS 20 years ago along with their sister, Jenifer, who was diagnosed with ALS back when MARCH 2018 | 79

there was no structured effort underway to solve it. They developed a new paradigm for ALS research, giving hope to patients like Combs. Gena Combs has joined the Project ALS board, making frequent trips to New York City to discuss innovative research and strategies. “Gena Combs,” Valerie Estess says, “is one of the most effective leaders that Project ALS has seen in its twenty years.” The Combses, like any couple, have had their ups and downs. It’s not always strength and optimism when facing the realization that, for instance, Chris Combs may not see his children grow up. “We have times when we get down, when we’re struggling, but we’re always there for each other,” Chris Combs says. “I think it has strengthened mine and Gena’s relationship. Nobody knows what tomorrow brings, but for me in dealing with my diagnosis, it has made me cherish special times.” Their children, Anne Marie, 11, Ava , 7, and Christopher, 5, know their dad has ALS. “They don’t know exactly what that means,” says Gena Combs, “but even we don’t know what it means. There are so many types of ALS, so many possible futures with new medications. Miracles happen every day.” One such miracle may be underway a little closer to home, at Duke University’s ALS Clinic, founded and directed by Combs’s doctor, Duke neurologist Dr. Richard Bedlack. “We have an incredible research pipeline set up to test in 2018,

including drugs that manipulate genes, drugs that optimize brain energy production and muscle strength, and even stem cells,” says Bedlack, a renowned ALS expert, who has found 36 people with ALS who appear to have recovered significant lost function. He wants to make such reversals more common. Combs is hugely fortunate to live so close to Bedlack, who claims that Combs is the one who inspires him: “Chris and his family have stepped up to fight this disease on a global scale, raising a ton of awareness and over 2 million dollars for ALS research,” Bedlack says. “In between these efforts, they are living an amazing life together, traveling the world, and having a lot of fun.” Even with an uncertain future, Combs says his diagnosis has improved his quality of life. “It’s been amazing to see the good in people.” For the Combses, each fundraiser, no matter how small, means another piece in solving the puzzle that is ALS. “There are so many clinical trials,” says Gena Combs, “so many shots on goal, more than ever.” And soon, they have to believe, one of those shots will go in. Meanwhile, Chris has a life to live, peewee flag football games to attend, and bedtime stories to read. “Chris Combs may have ALS,” Bedlack says, “but ALS does not have him.”

“Anyone who gets the opportunity to spend some time with Chris selfishly wants more. He’s special in that way.”


The Combs family poses for a portrait. From left to right: Anne Marie, 11, Chris, Gena, Ava, 7, and Christopher, 5


then now The history of Raleigh Rose Garden


photograph by CAROLYN SCOTT


GARDEN PARTY The Raleigh Rose Garden’s varities include brigadoon, marmalade skies, Elizabeth Taylor, Reba McEntire, first kiss, glowing peace, starry night, and fragrant cloud.

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NAMING RIGHTS Nearby streets were named for board members of the N.C. Agricultural Society, hence today’s Vanderbilt and Pogue Streets.


one of Raleigh’s then-new trolley-car suburbs, Fairmont. Eventually, the City of Raleigh bought the unsold lots, including what former Raleigh mayor George Iseley described in the ’30s as “a very large hole in the ground, the old racetrack, an eyesore to the citizens and a problem to the commissioners.” For years, it remained undeveloped in the center of the up-and-coming suburbs, earning a reputation as the unbuildable plot of earth called the “Fairmont Bowl.”

Sutton’s soul In 1939, the city broke ground on an amphitheater and theater building with a landscape plan that included an arboretum to accommodate the Fairmont Bowl. Legend has it that Cantey Venable Sutton, a civic leader who spearheaded the construction of the Raleigh Little Theatre campus, had long had a rose garden in mind for the plot. In fact, however, rose beds were not part of the original plan. After Raleigh Little Theatre’s first performance in the outdoor amphitheater in June 1939, the City of Raleigh hired landscaper Arnold Peterson to supervise plantings at both buildings. The unbuildable plot became optimistically referenced in those early plans as the “sunken gardens,” but there were still no intended rose beds. For the buildings’ landscaping, Sutton requested the donations of bulbs, plants, shrubs, and trees from garden clubs and individuals across the state. “When we get through,” said Sutton in the ’40s, “we expect to have a place of which every citizen of North Carolina will be proud.” She enlisted one of North Carolina’s most celebrated gardeners, Elizabeth Lawrence of Raleigh, to supervise the plantings around the main theater. Drought killed most of the original plantings, so the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Commission considered converting the property into tennis courts. But Sutton would not let the gardens go, nor the notion of roses. She headed a formal Rose Garden Committee and successful-

courtesy Albert Barden Collection, N.C. State Archives via Raleigh Little Theatre (AERIAL); courtesy The News & Observer via Raleigh Little Theatre (DEDICATION); painting by Cantey V. Sutton


Each year, thousands of flowers bloom from early spring through late fall in the historic Raleigh Rose Garden on Pogue Street. Centered in Raleigh Little Theatre’s 6.6-acre campus, the Rose Garden sits a few blocks from Cameron Village in one direction and N.C. State University in another. This city park might feel like a delightfully lush surprise in downtown Raleigh, but it was once on the farthest outskirts of town. In fact, the garden’s history dates back to the late 19th century when, before there were roses, there were horses and racetracks, followed by an army camp and tanks. The history of this Raleigh Historic District dates to the early 1870s, when Sallie E. Brown and Timothy Lee sold parcels of land around Hillsborough Street, Horne Street, and Brooks Avenue to the North Carolina State Agricultural Society for a fairground to be relocated from east of the Capitol. Between 1873 and 1925, the N.C. State Fair occupied much of the area between the present-day Raleigh Little Theatre and thencalled State College, which formed a natural border. During the years of World War I, the site was the temporary location for Camp Polk, the only tank camp in America, where the hilly topography proved perfect for tank maneuvers. By 1920, the State Fair was back, including numerous structures – namely, not one, but two racetracks. The addition of the second track, at the suggestion of Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt of Asheville, then president of the N.C. Agricultural Society, was a notably unsustainable decision: Unable to pay off the mortgage assumed to pay for the track, the Society was forced to sell the property. It was divided up and sold as

“When we get through, we expect to have a place of which every citizen of North Carolina will be proud.”

ly campaigned the Raleigh City Council to budget funds for establishing and maintaining the garden. In 1947, landscape architect R.J. Pearse mapped out a 250-by-132-foot area for, at last, rose beds. Amos Fowler of Fowler’s Nursery planted the first rose in 1948. Between 1948 and 1950, Raleigh Parks Department gardeners planted 3,000 rose bushes with various shrubs and trees, constructed a memorial fountain and trellises, and planted azaleas from Wilmington and memorial poplars from George Watts Hill in Durham. Sutton donated the purchase of a fountain and a statue of a boy riding a swan, both designed by J. Morely Williams of New Bern. The fountain was dedicated to Sutton’s parents, former UNC president Dr. Francis P. Venable and Sally Venable. During the first year, water was

STAY A WHILE Top: The garden’s dedication ceremony on May 13, 1951. Above: A rendering by Cantey Sutton. In the garden, there is a covered shelter, picnic tables and benches, and a fountain to allow visitors a place to relax and enjoy the space.

