WALTER Magazine - April 2022

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APRIL 2022

The Art & Soul of Raleigh Raleeigh




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Volume X, Issue 8 APRIL 2022




TRADITIONS: Turn it Up Record Store Day’s Raleigh ties


MUSIC: An Old Soul Charly Lowry defies classification


ART: Wild Whimsy Anne Lemanski’s fanciful patterned creatures


NATURE: A Month of Firsts Recording spring wonders


VAULT: Sea of Stitches A community crochet project comes to life at the NCMA



SIMPLE LIFE: The Cowboy in Me Old and new Westerns inspire


Editor’s Letter




Your Feedback




The Whirl




End Note

HISTORY: Farm to Forest When Umstead hosted families

On the cover: Carolina Courage players Emily Gray, Kaleigh Kurtz, Brianna Pinto; photography by Geoff Wood


John Gessner (LOWRY); courtesy Anne Lemanski (ANTELOPE)


Photography by Danielle Douglas

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Love Letter to Grass by Blaine Purcell illustrated by Kristen Solecki


The Brunch Bunch For this close-knit group, Easter is filled with traditions by CC Parker photography by Taylor McDonald


54 12 | WALTER

The Zoo An end-of-life traipse down memory lane by Daniel Wallace illustrated by Lyudmila Tomova


It Takes Courage North Carolina’s women’s soccer team has strong local roots by Matt Lail photography by Geoff Wood


The Burden and Beauty of Home William Paul Thomas explores dichotomies in his work by Wiley Cash photography by Mallory Cash

Mallory Cash (WILLIAM PAUL THOMAS); courtesy Coleen Speaks (FAMILY)


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Postcards from my lunchtime walk.


5634 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd., Durham, NC

ust as we were about to ship this magazine, I got called for jury duty. As I imagine many people with busy schedules might feel, this seemed like an inconvenience. But I also love Law & Order, and considered being a lawyer for a hot second (I might even still have the yellowing LSAT book to prove it). And listening to a trial is not unlike being a journalist: you gather facts, interviews, and narratives, then try to find the threads of truth that can be woven into the most real story of what happened. At least, that’s how I expect it to be. It’s only Day One but I’m already the most over-eager juror they’ve seated: energetically answering the questions we’ve already heard at least a dozen times, cracking jokes, smiling at my fellow citizens. (Check back in with me when the trial is over; we’ll see how I feel.) The other funny thing about being a juror is that the Wake County Courthouse is only two blocks from the WALTER office. But those two blocks offered me a whole new perspective on Raleigh. I parked in a different parking deck, and got disoriented when I exited through a different door than I entered — was I now facing east or west? I got so out of sorts that I visited a different coffee shop than usual during our lunch break (shoutout to the cold brew at Sir Walter Coffee). And I wasn’t the only potential juror who accidentally walked into the wrong parking deck when we left. It took me three flights of stairs to realize my mistake, but at least I got my exercise! When I walked into the courthouse, temperatures were in the 30s, but when I walked out, it was sunny and in the 60s, a beautiful spring day. The light seemed to fall differently there on the far side of Fayetteville Street (it could also have been the recent switch to Daylight Savings Time). I found myself wandering between buildings that I usually walk around, admiring the architecture. The window in the 10th floor of the courthouse offered a new view, too, a look down onto the city’s rooftops that I’d never seen before. All this to say: it doesn’t take much to change one’s perspective. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself to take a detour every once in a while — even just two blocks north, south, east, or west — when I need a refresh. Or just a little spark of inspiration.

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APRIL 2022, Volume X, Issue 8 EDITORIAL




Creative Director LAURA PETRIDES WALL Associate Editor ADDIE LADNER Contributing Writers Kara Adams, Wiley Cash, Seth Crossno, Jim Dodson, Mike Dunn, Hampton Williams Hofer, Matt Lail, David Menconi, CC Parker, Blaine Purcell, Liza Roberts, Genie Safriet, Daniel Wallace, Billy Warden Contributing Copy Editor Finn Cohen Contributing Graphic Designer Morgan Gustafson Contributing Photographers Mallory Cash, John Gessner, Lissa Gotwals, Eamon Queeney, Taylor McDonald, Geoff Wood

Advertising Sales Manager JULIE NICKENS Senior Account Executive & Operations CRISTINA HURLEY Events Manager KAIT GORMAN Graphic Designer ALYSSA ROCHEROLLE Finance STEVE ANDERSON 910-693-2497 Inquiries? WALTER OFFICE 984-286-0928 Address all correspondence to: WALTER magazine, 421 Fayetteville Street, Suite 104 Raleigh, N.C. 27601

Contributing Illustrators Todd Benner, Gerry O’Neill, Kristen Solecki, Lyudmila Tomova Interns Katie Cusack, Emily Gajda

WALTER is available by paid subscriptions for $25 a year in the United States, as well as select rack and advertiser locations throughout the Triangle. Subscribe online at For customer service inquiries, please email us at or call 818-286-3118. WALTER does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please contact Ayn-Monique Klahre at for freelance guidelines.

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GEOFF WOOD / P HOTO G R A P HE R Geoff Wood is a commercial and editorial photographer based here in Raleigh who specializes in location portraiture. Wood’s plan is to dive headfirst into life behind the lens. You will catch him hanging off the side of the boat, pouring metal filings into old cameras, and whenever possible taking the whole thing underwater. He’s a participant in the shoot just as much as his subjects. He’s also a huge fan of the Carolina Courage. “What a privilege it was to meet some of the women on our soccer team. Experiencing their focus, strength, and perseverance inspires me to put the same effort into my own craft.”