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PUBLIC GARDEN Two young visitors to the Raleigh Rose Garden in 1948, the garden’s first year.


trucked in by barrels and distributed by hand, as there was no irrigation system. But it was a start, and what had been an “unsightly clay pit that was a tangle of red mud and weeds,” according to a 1939 News & Observer article, became one of the country’s showcase rose gardens with over 60 formal beds of roses, including floribunda, grandiflora, hybrid tea, miniature, shrub, and climbing roses. The Raleigh Rose Garden, from its very beginning the embodiment of community collaboration and pride, was dedicated and handed off to the City of Raleigh in May 1951. At the dedication ceremony, according to local newspaper articles, Sutton presented a “roseembellished map of the garden” to then-Raleigh mayor P.D. Snipes. “I put my soul and being behind the project,” Sutton said. But Sutton would also be the first to emphasize that the garden began and succeeded because of the efforts of many hands, including the Raleigh Rose Society, the Raleigh Garden Club, the Raleigh Women’s Club, the Men’s Horticultural Club, and the City of Raleigh.

courtesy The News & Observer via Raleigh Little Theatre (GIRLS); courtesy Wake County Register of Deeds via Raleigh Little Theatre (MAPS); Cynthia Viola (THEATRE)

LAY OF THE LAND Above left: Early maps show the Fairmont neighborhood circa 1926, before there was a garden. Above right: A 1920 sketch of the N.C. State Fair grounds. The idea to add two racetracks, as seen here, ended up being financially unsustainable. The land was sold and developed into Fairmont.

SCENERY The garden today is part of the Raleigh Little Theatre campus.

The garden today Since 1951, the Rose Garden has continued to bloom. In 1952, John Coffey & Son Builders built the ashlar stone and gable-roofed shelter for less than $2,000. In 1955, the city hired Rosarian Edward Anderson from London, a graduate of the Royal Horticultural Society School and head of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, to supervise the garden, assisted by Roosevelt Elliott. In 1957, Edwin G. Thurlow, founder of the N.C. State School of Design Landscape Architecture program, drew plans for the areas surrounding the formal rose beds. In 1990, the garden, as part of the RLT campus, was nominated for Raleigh Historic Property Designation status. For many years, the garden was a display destination for the All-American Rose Selection annual winner, and many select varieties still thrive in the

garden. Until 2006, there had been a few original roses planted from Sutton’s day, most prominently the silver moon climbing rose. There are no longer any of the original varieties. Where there were once show girl, farmer’s daughter, crimson glory, jiminy cricket, and nocturne, there are now brigadoon, marmalade skies, Elizabeth Taylor, Reba McEntire, first kiss, glowing peace, starry night, and fragrant cloud. The Rose Garden today still embodies the spirit of community collaboration and pride of its origins. The plot thrives from the stewardship and care of the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources department and a legion of dedicated volunteers known as the Dead-Headers. Roses bloom from May until fall’s first frost in October or November, and rose-viewing is in its prime around Mother’s Day.

As the city around it has evolved, so has the garden: There are still outdoor dramas, and now, too, festivals, family celebrations, movies, weddings, concerts, yoga classes, once even a Pokémon Go gym. Cantey Sutton, the garden’s early and tireless champion, would be proud to know that her 1940s hope to create a place of pride has indeed become a city legacy of beauty, artistry, and, yes, civic pride. To download three comprehensive maps and plant lists for the roses, the trees, and the perennials at the Rose Garden: Shelley Crisp is the former executive director of the North Carolina Humanities Council and past president of the Raleigh Little Theatre board of directors.

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at the TABLE

Hyun-woo Kim moved to the Triangle 14 years ago, bringing with him his authentic ramen and sushi recipes.


fresh CATCH Ramen and sushi at Sono

by LAURA WHITE photography by TREY THOMAS

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f you haven’t been to Sono in the past year, it’s safe to say you haven’t been to Sono. Twelve months into his post as executive chef, Hyun-woo Kim’s love of fresh fish and culinary emprise has revitalized the downtown Raleigh Japanese and sushi restaurant. The decade-old spot has gotten a face-lift, a refined menu, and a revised philosophy for slaking the cravings of sushi lovers downtown. Located inside the first floor of the historic Hudson condo building, Sono opened on Fayetteville Street in 2008, not long after the street itself had reopened to vehicle traffic. Chef Mike Lee was the owner then, and under his guidance Sono stood the test of time on a street that saw many restaurants come and go. A decade is a long time, after all. When Lee stepped away last year to focus on his Durham concepts M Sushi and M Kokko, Chef Hyun-woo Kim stepped in, and over the past year he has been quietly and lovingly making Sono his own, culling and reshaping the menu to reflect his personal and professional heritage.

Style setting Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Kim came to the U.S. 14 years ago when his sister, who was attending UNC-Chapel Hill at the time, went home for a visit. She suggested Kim and his new wife join her in the States; he sold his restaurant in South Korea and did just that. After arriving in the Triangle, Kim worked in a number of restaurants, including Mura in North Hills. Eventually, he became the sushi chef at An Cuisines, a fine-dining Asian restaurant in Cary, where he worked under James Beard Foundation semifinalist Steven Greene.

An closed in January 2017 and in February 2017, Kim went to downtown Raleigh. Taking over a restaurant can be a challenging task, Kim says. “I tried to make it my style. It had been eight years that they were running the restaurant before I came here; I could not change everything at one time.” So he set about to make gradual but impactful shifts. After the first three months, he changed the menu a little bit and let it settle. After another three months, he changed the menu a bit more. He culled the sushi list from more than 35 specialty rolls to 15 or so, introduced his own ramen recipe, and eliminated some of the appetizer dishes, like tempura shrimp, for a more limited and refined menu with higher-quality items. It seemed to be going well. Then, he changed the ramen recipe. “So many people complained after that. It was really hard,” Kim says. But he steeled himself to stay his course. “I had to speak to my style. ” Luckily, Kim is no stranger to figuring things out in media res. He earned his stripes in the kitchen, where he began working at the age of 17. He didn’t know what he was good at, or what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted to work. It turned out that kitchen life was the right one for him, and every six months to a year he would switch things up in an effort to learn as much as possible, moving from Korean to Japanese to Thai to Italian cuisine. He opened his own restaurant in Korea at the age of 25.

Small batch When he began working with sushi, Kim knew he’d found his place. In the beginning, though, he was nowhere near the fish. “When I started work, I just

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washed dishes and then washed the rice for one year – just that,” Kim says. One day a higher-level chef asked him, “Can you clean up this one?” Finally, he was able to get his hands on the fish. Flash forward 18 years, and Kim, at 39, tastes each and every fish he serves; he teaches his staff to do the same. “It’s very important. Sometimes they’ll ask me: ‘Can I use this one?’ Try it. If you don’t like it, if you don’t think it’s fresh, don’t use it,” Kim says. “Why? Because if you don’t like it, the customer won’t like it. If you don’t like it and the customer doesn’t like it, why would you use it?” And Kim isn’t afraid to send the fish back if it isn’t up to his standards; he’d rather “86” (restaurant-speak for nix) an item than serve something he doesn’t consider up to par. One recent weekend, for instance, he received an order of two yellowtail but he didn’t like one of them, so he returned it. Before the weekend was up, the restaurant ran out, but serving the fish was never even a question. “There’s no choice,” Kim says. Kim’s head-to-tail approach to seafood guides his philosophy, and he sources the freshest possible sushi-grade fish, avoiding frozen at all costs. While you can quite literally taste Sono’s dedication to fresh fish, the restaurant also offers a comprehensive lunch and dinner menu inspired by Kim’s own culinary heritage, including his twicefried Korean fried chicken made with 15 spices, pan-fried dumplings, and tableside Ishiyaki BBQ. And about that ramen. During his two decades in the kitchen, this is the recipe Kim has been perfecting (just last year he did some serious reconnaissance work in Japan). Sono now offers five variations of the soup based on two house-made

broths: a pork-based Tonkotsu, and the pork, chicken, and katsuo (skipjack tuna) Shoyu. The Tonkotsu ramen is a milky broth made with black garlic oil and cuts of tender pork chashu floating in a nest of curly ramen noodles. It is salty and savory, and just the thing for a chilly day. The Spicy Miso ramen is a zesty spin on the Tonkotsu, bright red in color, with just the right amount of heat. The ramen broth is made fresh in 20-gallon batches every four or five days; the Tonkotsu is a 16-hour process, while the Shoyu cooks for about five. Sono sells over a thousand bowls of ramen a month, but Kim plans to keep the menu options limited.“If we had more kinds, it is hard to control the quality.” And that quality is critical for Chef Kim and his crew. While they have been refining and fine-tuning the food menu, they’ve also been working to drastically expand their alcohol selection. They now offer one of the region’s largest saké programs at 38 bottles, both small and large format, and their wine list grew from 6 bottles to 90, with 15 available by the glass. The last Tuesday of every month you can get a taste of all these bottles at their Wine & Saké Social; from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., $10 gets you a sample of one or two wines, several sakés, and snacks. Over the years, Kim has worked across a host of different environments. He says the switch to Sono has been one of the most exciting. He revels in the big-city vibe, the casual elegance, and the diversity of his downtown guests. After work, he can often be found walking the streets and people watching, exploring his community; he’s excited to see where Raleigh’s growth takes the restaurant, takes him.

Shown opposite: Artist Hayley Serrano painted the mural in two weeks while visiting her family, who live locally (Serrano lives in Canada.)

The ramen broth is made fresh in 20-gallon batches every four or five days; the Tonkotsu is a 16-hour process, while the Shoyu cooks for about five. MARCH 2018 | 93

Recipes While chef Hyun-woo Kim’s ramen recipe is a sacred secret, here are two Sono-inspired appetizers to make. Poke is a fresh raw fish salad and yakitori a savory traditional marinated chicken dish.

Ahi tuna poke For poke: 2 tablespoons dry seaweed 3 ounces sashimi-grade ahi tuna, diced 2 tablespoons shallots, chopped 2 tablespoons green onion, thinly sliced ¼ cup cucumber, diced 2 tablespoons spicy poke sauce (recipe below) 1 teaspoon tobiko (fish roe)

Yakitori 1 pound chicken thighs, diced into 1-inch portions 7 ounces (14 tablespoons) soy sauce ¾ cup mirin (Japanese rice wine, available at most Asian markets and specialty grocery stores) 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon black pepper ½ cup saké 3 cloves garlic, chopped 5 green onions, diced 1 small knob ginger, diced 8 bamboo skewers 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

For spicy sauce: 1 cup soy sauce ½ cup honey

Marinate chicken: Whisk together 6 tablespoons soy sauce, ¼ cup mirin, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add chicken thighs and marinate overnight.

2 tablespoons salt ½ cup Gochujang (red chili paste) 2 tablespoons sesame oil ¼ cup Togarashi (Japanese spice mixture available at most Asian markets and in the spice section of specialty grocery stores) Soak dry seaweed in cold water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the spicy poke sauce: Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Chop soaked seaweed. Combine freshly chopped seaweed, tuna, shallots, green onion, and cucumber to a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons spicy poke sauce and stir until well combined. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with tobiko. Serves 2 - 4 as an appetizer


Make teriyaki sauce: Add remaining soy sauce and mirin (½ cup each), sake, garlic, green onion, and ginger to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, then allow to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, soak bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes. Set oven broiler to high. Skewer marinated chicken pieces and arrange on a sheet pan. Brush skewers with teriyaki sauce and put under broiler for 1-2 minutes. Remove skewers from heat, turn over, brush with more sauce, and repeat for a total of 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to serving plate and top with sesame seeds. You can serve additional teriyaki sauce for dipping, if you’d like. Makes 8 skewers

Adobe Stock

½ cup fish sauce

QUENCH QUITE AN UPGRADE Chef Coleen Speaks serves a variation of coffee, cocktails, and small plates at newly opened Hummingbird on Whitaker Mill Road. Hummingbird was formerly the bathroom at A&P Grocery’s loading dock.