BLAINE PURCELL / POET Blaine Purcell is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in creative writing, with a focus in poetry. Their work centers on their childhood, family, gender identity, and battles with religion. Purcell hopes to pursue an MFA after undergrad, publish books of their own, and teach poetry at a university. “The poem included within this issue, Love Letter to Grass, was inspired by a conversation with friends during a picnic about what the afterlife could look like. It imagines a world where we live infinite, but different, lifetimes, that collect within our soul. It asks, what would happen if all those lives could meet?”




APRIL 28 & MAY 26




As a young soccer player, Matt Lail was on the losing end of some serious beat-downs. Fortunately, it didn’t ruin his love of the game. “The chance to engage with the best female soccer players in the world — who also happen to play here — was such a wonderful opportunity, and I’m glad to highlight the impact that these role models have on people like my daughters.” By day, Lail is a Raleigh communications pro (and part-time music podcaster) who often chauffeurs his three kids to activities and sports… soccer being one of them.

P HOTOGR A PH ER Taylor McDonald is a photographer from Raleigh. After graduating from The Savannah College of Art and Design in 2015, she moved back to North Carolina to pursue photography full time. “On Easter I spent time with Coleen Speaks, Erin Barrett, and some of their closest friends and family. The warm afternoon was spent with cocktails, Easter egg hunts, and food. The night was capped with a gorgeous Strawberry Pavlova and lots of laughter. I left feeling like family.”

Courtesy contributors


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FEEDBACK We love to hear from you! Tag us when you’re out and about — or cozied up at home with WALTER. “I want to convey how much I enjoy the articles and gorgeous photographs about nature… It seems there’s always something intriguing about the natural world in the magazine and I want you to know I do appreciate it. It reflects what I consider a very important and enjoyable advantage of living in Raleigh; WALTER reflects my values in a way that initially surprised me and now educates and inspires me. However, I have to add a note about the March 2022 article Noted: In the Field. Ms. Burgess’s words about her heightened fear reveal a distressing truth, and I thank you for allowing her to share it with us.” — Marcee Silver

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OUR TOWN This month, embrace North Carolina’s diverse culture with poetry readings, live music, local sports matches, and Earth Day. by ADDIE LADNER and KARA ADAMS

Bob Karp (COLE); courtesy Craven Allen Gallery (ART)



Now - April 16 | See website A unique blend of photography, paint, and texture, Dan Gottlieb’s Season Five series features vivid “recto-verso” images drawn from his experiences of hiking through western forests devastated by wildfires. Until his retirement, Gottlieb was director of planning for the museum park at the North Carolina Museum of Art, credited with transforming its grounds into a cultural destination unto itself. “As a hearing-impaired kid often cocooned in a private world, I’d squint at light, absorbed in the passing blur of the street,” writes Gottlieb in his artist’s statement. “Still today, I find comfort in that place to make my pictures — impressions of light, place, and nature’s grand experiment.” Free admission; 1106 ½ Broad Street, Durham;


DREAMVILLE MUSIC FESTIVAL April 2 - 3 | 12 p.m. North Carolina native, rap artist, songwriter, and producer J. Cole is bringing his Dreamville Festival back in-person to Dorothea Dix Park this spring for the second time. He’ll headline this two-day music and cultural festival that will feature music-industry veterans like T-Pain, Ashanti, and Ja Rule, along with newer faces like soulful R&B singer Kehlani and energetic rapper Lil Baby. “We set out to curate something special,” says festival president Adam Roy. “Our Dreamville family has been patiently waiting for the fest’s return.” A portion of the proceeds will be donated to regional charities through the Dreamville Foundation, Cole’s nonprofit, and the festival will feature food from local restaurants as well as work by area artists. From $250; 1030 Richardson Drive;

April 2 | 12 p.m. Join NCModernist on the rooftop of The Dillon for a Thirst4Architecture social event for folks interested in modern architecture that will feature a book signing with the founding principles of Duda|Paine Architects, the designers of local landmarks including The Dillon, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Morganton, and student centers for Duke, North Carolina State, and North Carolina Central Universities. Free but registration required; 223 S. West Street;

All information is accurate as of press time, but please check and the event websites for the latest updates. The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 25

LIVE @ THE LAKE April 7 & 21 | See website NC State LIVE and Visit Centennial are bringing back their series of free, bimonthly sunset concerts along Lake Raleigh. Bring the whole family — along with a picnic blanket and lawn chairs — and plan to grab dinner from a selection of on-site food trucks before the opening band. The Collection will perform on on April 7 and The Barefoot Movement performs on April 21. Free admission; 2300 Main Campus Drive;

in-person with a live-streaming option. The poets have all been working on/ Just what they want to say/ Now we’re happy to share/ The time, place, and day, writes event organizer Celeste Hinnant, a poet herself. Free; 742 W. Garner Road, Garner;



April 7 | 7 p.m. In honor of National Poetry Month, the Town of Garner Performing Arts Center is hosting writers, educators, poets, and speakers for an intimate evening of readings and recitals at Words Unspoken. Some of the performers include William Davis, known as Endlesswill, Arielle Williams, known as Sincerely, Lioness; and Jackie Dove-Miller. The event is

April 8 - 24 | See website A modern reinterpretation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic 1882 tragedy, Enemy of the People is set in an Oklahoma town in 2016. This play chronicles a journalist’s attempt to blow the whistle on the disastrous results of fracking while his brother, the sheriff, does everything he can to stop him. From $5; 8208 Brownleigh Drive;


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A traveling exhibit that has sold out across the States is finally coming to the City of Oaks. Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience uses projections, light, and sound to showcase the life and work of Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. Open to all ages, the show features two-story, 360-degree projections of some of the Dutch artist’s iconic pieces, including Bedroom in Arles and Starry Night Over the Rhône. In addition to viewing Van Gogh’s art in a new way, guests learn about his history and personal life. Part of the draw of the show is the location, which is revealed just before the event kicks off (past locations have included an old baseball field in Arlington, Virginia, and the historic Strand Theatre in Boston). “We’ve used gorgeous spaces — old theaters,


warehouses,” says Mario Iacampo, CEO of Exhibition Hub, which produces the show. “We turn these spaces into one giant canvas to interpret Van Gogh’s art and his life.” From $45; see website for location;

Hinnant ( WORDS UNSPOKEN) ; Exhibition Hub & Fever (VAN Gogh




April 13 | 12 p.m. This month’s North Carolina Museum of History’s History @ High Noon series will feature illustrator and graphic designer Amber Share. Known for her Subpar Parks series of images, which pair one-star reviews of National Parks with retro illustrations, Share will be discussing our state’s wondrous natural landmarks. Free; virtual;

April 19 | 7 p.m. Ever wonder what it would really be like to be Jamie and Claire Fraser of the historical fiction-meets-fantasy series Outlander? Then you will love this virtual roundtable discussion hosted by the North Carolina Archives. Explore documents and historic sites connected to Season 6 of the series, which is set in 18th-century North Carolina, with archivist Alison Thurman, records management analyst Josh Hager, historian Lindy Cummings of Tryon Palace, and Alamance Battleground site manager Jeremiah Degennao. Free but registration required; virtual;

Amber Share (SUBPAR)

AN EVENING WITH DAVID SEDARIS April 13 | 7:30 p.m. Bestselling author and comedian David Sedaris, who grew up in Raleigh, is hitting the road for a tour featuring readings from his newest and most personal collection, Calypso. The evening at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium will include stories from his new book, an audience Q&A session, and a book signing. From $55; 2 E. South Street;

SHOVELS & ROPE April 15 | 8 p.m. Folk-meets-rock husband-and-wife duo Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope will be at the Haw River Ballroom performing old favorites alongside new tracks from their latest album, Manticore. Recorded in isolation, the album features songs like “Collateral Damage” and “The Show” that attempt to tackle the complexities of the past few years. Jeremie Albino will be joining the band on tour to perform songs from Past Dawn, his latest EP. From $25; 1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road, Graham;

SPRING TIDINGS OF BACH, CHAMINADE AND GLASS April 21 - 24 | See website Carolina Ballet’s premiere of Spring Tidings of Bach, Chaminade and Glass brings nine different Bach musical selections to life by combining the vocal performances of the Four Voices String Quartet with the talents of 12 collaborative dancers. The show is rounded out by dances set to Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No.1 by artistic director Zalman Raffael, as well as new work by Adriana Pierce set to a score by composer Cécile Chaminade. The show will also be live-streamed on Friday, April 22. From $27.15; 2 E. South Street;

BEARTHDAY AT RALEIGH CITY FARM April 23 | 10 a.m. Celebrate Earth Day and wish Raleigh City Farm a happy 11th birthday at the same time. “After canceling the event in 2020 and pivoting to a takehome version last year, we’re thrilled to gather in person to celebrate our dear Mother Earth, the nonprofit’s resilience, and our community’s health and well-being,” says Lisa Grele Barrie, the farm’s executive director. Nosh on a fresh meal prepared by State of Beer with brews from Trophy Brewing

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The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 27


KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY April 28 | 6 p.m. Join WALTER as we host Kristy Woodson Harvey at City Club Raleigh for a reading and Q&A over a three-course dinner and refreshments. Harvey is the New York Times bestselling author of Under the Southern Sky and The Peachtree Bluff series, and her latest novel is called The Wedding Veil. This historical-contemporary story is set at the Biltmore, and it’s about Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt, a present-day family, and the famous, missing Vanderbilt veil. From $75; 150 Fayetteville Street;

BEYOND THE BOOK CHILDREN’S BOOK & ART FESTIVAL April 30 | 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Bring your little bookworms in their favorite fantastical costume to Moore Square for a day of imagination, creativity, and storytelling from bookstore Read with Me and Paper & Stars Studio, a Raleigh-based community events company. Titled Chapter 1: Once Upon A Time, the festival will include read-alouds, crafts galore, writing workshops, and interactive performances from Paperhand Puppet Intervention, the Poetry Fox, and One Tribe. “The main stage will be filled with our mesmerizing big acts and nearby we’ll have an area for intimate story times, including with author and


illustrator Dan Santat,” says Read with Me owner Christine Brenner. Vendors will offer fairy tale-inspired treats, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Read and Feed. Free admission; 226 E. Martin Street;

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Inside Record Krate

TURN it UP A nationwide celebration of vinyl with roots in Raleigh by BILLY WARDEN photography by EAMON QUEENEY


ait!,” exclaimed the mop-topped man who would one day be a hero on several continents. “You know Todd Rundgren, but you don’t know Utopia? Oh, you gotta hear this!” With that, store manager Michael Kurtz yanked a Duran Duran record off the turntable at Raleigh’s Schoolkids Records back when it was in Quail Corners Shopping Center, off Falls of Neuse

Road. It soon bubbled with the synthsoaked hooks of Utopia, a side project for Rundgren, one of the high priests of experimental power pop. This was 1982, decades before Kurtz would collect a knighthood across the Atlantic and countless other accolades for his pivotal role co-founding Record Store Day. Billed as “the world’s largest single-day music event,” it returns to locations around the globe — including the Triangle — on April 23. I met Kurtz before I could drive, im-

pressionable and hungry for new sounds to feed my big ears. Back then, record stores were a kind of college, a place to explore and discover. The courses were curated by deeply opinionated, ubercool clerks: political science according to The Clash, advanced poetry with Patti Smith, Prince on human biology. Eclectic in both taste and personality, Kurtz played the part of pop professor with effortless elan. He laughed loud enough to drown out the tunes he spun. He knew every note Jimi Hendrix ever The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 29