photographs by CARA POWELL


Cocktail bar and coffee shop join forces in an unexpected location




etween the sunny yellow bar stools and ample natural light, you’d probably never guess that Hummingbird, the new coffee shop-restaurant-bar on Whitaker Mill Road near downtown Raleigh, was formerly a men’s bathroom. There’s evidence, though, in the seafoam green tiles that are chipped in places; in the cracked unfinished concrete walls; and in the exposed galvanized pipes connecting bar to kitchen. The building, Dock 1053, was formerly the produce warehouse for A&P grocery stores and then Winn-Dixie. Refurbished today to include a co-working space, brewery, distillery, and modern furniture store, Hummingbird’s corner location is tight and it’s run like a ship. It’s also bursting with color and texture. Chef and owner Coleen Speaks says the place inspired its own name: It is beautiful, small, and efficient, just like a Hummingbird. Speaks is a self-taught chef, she says, with years of experience honed in the kitchens of restaurants in New Orleans. She came to Raleigh in 2000 and worked at local establishments like Bloomsbury Bistro and Enoteca Vin before opening her catering company, PoshNosh in 2008. All the while, “I’ve always known I wanted to have a restaurant,” Speaks says. “This

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DINE ALL DAY Above top: The portrait room mixes old and new, like sleek leather and refurbished walls. Above bottom left: Chef and owner Coleen Speaks


(Hummingbird) has been in my head for 25 years. It’s an extension of my catering (approach). We’re serving food that you would expect to get in a bar, but stepped up a notch.” The menu includes, for instance, ricotta fritters, chargrilled oysters, and buttermilk fried quail. Hummingbird’s setting is likewise what you would expect to get in a bar, but stepped up a notch. The bar’s adjoining portrait room is a moody, quirky spot with mismatched paintings hanging on dark refurbished walls. And it is one of the only places in Raleigh open 8 a.m. - midnight, Monday to Saturday. (Cocktails all day, Speaks notes, lends a “very New Orleans vibe.”) The ambitious hours have been well received: Since its January opening, Hummingbird is nearly always lively. Speaks says she is thrilled to have a space that makes people feel at home and linger, whether it be for breakfast, lunch, or a

nightcap. In the spirit of going big or going home, down the back hall of Hummingbird is Speaks’s other new endeavor, event space Whitaker & Atlantic. W&A is open to Hummingbird guests on vacant weekends, but more regularly used for receptions, pop-ups, and gatherings. Speaks says she’s proud of her female-owned business, a pride she emphasizes with cheeky drink titles like “Someone to Watch Ovary,” and with floral inspiration, from a drink’s pink shade to an edible flower garnish. Take, for instance, the Petal Guru. A mixture of gin and rose water, when stirred into vintage glassware from Speaks’s extensive collection, the drink is as pleasing to look at as it is to consume. Head bartender Tal Collins, who moved to Raleigh two years ago and got his start at Fox Liquor Bar downtown, says he’s excited about Hummingbird’s evolving, intimate environment. He feels

PETAL GURU Ingredients: 1 ½ ounces Durham Distillery Conniption Navy gin 1 ½ ounce dry vermouth

encouraged to create and experiment, he says. “Coleen wants things to keep rolling. She’s the type of person who says ‘let’s make it happen’ when there’s a need for something new.” The Petal Guru is a new, floral take on a gin martini. Using Durham Distillery’s Conniption Gin, it’s a liquor-forward mix with vermouth and a dash of Peychaud’s bitters to give it a subtle, pale pink shade. Fragrant rose water is stirred in, and the vintage coupe glass topped with an edible flower. The drink is a study in contrasts: fresh and delicate, but potent and spirit-forward. Much like the place where it’s served. “Because it took me so long, I got to iron it all out,” Speaks says of Hummingbird. “When it opened, it felt like it’s been here forever.”

One dash rose water One dash Peychaud’s bitters In a mixing glass, add gin, vermouth, rose flower water, and bitters. Stir with ice and strain into coupe glass. Garnish with dried rose petal.

BRIGHT AND AIRY Clockwise from top left: Event space Whitaker & Atlantic; the Petal Guru served in vintage glassware; Tal Collins, Hummingbird’s head bartender.

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ARTIST in studio

King Nobuyoshi Godwin’s bright, layered paintings


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King Nobuyoshi Godwin’s mother, Yuko Nogami Taylor, helps organize his art business, including pricing the pieces affordably. Most of Godwin’s work ranges from $65 - $85, but his larger canvases can be as much as $700.

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right colors teeming with numbers fill the canvases that hang throughout the small but cozy studio with slanted ceilings. Two different songs from completely different genres play simultaneously – on a phone and through the speakers behind him. In the center sits King Nobuyoshi Godwin, silently painting as his aide and parents look on. It is a room full of unlikely but perfect pairs: colors with numbers, music on top of music, and an artist with autism. As Godwin finishes painting a house on a recent weekday morning, he says it is having an “OK day” because “it is raining.” Next, he begins working on a blue canvas with a seahorse which is “71”. Godwin has painted hundreds of canvases, has his work in several retail spaces in Raleigh, and was awarded a merit award at last year’s Artsplosure.

As his mother explains, Godwin’s autism isn’t a disability but an ability when it comes to his art. At just two years old, Godwin was diagnosed with autism. Now, at 26, he lives independently in an apartment and works as an artist. His life as an adult has structure and routine, because this is how he likes it best. Each day starts at 7 a.m. with a movie and breakfast. Godwin’s full-time aide, Lori Morgan, assigned by the Autism Society of North Carolina, arrives daily at 10 a.m. On Mondays through Thursdays, they go to his studio at Moondog Fine Arts to paint for three hours. The afternoons have a bit more variety, but still follow a routine. Mondays are for laundry, Tuesdays and Thursdays are for swimming. He cooks his own meals, watches a lot of movies, constantly listens to music, and loves to paint. Growing up, he attended public school with special programming, which was available to him until he was 21. From there, he went to UNC-Greensboro for one year to attend a program called Beyond Academics, which supports students with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they learn how to live independently and explore potential career options. Godwin was told his possible job choices included sorting items at a thrift store or stacking cans in a grocery store. Godwin’s mom, Yuko Nogami Taylor, also a painter, asked Godwin, “Would you like to do that?” No, Godwin felt it would be too easy. Wanting to find something that would challenge and excite him, they set out to figure out what he could do. After Taylor offered several options, Godwin chose painting. Together they went to a bookstore and scoured magazines as she asked him what style he wanted to paint.

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Aide Lori Morgan, Yuko Nogami Taylor, and artist King Nobuyoshi Godwin showcase a favorite piece (“The bird is having a great day because it has pretty legs and flying above the cloud 71”) that is hanging in the home of N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson.