RALEIGH RECORD STORES Here’s where to find new and used vinyl in town. CHESHIRE CAT ANTIQUE GALLERY 2950 Clark Avenue HUNKY DORY 111 Seaboard Avenue, Suite 116 NICE PRICE BOOKS & RECORDS 3106 Hillsborough Street POUR HOUSE RECORD SHOP 224 S. Blount Street READER’S CORNER 3201 Hillsborough Street RECORD KRATE 508 Saint Mary’s Street SCHOOLKIDS RECORDS 2237 Avent Ferry Road SO & SO BOOKS 719 N. Person Street SORRY STATE RECORDS 317 W. Morgan Street, #105 SOUND-OFF RECORDS & HI-FI 14 Glenwood Avenue


played. He led his own band, Three Hits, a regional pop favorite. Such was the power of my record store matriculation that within a few years I was in a glam/ funk/punk group, The Floating Children, touring North Carolina with Kurtz and his ensemble. Afternoons spent browsing and bantering at Schoolkids or the now-defunct Record Exchange could, indeed, change lives. And then this magic record store universe, this Hogwarts of groove, slipped into a seeming death spiral. CDs took off, which was fine; independent record stores sold CDs, too. But by the early 2000s, big-box stores like Target were cutting exclusive deals with labels to carry CDs with bonus material, often at steep discounts. Meantime, the tech revolution meant that music shopping started to become something you could do on a computer. In a streaming world, who would need a store? And without a store — that de facto classroom-cum-community centercum-church — what would happen to all that history and culture? An existential panic gripped the once merry business, grimly underscored by the 2006 liquidation of the iconic Tower Records chain. By that point, Kurtz was running the Music Monitor Network, a marketing co-op that loops together independent record stores from around the nation. There, he worked with Carrie Colliton, a record store veteran who’d moved from Virginia to the Triangle, bringing with her a reputation for throwing crackling in-store events with artists like the Lemonheads. “When everyone was saying that record stores were doomed, it didn’t make sense to us because we were having weekly parties with artists. They were coming out to see the fans. We were having a great time and selling a lot of music,” Kurtz says. “In hindsight, that’s pretty much what happens on Record Store Day today.” In September of 2006, Kurtz and Colliton rallied record store owners and others in the industry for a brain-

storming and strategy conference at the inaugural SPARKcon, then a multiday, multivenue festival in downtown Raleigh. That gathering didn’t birth Record Store Day, per se, but, says Kurtz, “the seed was planted in Raleigh.” The upstart group reconvened in 2007, this time in Baltimore, home of the longrunning Sound Garden Records. By the time the conference, dubbed Noise in the Basement, wrapped there, Record Store Day (RSD) was on. The basic ingredients were to enlist a name-brand ‘ambassador’ (Metallica, Jack White, Chuck D) to fire up the faithful, line up in-store performances that connected with the local music scene, and offer exclusive vinyl releases from a wide array of artists (Paul McCartney to Gorillaz) featuring rarities and other special content. Vinyl seemed dead and buried in the early 2000s, but RSD’s founders saw in it a still-powerful mystique that would remind consumers why they first fell madly in love with record stores. Like hisses and pops on a banged-up LP, though, skeptics abounded. Kurtz set out to smooth the grooves, relentlessly meeting, cajoling, and eventually persuading doubters at labels and management companies. “Michael’s a thinker with a broad mind, but also personable — people like him immediately,” says Bryan Burkert, a fellow RSD pioneer and owner of Sound Garden Records. “In a relationship business, Michael’s been the heart and soul of this.” Meanwhile, Burkert says, “Carrie makes all the trains run on time. Marketing, implementation, and logistics are Carrie.” Logistics this year meant lassoing and crowning a planetary force of nature: Taylor Swift. As Variety put it, Swift’s coronation as RSD’s 2022 ambassador had “fans rapt with anticipation about what kind of exclusive vinyl release the pop superstar might be issuing for the event… just what Record Store Day organizers had hoped for.” Colliton, though eyebrows deep in

Courtesy of Record Store Day

details and to-dos, savored the hubbub. “Holy cow,” she laughed to Variety, “the conspiracy theories have been so much fun.” Since its humble origins during what many took to be the last gasp of a dying industry, RSD has cranked up the volume around the world. And at the same time, vinyl has surged: according to Billboard, in 2021 the format saw its fattest sales since 1991, with 41.72 million vinyl LPs sold in the United States. RSD estimates more than 2 million people participate in each year’s extravaganza. America’s 1,400 record stores enjoy new currency, as do an estimated 3,000 additional stores around the globe. In 2013, Kurtz — who now resides in Bozeman, Montana — got word the government of France wanted to honor him as a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (a knight of the Order of Arts and Letters). The site of the ceremony, the spar-

kling resort of Cannes on the Riviera, was a long way from knockabout record stores. The crowd was a far cry from scruffy, eccentric musicians and store owners. The easy-going Kurtz hesitated. “I dreaded it,” he recalls. “First, I don’t want to claim Record Store Day as my creation. This was a team effort. The other thing was, they wanted me to do my speech in French. But I can barely speak English!” But, he says, “people told me to go, enjoy it, drink a lot of wine. In the end, they gave me a translator.” What Kurtz said in his acceptance speech brought back all the warmth, wit, and bright-eyed belief that had inextri-

Kurtz and Colliton with an award from the American Association of Independent Music.

cably upped the tempo of my life back at the old Schoolkids location in Quail Corners: “We have created a new future. One that respects the artists and rewards them for their art, just as the individual music fan is respected and rewarded. This is love.”

Bob Fortner Photography

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

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 31


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Charly Lowry on the banks of the Lumbee River

an OLD SOUL Charly Lowry defies classification as performer with Indigenous roots by DAVID MENCONI photography by JOHN GESSNER


ometimes I’ll meet audience members after a show and they’ll say, I thought there’d be flutes or more native drums or something,” Charly Lowry says with a laugh. “It’s been a journey to break down stereotypes and educate people, especially because I don’t look like what non-natives think a native looks like. But I grew up listening to everything.” An Indigenous singer of Lumbee/ Tuscarora descent, Lowry was born and

raised in the town of Pembroke, where she lives on land that has been in her family since the late 1800s. Her speaking voice carries a drawl that’s pure Down East, and her singing voice is powerful and soulful, with an occasional slide into a country music-style warble. Lowry might occasionally play a hand drum onstage, but if you see her singing with her rock band, Dark Water Rising, it’s obvious that she’s influenced at least as much by pop singers like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston as she is by

Native American music. Lowry wanted to be an entertainer as a child. By her middle-school years, she was telling anyone who asked that her main career choices were singer, veterinarian, or basketball player in the WNBA (she says her 5 foot, 4 inch frame made the latter dream unrealistic). Singing held the most promise. Lowry was 12 years old and had just been voted “Junior Miss Lumbee” by her nation when she met Pura Fé, a Tuscarora/Taino singer who was alThe Art & Soul of Raleigh | 33

MUSIC ready well-established in Indigenous music circles. Lowry impressed Pura Fé immediately. “Charly really stuck out,” says Pura Fé, “very talented and beautiful, inside and out.” They eventually became collaborators in her acclaimed voice-and-drums ensemble Ulali Project. “She’s great, very quick musically, and a great singer and person, just topnotch,” says Pura Fé. “She can be very bluesy and soulful with no limits. I think she’s still just tapping into a very deep well. She has not yet gotten to even half of what she has in her.” Lowry was in college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the early days of the singingcontest show “American Idol,” which

do things a little slower than mainstream media and TV is used to.” Lowry was one of 117 contestants to make the Hollywood round and got as far as the top 32 before being voted off, after which she went back to UNC. But with “American Idol” on her résumé, she was hearing from area producers and musicians. One of them, Aaron Locklear, became her longtime bandmate and collaborator in various groups, including Dark Water Rising. They were gigging regularly and putting out records by her senior year, with plans to keep going. Unfortunately, a number of calamities slowed Lowry’s momentum, including serious health problems. She has had two kidney transplants over

the years, the most recent one in 2020. During the years she was on dialysis, she moved back to be caregiver to her ailing mother, who passed from cancer in 2017. And the pandemic put a serious crimp in her performance schedule the last couple of years. But through it all, she’s stayed active with her various groups, often in educational settings as an “artivist” — an activist as well as a musician. She played the Governor’s Mansion for a 2019 “Music at the Mansion” performance as part of the state arts council’s Come Hear North Carolina program, bringing the music of eastern North Carolina to life. And her online livestreamed shows during the pandemic

Lowry with A hand drum given to her by Pura Fé

she watched avidly. She auditioned for 2004’s third season (ultimately won by High Point’s Fantasia Barrino), one of almost 100,000 entrants nationwide. A fiery version of “Proud Mary” was her calling-card performance, and it earned her the coveted “golden ticket” to the Hollywood round. But Simon Cowell, who had a reputation as the show’s naysaying “mean judge,” almost derailed her. “He said, Well, you’re a pretty girl, but you’re a bit old-fashioned,” Lowry says. “That’s what he said instead of saying I’m an old soul, which I’ve come to find out I am. And I’m from the country; we 34 | WALTER

“She’s awesome. What a voice, what heart, what soul. I love her to pieces and want the rest of the world to know about her, too.” — Rhiannon Giddens

included an October 2020 “Songs of Peace and Justice” program presented by the city of Greensboro’s Public Library. “She’s awesome,” says Rhiannon Giddens, the Grammy-winning MacArthur Fellow, who connected with Lowry when she opened Giddens’ 2019 performance at the North Carolina Museum of Art. “What a voice, what heart, what soul. I love her to pieces and want the rest of the world to know about her, too.” In terms of career longevity, it should help Lowry’s cause that she is a versa-

tile singer who can handle pretty much any style convincingly. As she notes, nobody knows how to classify Dark Water Rising, so they often wind up in the “roots” or “folk” categories. “I don’t consider myself ‘folky,’ but I’ve been invited to play at the Folk Alliance International conference,” she says with a laugh. It has been a few years since Lowry has released any recordings, but that should change if things go according to plan. She’s going to put that multifaceted versatility on display. “This year, I plan to hone in on a bunch of different genres with a series of records,” she says. “I’ll do one called Charly Goes Country, then Charly Goes Soul, Charly Goes Gospel, or Charly Goes Indigenous. I’ll do my best because this is my life. Music is my baby and I can’t focus on anything else. There’s not enough time or energy for anything else.” Lowry at the Lumbee Cultural Center in Maxton


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WILD whimsy Anne Lemanski’s fanciful patterned creatures by LIZA ROBERTS


f you’ve seen any of Anne Lemanski’s cosmic, colorful animal sculptures in person, you know they look as if they might twitch, or pounce, or slink on by. The skins that cover them, psychedelic prints and unexpected patterns, somehow add to this unlikely effect. Perhaps her multihued tiger, or her fierce ocelot, or her amazing rabbit, has emerged through a looking-glass portal from some magical realm and wound up in our own? You’re not far off. Lemanski’s Spruce Pine studio is an otherworldly laboratory of creation where she doesn’t just make an animal, she learns it inside out. She studies its physicality and psychology, figures out how its haunches tense when it sits back, how they loosen in a run, how its brow might scowl at distant prey. Then she replicates all of that with copper rods she bends, cuts, and welds into a three-dimensional sculpture, an armature. In an upstairs studio made of shipping containers, another act of creation happens, guided not by realism but by

intuition. Here, she will create a skin for that armature out of digital photographs or prints or collage or all three, and print it on paper. She will draw and cut a pattern as if she were making a dress or a suit, and sew it all on, piece by piece, with artificial sinew. Her tools — wire cutters and an X-Acto knife — are the same, simple ones she has used for thirty years. She has no assistants. On a warm spring weekend, Lemanski is learning mink. Her giant mastiff, Dill, sits nearby. Photographs of mink in every position and resolution surround her, filling a wall and every tab on her computer. She’s learning about what mink eat, how they’re bred for coats, about the recent killing of 17 million Covid-infected mink in Denmark. “Millions! I’m not exaggerating. I was horrified,” she says, shivering. The armatures for a few mink in different positions are underway; one is complete. She holds it in her hands. “The armature is the most important part of capturing the animal,” she says. “I ripped this apart three times; finally, it just clicked.”