He paints every day with the same level of enthusiasm because he truly loves to make others happy with his art.”

Godwin picked something with bright colors and repeating shapes (far different from Taylor’s own style). He started small with colors and circles. One day, Taylor told her son that he needed to put feelings in his paintings. That’s when the numbers started to appear. While Godwin does speak, he typically only responds with two or three words. It was once Godwin started painting numbers at the age of 22 that his parents began to understand, for the first time, that Godwin’s thoughts and emotions are best felt and expressed through numbers and colors. Upon first glance at a piece by Godwin, the numbers may seem more like texture in the painting. If you look closer, you will see that every inch of the canvas is covered in painted numbers. The numbers are not based on a linear scale rating his feelings from bad to good; they are based on a pattern and a connec-

tion, known only to Godwin, between both the colors and numbers. Purple and yellow are the happiest. Orange is positive. Numbers 11, 15, and 71 are often used and are all good. Red is not so good. And seven is bad – written as 07, it is not to be confused with 77 repeated on the painting, which is good. “You can really see his humor in some of the paintings and the titles that he gives the paintings,” says his father, Thomas Taylor Jr. Godwin’s parents say their son’s art has helped them experience more of his personality. They understand Godwin’s perspective better now through his paintings. Godwin has a specific creative process and a routine when it comes to his art. He readies the canvas with an initial coat of brightly colored acrylic paint. These color schemes were not taught to him; he knows them and feels them intuitively. He speeds

up the drying process by using a hair dryer, eager to move on to the next stage. In another bright color, Godwin meticulously draws the animal, plant, or object to be the subject of the piece. Every line is delicate and precious, painted until it “feels good” to him. Many of the animals or objects have faces, but usually with mouths drawn in straight lines. Morgan says she thinks this is because those with autism have a harder time reading facial expressions for emotions. Then, Godwin uses bright Japanese paint pens to number everything, sometimes using different numbers throughout different sections of the canvas. He frames and names each piece of artwork before it goes up for sale. “He paints every day with the same level of enthusiasm because he truly loves to make others happy with his art. All of his creations are a testament to the type of person that he is,” says Morgan. MARCH 2018 | 105

Godwin relies on the support of those around him, including his mother, pictured above, who is also an artist. She offers creative advice, such as suggesting materials and paints that best suit his work.

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“King has the kindest soul and his mere presence will light up a room.” As soon as he arrives at his studio each day, Godwin starts listening to several different sources of music. Whether at home, in the car, or in his studio, he plays songs in multiples, listening to several songs from different styles and genres at the same time. Sometimes he has up to five devices playing simultaneously. Instead of sounding like overstimulated noise, it truly sounds like a new form of music. Music is not only a part of Godwin’s creative process but also a significant part of his life and his upbringing. His father is a jazz drummer, whereas Godwin plays Taiko drums as a part of a ceremonial Japanese drum performance group. And his memory is uniquely tied to music.

Godwin remembers exactly what situation happened with a specific song, even with a library of thousands of songs to choose from. There is a reason Godwin’s work looks completely original. While Godwin may not often speak verbally, art is how he expresses himself. His autism shapes his paintings with his unique perspective and voice. At 26, both of his parents say Godwin is proud of who he is and knows his strengths. The painting is simply evidence. As his father says, “He doesn’t have to say much to make a great impact.” Godwin’s work can be found locally at HandmeUps, Lucky Tree, Moondog Fine Arts, and Read With Me. His newest collection is on display at Artspace through April 28.

THE UMSTEAD.COM | CARY, NC | 866.877.4141


courtesy First Fruits Farm

CUCUMBER GLEANING Jason Brown hung up his NFL uniform and returned to his home state to purchase First Fruits Farm. The farm grows and then donates crops like sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and watermelons.

CALLED to CULTIVATE Jason Brown grows food to donate, not to sell by IZA WOJCIECHOWSKA


very fall, Jason Brown welcomes thousands of volunteers to First Fruits Farm in Louisburg, North Carolina, who roam the farm’s 20 acres plucking sweet potatoes out of the freshly plowed earth. In this way, Brown collects hundreds of thousands of pounds of the crop – and every last one goes straight into the community. First Fruits is a donation-first farm, which means that the priority is not to sell produce, but to give the first crops of the season away. To date, Brown has donated more than 800,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to those in need across the state.

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Jamie Thayer-Jones (FARM)

GOLDEN HOUR Jason Brown’s First Fruits Farm relies on volunteers to harvest their produce.

“If we’re truly going to seek change, it’s got to come from our hearts, and that’s what’s made all the difference.”– Jason Brown

First Fruits Farm works with more than 100 community organizations, including the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, the Society of St. Andrew, and numerous local churches, soup kitchens, and food banks to provide hunger relief to thousands of people. But Brown’s path to farming, and to good works, was unconventional. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he was a star football player, he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. In 2009, he signed with the St. Louis Rams, where he became the highest-paid center in the NFL. Three years later, Brown, a devout Christian, felt a calling; he decided to leave the football field to tackle issues of

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food insecurity in his home state instead. Without any real farming experience, he and his wife, Tay, a dentist, purchased First Fruits Farm in 2012 and got to work. “People often say to me, ‘If you had continued playing football, you could have made millions of dollars and purchased more food and given it away than what you’re doing now,’” Brown says. “But you can throw money at problems and they’re still going to persist. If we’re truly going to seek change, it’s got to come from our hearts, and that’s what’s made all the difference.” Sweet potatoes are First Fruits Farm’s main crop because they’re nutrient-rich and easy to cultivate, harvest, and store. Brown also grows cucumbers, watermel-

on, and corn, and he hopes to soon start growing muscadine grapes, which have been shown to have high antioxidant content and significant health benefits, he says. This spring, the farm will also reprise its Sow a Seed program, which saw success in 2015 and encourages people who may never have farmed before to grow their own vegetables. Brown packaged seeds for corn, watermelon, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes to mail to anyone who requested them and sent seeds to hundreds of people across the United States and abroad. “The idea is if Jason Brown, some kid from the country who plays a little bit of football, can grow some food, then you can do it too,” he says.