She will draw and cut a pattern as if she were making a dress or a suit, and sew it all on, piece by piece, with artificial sinew.


courtesy Anne Lemanski (BUNNY); Lissa Gotwals (LEMANSKI)


courtesy Anne Lemanski (TIGER)

With the armature complete, Lemanski moves on to the mink’s skin, leaning into the collages that form a significant counterpart to her sculpture. Comprised of illustrated images from the pages of pre-1970s textbooks, comic books, picture books, and encyclopedias, Lemanski uses her X-Acto knife to combine, say, giant squid with convertible cars, pigeons with mermaids, chewing gum with polar bears. There are butcher’s maps for cuts of meat and colored-dot tests for colorblindness, and constellations and cockatoos — a century’s worth of illustrations shaken and stirred into a cocktail of nature and man, science and myth, technology, geometry, and things that are cool. A series made during Covid, Metaphysical Mineral, explores the properties of a series of eight different minerals. “Quartz” includes a high diver in a 50s-era swimsuit, a white stallion, and a swarm of bees. “Sulphur” gets a winding snake, a stick of dynamite, and a cigarette. These individual component images are one of a kind and cannot be replicated; to do so would be to lose the unmistakable texture and character of the Ben Day dots used in printing from the 1950s to the 1970s (made particularly recognizable by the pop artist Roy Lichtenstein). “I’ve tried [copying them] and it just doesn’t work,” she says. So when she uses these images in a collage, Lemanski tacks them down lightly with a little loop of tape so she can take them off and use them again. This technique also adds to the three-dimensional look of the collages once they’re printed. She credits a residency at Charlotte’s McColl Center with launching this kind of work. Inspired by the possibilities of the


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Center’s large-format digital printer, she made 12 small collages and printed them in huge dimensions. These prints ended up forming the basis of a solo exhibition that also included sculpture, in this instance a “three-dimensional collage” that incorporated some of the printed collage animals themselves. A 4-inch image of an impala in one print, for instance, became a life-sized impala sculpture in the center of the room that she “skinned,” in a meta twist, in digital prints of the tiny image’s own fur. So was the Tigris T-1, a freestanding, life-size sculpture of a tiger balancing on a ball that was acquired by collector Fleur Bresler for donation to Crystal Bridges Museum, a career-catapulting moment Lemanski is still pinching herself about. Her work is also in the permanent collections of the Mint, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Asheville Art Museum, and many private collections. It’s even found its way into wallpaper as part of a line of sly, butterfly-and-bird-bedecked prints

made in Schumacher’s Peg Norriss collection, a collaboration between Charlotte gallerist Chandra Johnson and interior designer Barrie Benson. What’s next excites Lemanski most. Lately, she’s been working on an animal that’s captured her imagination for a while: a horse, a life-sized Appaloosa. “Who doesn’t love a horse?” she asks, as she works out the intricacies. “The hooves and ankles of a horse are extremely complex; they’re bulbous, they’re angular, and that’s where all the business happens.” Also in the hopper: her first piece of public, outdoor art, another h large animal, to be cast in aluminum. It could mark the beginning of a whole new oeuvre. “I’m looking forward to the work I’m going to make in the future,” Lemanski says. “I think it’s going to be on a large scale, and I just want to keep pushing it forward… It’s the t unknown of the future that keeps me going.” Th is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Art of the This State: Celebrating the Art of North Carolina, to be published by UNC Press this fall. p


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clockwise from topfern left: unfurling; bloodroot aflowers; Clockwise from top left: A Dogwood flower; a Wood Thrush; a Christmas male RubyRound-lobed Hepatica; windflower; trout lily throated Hummingbird.

Spring Beauty

a month of FIRSTS

For Mother Nature, April seals the deal on spring words and photographs by MIKE DUNN

pril is the time when the Piedmont turns green. Sure, you get those warm days in February, and March shows promise for the winterweary, but it’s April that seals the deal. This month, Nature turns the faucet of spring on full blast. Many naturalists I know enjoy recording their seasonal observations, especially the first-of-year sightings, which we call “FOYs.” But even those that might not call themselves naturalists notice those firsts, like the earliest spring wildflowers to open, the inaugural butterflies in the yard, or the building chorus of birdsong through an open window in the morning. Even if it is just in your subconscious, these firsts indicate that change is happening and, for people like me, that our favorite season really is upon us. I have been a journal-keeper off and on over the years. On a recent warm day, I got the urge to look back at some of my notes and noticed a tendency to record the FOYs here in the woods at our home. I was struck by the consistency in the timing of certain natural events: the days that Redbud and Flowering Dogwood showed their blooms, the moment of leaf-out (the date when leaves open up or ferns unfurl). But it turns out my notes indicate that I’m a bit biased toward animal FOYs. Most of my FOY observations are about insects and birds. One of the most notable FOYs for me is not a sighting at all, but a sound: the melodious call of the Wood Thrush. As soon as the calendar says April, I listen every morning for their distinctive flute-like song as they return from their wintering grounds. My records go back to 1998, and the first thrush song in our woods happened anywhere from April 7 to April 19, with most occurring in the second week of April. Looking at these notes, I also noticed a steady relationship between the first Wood Thrush song and that of another forest dweller, the Ovenbird. I consistently heard the emphatic teacher, teacher, TEAcher song of this cryptic, ground-nesting warbler a few days before the musical ee-oh-lay of the The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 39