Jamie Thayer-Jones (PORTRAIT); The News & Observer (POTATOES/GLOVES)

Brown grew up in Henderson, an hour north of Raleigh, where his father was a landscapist and taught Brown to mow lawns and plant trees. Though his father had himself grown up on a farm, he left home at 18 and never looked back at that lifestyle. Now, Brown is learning that farming is a completely different experience from landscaping, but one that’s been very rewarding. He says he wouldn’t trade it for anything – even his football career. When he reflects on his decision to leave football – at a time when his three dream teams were ready to sign him, at that – he credits it largely to his faith and conversations he had with God, who called him to help others. But at the same time, he was also

coming to terms with personal tragedy, which eventually became an inspiration, he says. When Brown was 20, his brother, Lunsford Bernard Brown II, was killed at age 27 in Afghanistan, where he was serving with the U.S. Army. “When I turned 27,” Brown says, “I was at the peak of my game, the peak of my career, financially successful.” But he woke up that morning of his birthday and found himself having a quarter-life crisis and comparing his own life to Lunsford’s. “There was no comparison,” he says. “He had lived a life of service, and I was living a life of fortune, fame, and entertainment. So I just really began to reflect on what I learned when I was a child growing up in church: Love thy neighbor. But what does that look like?”

GREATER PURPOSE First Fruits Farm donated its first harvest of sweet potatoes in 2014. Above, Jason Brown repurposes his NFL equipment to work on his 1,000-acre Louisburg farm.

Brown decided to follow the calling and honor his brother’s life, and says it was one of the hardest decisions he’s ever had to make. Learning to farm and maintaining the crops has not been easy, either. He and Tay run the farm with only the help of volunteers, and they’re raising six children, with a seventh on the way. “It’s been a very interesting journey,” Brown says, “but it’s really turned into something beautiful.”

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Here’s how to support First Fruits Farm’s efforts locally. Society of St. Andrew of the Triangle The ecumenical nonprofit seeks to “meet people’s hungers,” physical and spiritual, by providing volunteer opportunities related to hunger relief. The group’s volunteer-driven Gleaning Network coordinates with statewide farmers and food providing agencies to act as a go-between. Groups from the Triangle regularly volunteer at First Fruits Farm, and also deliver sweet potatoes to shelters and kitchens locally.

N.C. Study Center, Chapel Hill The Christian nonprofit next to UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus works to activate and empower college students. Jason Brown donates 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to the group’s annual Yam Jam in February, among other collaborations throughout the year. Volunteer directly You can sign-up for time to volunteer at First Fruits Farm most any time of the year. There are opportunities to harvest sweet potatoes, and also: greenhouse work, seed planting, harvesting crops year-round, fishing derbies to harvest fish for donation, meat processing, carpentry and farm upkeep work.


3915 Beryl Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607 919-572-2870 Shop Monday through Saturday 1O a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

Juli Leonard/ The News & Observer (POTATOES)



photos courtesy Go Ape USA


FAMILY FUN Above: Sara Parks and her son Braxton conquer the Fuji crossing.

LEARNING the ROPES Finding perspective at one of Raleigh’s treetop courses by JAMES HATFIELD

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AERIAL VIEWS Right: Leah Kipps enjoys one of the many ziplines at Go Ape.


t the back of a gravel parking lot in Blue Jay Point County Park is the log-cabin headquarters of Go Ape treetop adventure course. The quaint wooden hut is about the size of a beachside frozen ice stand, and it has a drive-through style window in its front. It reminds me of refreshing cool drinks during relaxing summer days on the beach. Unbeknownst to me, it is actually the launchpad of a grand undertaking, a far cry from relaxing on the beach. I recently visited the site in search of fresh air and a bit of adventure. I found both in spades, all tucked away in the North Raleigh park.

The experience As soon as my companions and I arrive at Go Ape, I hear the joyful cheers of children, plus a couple of pitiful wails from adults on zip lines; I knew we were in the right place. I should mention that I’ve always been afraid of heights. My hope is that this excursion will cure my fear via overexposure. This screaming, however, does not help. I steel myself and keep moving forward. Luckily, the attentive staff pays attention to party allegiances: If you, like me, attempt this with your friends and family, the staff will stagger your course set-off accordingly. This further assuages my fears, as at least no strangers will witness any profound lacks of balance among the trees. The adventure begins with a 30-minute in-depth safety briefing, during which we practice walking along a wire strung between two trees. For this demonstration the wire was only four feet off of the ground. Next up: the 50-foot course. During the safety briefing, I had to ask: Has anyone ever fallen? Thankfully, the answer was a resounding “no.” This

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Each site starts with a ladder from the base of a towering tree to the starting platform. might be because, also thankfully, the instructors will coach you from the ground throughout the course if you need help. The security briefing is so clear and concise that you have all the tools you need to complete the course. For me, they were still moral support from below. Primed and ready, we set out on the first of the course’s five segments, called “sites.” Each site starts with a ladder from the base of a towering tree to the starting platform. Advancing to the next tree’s platform is where the challenges lie. There are four to five different obstacles at each site, from a single tightrope style wire to traverse (much scarier than that four-foot-elevation safety demonstration),

to a series of X-shaped wooden swings in a row that you must leap-lunge-hop along. Each site’s reward is a jaunty zip line ride to the ground. After the cheers of accomplishment subsided, we dusted the wood bark out of our shoes and walked along the trail to the next site. With each new site, the route from ladder to zip line becomes increasingly more challenging. By the time I approached Site Five, something like shimmying through a hole drilled in the middle of a suspended wooden platform, fireman’s-pole-style, felt like business as usual. I felt confident, ready to finish this course strong. And then I saw the net. Before me, about 30 yards out, was a giant net of ny-

OTHER OPTIONS There are a few local places to test your treetop aptitude:

lon rope hanging like a sheet on a clothesline. There was no structure bridging the gap between me and the net, only a single thick cable dangling at the end of the platform with a giant clip secured to it. A sign next to my head encouraged me to utilize the “Tarzan Swing,” and its accompanying pictorial guide showed a silhouette clipping to the single dangling cable, and then climbing the net. Just in case I misunderstood: “How do I get to the net?” I asked our coach below. She looked up and smiled, “Just…walk off.” The time for conquering fear was now. I held my hands and started up to jump – and then, honestly, I clung to the rope for dear life, screaming pitifully.

SKY HIGH Brent Hazelett and Ashleigh Groff, above, suspend from Jamor Crossing.

I scaled up the net, pulled myself onto the next platform, and continued to the last zip line stretching across the entire parking lot. As I glided over the parked cars I could see the entire course and its horseshoe shape, and how it doesn’t end far from where it began. I really did ease my fears by facing them, by tackling these obstacles. It might be in the name of fun and adventure, but this ropes course has solid life lessons to offer, too.

Go Ape Open March – December; $38 ages 10 - 15, $58 ages 15 and up; 3200 Pleasant Union Church Road; locations/north-carolina/raleigh TreeRunner Adventure Park Open March - December; $39 ages 13 and under, $44 ages 14 and up; 12804 Norwood Road; City of Durham Courses There are low and high ropes options; $25 - $60; ropes-courses Bond Park Open by reservation only; $35 - $75; 801 High House Road, Cary;

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WALTER events

WALTER’s Book Club with



he writer Allan Gurganus recently revisited essays he’d authored in the ’70s, two articles from his time at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop that were published in The Atlantic. This was a treat, as Gurganus had lost his scans of the pieces, and they’re both pre-online archives, so a former student went to the Library of Congress to dig them up. Gurganus says they were a pleasure both to receive and to reflect on. “I was greedy with language, so eager to please – but they were good. If a student turned that in to me today, I think I’d be ecstatic. It’s the kind of thing you can say when you’re 70.”

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When you’re 70, sure, and also when your repertoire includes five novels and dozens of essays, most of them award-winning (and those are just the published ones); when it includes faculty positions at Stanford, Duke, and Sarah Lawrence, and time spent teaching at the Michener Center at the University of Texas-Austin and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. But Gurganus is ever a student and a teacher, an observer and a participant. Revisiting his own decades-old work was timely, Gurganus says, because he’s neck-deep in writing his next novel, set to publish in 2019. Gurganus will take a break to discuss his career and his upcoming novel with

Allan Gurganus at his home in Hillsborough.

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Allan Gurganus on the front porch of his historic Victorian house in Hillsborough.

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All remains arguably Gurganus’s best-known title. His subsequent novels and articles – typically lyrical, Southern, dark, witty, folkloric – have certainly not lost any momentum. WALTER readers at a book club event March 25. The lunch at Whitaker & Atlantic is sure to be lively and candid, as the new book is entitled The Erotic History of a Country Baptist Church. History has been a longtime “back-burner” project, Gurganus says, the one he plugs away at and sets aside, then returns to before setting aside again. The book is set in Falls, North Carolina, a fictional small town featured in Gurganus novels, and follows one small-town baptist church from inception to modern-day. If the title is any suggestion, the perspective is bound to be sardonic. It is inspired by regional history, but, its author insists, fictional. “Nothing is entirely imagined, and nothing is entirely true.” An imaginative sensibility has guided much of Gurganus’s work. The Rocky Mount, North Carolina native went to college to study painting before serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Books kept him company on navy ships. So when he returned home he took to studying and then teaching creative writing, instead. His first novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, was published in 1989; it was on The New York Times Best Sellers list for eight months, won the Sue Kaufman Prize

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from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was adapted into both a made-for-TV play and a one-woman Broadway show. The novel remains arguably Gurganus’s best-known title. His subsequent novels and articles – typically lyrical, Southern, dark, witty, folkloric – have certainly not lost any momentum. Nor has his pace slowed. Since the early ’90s, soon after Oldest Living was published, Gurganus has lived in Hillsborough, North Carolina. He writes from 6:30 or 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., six days a week. Prior to WALTER’s Book Club, Gurganus will retreat to Yaddo, a creative community in Saratoga Springs, New York. He hopes to join us creatively refreshed, and we’ll all settle in for an afternoon of dialogue and storytelling. “I should have some characteristic pages of the new novel to read aloud,” Gurganus says, “Coming attractions.” –J.A. Tickets are $75 each and include a threecourse lunch with wine pairings. A selection of Gurganus’s books will be available for purchase and to be signed by the author. To buy tickets and learn more, please visit To learn more about Allan:

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Celebrate women across generations at this afternoon of empowerment and community. Inspired by WINnovation, local role models will share encouragement meant especially for young women, but sure to resonate with every age.

May 6 The Umstead Hotel & Spa Limited tickets available. For more information, please visit SUPPORTED BY

Sara Coffin Photography


CATCH Me at the Casino event at The Merrimon-Wynne House

PARTIES The Whirl is WALTER’s roundup of local happenings. From store openings to big galas, fundraisers, intimate gatherings, and everything in between, The Whirl has got it covered.

Submissions for upcoming issues are accepted at WALTER’s website:

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CATCH Me at the Casino Fifth Annual Holt Brothers Playoff Party Go Red for Women on the Runway VAE Awesome Foundation Party Savor Sweeter Dreams Dinner Triangle Wine Experience Grand Gala A Winter’s Tale Art Pop-up @LCA Historic Oakwood Samedi Gras

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Breezy sophistication and fine quality women’s apparel and accessories.


Allison Conley, Emily Cutts

Linda Noble, Sally Noble, Angela Holland Trul

Allison Shores, Nick Nance, Natalie Roseman, Gretta Handley, Jessica Wright, Molly Hamlett, Zak Hamlett, Glenn Davis, Maryann Davis

Allison Conley, Mark Conley, Grace McIntrye, Ben Davis

WWW.SHOPCOPPERPENNY.COM 919-366-5000 4120-115 MAIN AT NORTH HILLS ST, RALEIGH @copperpennyraleigh

Mary Allison Raper, Anna Hosea, Ellen O’Connor

DJ Joe Bunn, Shadowbox dancers from Elevate

Tula Summerford, Larisa Lotz

Sara Coffin Photography

CATCH ME AT THE CASINO Parlor Blow Dry Bar partnered with The Merrimon-Wynne House to host a Studio 54 themed casion night Nov. 17. The celebration raised $21,000 to benefit Project CATCH. Project CATCH advocates and provides services for children experiencing homelessness, and serves more than 300 homeless children ages 18 and under in Wake County each year.

Terrence and Torry Holt with Washington Redskins cheerleaders

f8 Photo Studios

Revelers with Ms. Wuf

FIFTH ANNUAL HOLT BROTHERS PLAYOFF PARTY The Holt Brothers Foundation hosted its annual Playoff Party at Reynolds Coliseum Jan. 21. Over 700 attendees watched the NFC and AFC Championship games with football stars Torry and Terrence Holt. The event featured celebrity athletes, the NFL’s First Ladies of Football, music, games, food, and drink. The Holt Brothers Foundation was founded in memory of Torry and Terrence’s mother, Ojetta Holt-Shoffner, and supports programs for children with a parent with cancer.