NATURE Wood Thrush. That’s pretty remarkable, considering these birds are potentially migrating over a thousand miles to get to our woods to nest. Another winged wonder that many people notice are Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. I usually put out my feeders the last week of March, but all of my recent hummingbird FOYs have been the first or second week of April. Male hummingbirds arrive first in our area from their winter homes in Central America. They set up territories to defend and await the females, which typically arrive a few weeks later. Butterflies also received a lot of attention in my FOY notes, especially the tiny Falcate Orangetip. This beauty is one that may not be familiar to many people, as it is a woodland species that flies for

only a couple of weeks in April, mating and laying eggs, before disappearing for another year. But for me, it has a special place in the spring play. They are specialists and lay eggs only on plants in the mustard family. On our property that includes the wildflower Cutleaf Toothwort and yard “weed,” Hairy Bittercress. Caterpillars are difficult to find, but last year I did manage to raise and release a couple of butterflies after watching adults lay eggs in the yard. It turns out there is a lot of scientific interest in these types of observations. Phenology is the study of the timing of the life-cycle events in plants and animals like flowering, leaf-out, reproduction, and migration. There is a recent upsurge in the interest of plant and ani-

These firsts indicate that change is happening and, for people like me, that our favorite season is really upon us.

Through May 8, 2022 The exhibition is organized by Aperture Foundation, New York and Kwame S. Brathwaite. The exhibition Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite and the accompanying Aperture publication are made possible, in part, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Photographic Arts Council Los Angeles.

Major Sponsors

The Cathleen and Ray McKinney Exhibition Fund

PLAN YOUR VISIT Reynolda House Museum of American Art Winston-Salem, N.C. Kwame Brathwaite, Grandassa Model onstage, Apollo Theater, Harlem, circa 1968; from Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful (Aperture, 2019). Courtesy the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles.

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mal phenology since these observations are useful for tracking the biological responses to climate change. If you enjoy making and recording your nature observations and want to help scientists learn more about our changing environment, you can join a number of citizen science projects documenting seasonal changes. A wonderful long-standing program on the northward migration of spring can be found at Journey North (journeynorth. org). By following people’s observations online, you can actually track the realtime northward movement of springtime indicators like hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies. Nature’s Notebook ( is another great program tracking nature’s annual cycles. Whether you do it for science or just for fun, I encourage you to take time this month to get outside and observe changes happening in your natural neighborhood. What FOYs will you find?


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PIEDMONT FOYs Some favorite arrivals to watch for in spring. LATE MARCH/EARLY APRIL: Morel mushrooms; male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrive; Falcate Orangetip butterflies appear; Flowering Dogwood blooms; Spotted Salamander eggs hatch; Luna Moths appear; American Toads calling. MID-APRIL: Monarch butterflies arrive; many species of swallowtail butterflies appear; Jack-in-the-pulpit blooms; many woodland fern species unfurl their fronds; Pinxter Azaleas bloom; Bluebird babies begin to hatch. LATE APRIL/EARLY MAY: Woodland termites mating flights; Cope’s Gray tree frogs calling: Rose-breasted Grosbeaks migrate through our area; Swallowtails laying eggs; first fireflies appear. The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 41






Pod Worlds by Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim

SEA of STITCHES Hundreds came together to crochet a new exhibit at the NCMA by HAMPTON WILLIAMS HOFER


rochet enthusiasts across the state have been working their hooks and strands since September to create a sweeping coral reef on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art this month. Colorful sponges, flowering seagrasses, and billowing jellyfish — made completely from crocheted materials — create this whimsical marine world, and an enormous wall label nearby boasts the names of more than

300 participants who brought it to life. Angela Lombardi, director of audience engagement and outreach at the NCMA, cast a wide net when spearheading the creation of the North Carolina Satellite Reef. “We worked with yarn stores, local teachers, clubs, and college students,” she says. “An incredible level of community involvement was possible because the art form of crochet is so accessible.” The Satellite Reef will sit at the entrance of a multimedia exhibition called

Fault Lines: Art and the Environment, which explores humanity’s relationship to the earth. The crochet reef is in part composed of recycled and scrap materials. “We encouraged people to make plastic yarn out of grocery bags,” Lombardi says, “and we worked in partnership with North Carolina State University’s recycling center, which donated plastic film that could make yarn, keeping plastic out of the waste cycle.” Crochet yarn made from a Target bag? The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 43


Left: The Midden by Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim, which features four years’ worth of their trash. Right: Project lead Linette Knight.

It’s not only possible, but fairly simple thanks to YouTube tutorials. Launched as a response to the devastation of living reefs, the Satellite Reef is part of the Crochet Coral Reef project by the Institute For Figuring, a Los Angeles–based organization dedicated to the “poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics.” Natural coral reefs offer endless diversity, and since living organisms are always irregular, participants in the project did not need to be crochet superstars. Whatever they wanted to create would work. At the helm of the volunteer crochet effort was Linette Knight, who had worked with the artist Olek in 2017 for the large Nina Simone crocheted piece at the Convention Center. Knight grew up fascinated with coral reefs and is a longtime crochet enthusiast, so joining the creation of the Satellite Reef was a no-brainer for her. Knight had already produced billboard-sized crochet murals around the country when she came home to Raleigh, where she started a 44 | WALTER