MARCH 8-25, 2018 Fletcher Opera Theater | 919-719-0900 800-982-2787


Frank Thompson, Brent Simoneaux, Marjorie Hodges, Brandon Cordrey, Martha Thorn, Craig McDuffie, Charman Driver, Linda Noble, Dominique Bischof

Margaret Rotman

Ellen Hall

Kathy Monahan

GO RED FOR WOMEN ON THE RUNWAY Ladies living at The Cardinal at North Hills, a vibrant senior living community in Raleigh, were part of the Go Red For Women fashion show Feb. 2. Seventeen residents modeled outfits provided by three local boutiques: Marta’s, J. McLaughlin, and Charlotte’s Inc. During the event, held on National Wear Red Day to increase awareness for heart disease, The Cardinal at North Hills accepted donations for the American Heart Association. Dr. Velukumar Nanjagowder, an expert in geriatric medicine from Durham, was the keynote speaker.

Catherine Boyette

Marie Best

Sheila Sullivan

VAE AWESOME FOUNDATION PARTY The VAE Foundation celebrated the re-launch of its mission to fund a $1,000 project each month and a new partnership to be housed under VAE Raleigh. The event was attended by the Awesome Raleigh-Durham Trustees, past grant recipients, this year’s first project awardees, and others who envision awesome things happening in the Triangle.



SPRING OPEN HOUSE Saturday, April 14th




Marc Ridel Creative (FASHION), Kyle Hazard (VAE)


Mary Catherine Freeman

SAVOR SWEETER DREAMS DINNER Scott Crawford of Crawford & Son Restaurant hosted a Savor Sweeter Dreams dinner Dec. 3 to support The Green Chair Project Sweeter Dreams bed program. Chefs Scott Crawford, Matt Kelly, and Ashley Christensen donated their culinary skills. Thanks to the support of the chefs and guests, The Green Chair Project was able to deliver 78 new beds to Wake County students that do not have a bed of their own. Green Chair Executive Director Jackie Craig said, “This event exemplifies the impact that we can have when we gather together as a community to put ideas into action. It inspires us to dream bigger and continue fighting for the day when every child in Wake County will have a bed of their own.” Matt Kelly, Scott Crawford, Ashley Christensen

Jackie Craig, Beth Smoot




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Scott Crawford, Gov. Roy Cooper

Eliza Kraft Olander, Ashley Christensen

Kate Pope

Martha Derbyshire, Adam Derbyshire

Mark Rein, Don Weaver, Tara Rein

Frankie Antonelli

Barbara Zalcberg, Abel Zalcberg

Oz Nichols, Mike Nichols


TRIANGLE WINE EXPERIENCE GRAND GALA & AUCTION Triangle Wine Experience celebrated 25 years supporting Frankie Lemmon School Feb. 3 at Village Park Place. Eighteen premier chefs, including Ashley Christensen, Vivian Howard, and Scott Crawford, brought the finest culinary offerings to pair with wines from more than seventy of the finest wines from around the world.

Amy Edwards (wINTER); Elizabeth Galecke (POP-UP)

Sherry Forbes, Jeff Forbes

Melissa Long, Tim Wilkinson

Courtney Weller, Lisa Roberds, Heather Brown, Jenny Ross, Kate Shoffner, Gretchen Deaton, Julia Beam, Marnie Cohen

Ken Perry, Latisha Dutch

Sydney Macnabb

Bob Johnson, Jimmy Wayne, Luanne Johnson

A WINTER’S TALE A Winter’s Tale gala Jan. 27 at the Raleigh Convention Center benefitted the Methodist Home for Children. Country music star Jimmy Wayne performed for the 600 guests. Wayne is a best-selling author and an advocate for children in the foster care system.

Carmen Ritz, Cara Cartee

Renae Hannon, Brian Hannon, Joe Mann

Carla Brady, Chris Brady

Kim Walawender, Dodie Renfer

Martin Beam, Jerod Cohen

Louis Cherry, Marsha Gordon

ART POP-UP @LCA Louis Cherry Architecture hosted its first monthly Sunday afternoon Art Pop-Up Feb. 5. The firm plans to feature rotating local artists selling their work in LCA’s newly restored 1900s corner grocery store in Historic Oakwood. The first event featured jewelry by metalsmith Claire Ashby as well as photography by Elizabeth Galecke and Louis Cherry.

Jerry Phelps, Elizabeth Galecke

Eric Cecka, Jeff Green, Claire Ashby

Claire Ashby, Louis Cherry, Elizabeth Galecke

Linda Corbin, Cheryl Gottschall

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Linda Corbin, Madonna Phillips, Ronnie Ellis, Mary Boone

Linda Corbin, Madonna Phillips, Marsha Gordon

Kay Coleman, Brenda Weeks, Marsha Gordon, Madonna Phillips, Martha Bader

HISTORIC OAKWOOD SAMEDI GRAS Neighbors and friends of Historic Oakwood gathered to celebrate Fat Tuesday Feb. 10. Brightly costumed revellers did laissez les bon temps rouler along Bloodworth Street, at Louis Cherry Architecture on the corner of Bloodworth and Lane Streets, and at Sidestreet Restaurant.

Ronnie Ellis, Chris Crew, Barry Kitchener, Matthew Brown, Glenn Sappie


Across 4. NCMA is hosting their 4th annual ____ festival 6. Former NFL player Jason Brown is growing this crop 7. Catch a movie at this new downtown theater

Down 1. This cocktail bar serves food and drink almost all day, six days a week 2. Five Points has a new shop celebrating products from this country 3. Raleigh Little Theatre’s outdoor space is filled with this romantic flower 5. Chris Combs played this sport at N.C. State

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Chris Crew

Annette Shope


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APRIL 2018 The Dillon Meet architects Turan Duda and Jeff Paine

Rhythm and blues Boulevard’s smooth sound

WINi Women who inspire and empower


MAY 3, 2018 11:30 A.M.


Jimmy Wayne, Special Guest Child of Foster Care, Musician, Author, Advocate The number of children in foster care is increasing. Come learn how you can help ensure each child in our community has a permanent, safe and loving family. For reservations and sponsorship information, please contact Debbi Fox-Davis,




courtesy NCMA


N.C. Museum of Art is putting women front and center. The museum’s recently launched Matrons of the Arts initiative celebrates influential female artists worldwide. Permanent exhibits, travelling exhibitions, and special events will honor and present the success of women in art, including abstract expressionist Georgia O’Keeffe and contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama. The goal, organizers say, is to challenge

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the sometimes negative connotations of the term matron, and to instead elevate it to a term of strength and success. This local campaign was inspired by the National Museum of Women in the Art’s name 5 female artists challenge, which seeks to keep notable women artists on the forefront of public conscience. As the movement takes shape, you can follow along at –Catherine Currin

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