fence art project at John Chavis Memorial Park that was stalled by the pandemic. “I found out through friends about this coral reef project, and I was floored. It’s not easy to find community projects with crochet,” she says. Knight stepped up to teach classes both in-person and on Zoom — and they sold out, packed with sometimes 40 students at a time. She took it all in stride, relishing in the creative results from the chaos of teaching people with different skill levels. “It’s a passion thing for me,” she says. For Knight, who — Angela was born with three arthritic spikes on her back and suffers from pain and anxiety, the practice is a sort of meditation. “As you count the stitches, it helps to focus your mind on one thing, and the exercise was quite therapeutic for

my hands,” she says. “I can sit anywhere, I can stand, I can travel with it, it’s a therapy for me, and I fell in love with everything I could create.” “Creating a model of a ruffled form that happens in nature can be intimidating,” says Lombardi, “but when we put it into practice and had an artist like Linette teaching, people caught it right away.” The approachability of the project is a huge part of its success. The diversity of coral reefs themselves was reflected in the people who came together to Lombardi create the Satellite Reef. Knight helped a vast array of participants on this project, from a 6-year-old girl learning basic stitches, to teenagers more experienced in making bracelets for their friends, to an 80-year-old woman. “This

“An incredible level of community involvement was possible because the art form of crochet is so accessible.”


was something not confined to one demographic,” Lombardi says. “Across cultures and ages, we got a very broad swatch of community.” When the NCMA took on the project, Lombardi had no plans to crochet anything. But after helping run the workshops, she learned almost accidentally. “Now I cannot watch TV without crocheting,” she laughs. Similarly, all of the members of the NCMA’s Teen Arts Council learned to crochet to support the program, and many reported back on how relaxing their new hobby was. The timing of the reef’s creation during a pandemic actually strengthened community involvement, as so many people were at home, but still keen to be a part of something. Crochet was an easy skill to learn, and one that offered creative freedom. Some did basic stitches and crochet chains. Others created entirely new organisms. One participant crocheted exact replicas of real coral. “I said, You are an amazing artist,” Lombardi recalls, “and she said, No, I’m a pharmacist!” Emily Howard, art education program coordinator at Meredith College, was excited to offer this project to her students. “We were able to participate on many levels by learning about the project through a workshop at the NCMA, and leading our own workshops at the North Carolina Art Education Association annual conference and Millbrook High School,” Howard says. In the end, Lombardi received countless notes from contributors thanking her for the chance to be a part of something so meaningful. Knight recalls that one elderly woman broke down in tears when she learned that her work would be on exhibit at the NCMA. “She was so incredibly thankful for a project that showed that she could still be a part of something, could still use her fingers to crochet,” Knight says. And that’s the point: the Satellite Reef is more than an homage to a miraculous marine world in need of our care — it’s a blend of creativity and community as awe-inspiring as the reef itself.

A Place To Call Home Luncheon

Seen, Heard, Known, & Valued With Guest Speakers: Jessica Crisp & Peter Mutabazi

Thursday, May 5 | 11:30am North Ridge Country Club - 6612 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh Featuring their own multi-faceted family stories, Jessica Crisp – CHSNC foster and adoptive parent, and Peter Mutabazi (

@fosterdadflipper) – foster and adoptive parent and author, will join

Matt Anderson, Director of CHSNC’s Institute for Family, to explore how feeling “seen, heard, known, & valued” is fundamental to child and family well-being, and how storytelling can change families and communities. While there is no cost to attend, our guests will be asked to make a tax-deductible gift to support our work with children and families.


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The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 45



FARM to forest Now a recreational area, Umstead once housed dozens of families by GENIE SAFRIET


efore William B. Umstead State Park was a recreational oasis, dozens of families called this land home. One hundred years ago, this rural farming community included a church, school, and general store at Adams Crossroads (where Raleigh-Durham International Airport now stands); another church and school within the Ebenezer section (near the modern-day Ebenezer Church Road and Highway 70); and, down by Crabtree Creek, the Company Mill, which ground corn and wheat. The land was a mix of forest and fields, and numerous creeks 46 | WALTER

supported smaller mills. European settlers came to the region in the late 1700s. The majority were of English descent — grants from the King of England motivated them to cultivate the territory. Farmer William Warren’s 1779 grant was one of the first, and his family still owned the land when it was sold to create Umstead Park in the 1930s. By the early 1900s, more than 60 families were living on 50- to 70-acre homesteads that had been passed down through generations. Most were subsistence farmers; the soil had gradually eroded through poor practices. “They were just barely get-

ting by,” says Joe Grissom, who grew up on a farm in the area. “They’d grow a little corn for the cornmeal and to feed the mule that plowed the garden.” Now in his 90s, Grissom recalls that in the Company Mill vicinity, “only one homestead had tobacco; the rest of them grew cotton. They had apple orchards, livestock, and everybody had their own pigs.” Families lived off the land, hunted squirrels and rabbits, and periodically drove over dirt roads to buy staples in Raleigh or Durham. “They were good people,“ Grissom, whose family was one of the last to leave, says about his neighbors. “Once

courtesy Stories in Stone

Ebenezer School teacher Genevieve Woodson on her porch speaking with Sid Brown.

courtesy State Archives of NC (REUNION); courtesy Stories in Stone (KING FAMILY); courtesy NC State Parks (MULE)

Clockwise from top: King family reunion; Mallie ie and Quinettie King family; farm land.

you knew one person, you got to know all the relatives.” Family-owned Sorrell’s store at Adams Crossroads sold canned goods and Dickinson’s store sold sandwiches. In Stories in Stone, a 2011 book by Tom Weber about the farming community, resident Bill Haley shares that his family lived near Dickinson’s: “We used to get hold of a penny and go by the Dickinsons’ house, tell Mrs. Dickinson we wanted something. She’d go across the street, open the store, sell us a penny candy and lock up.” Most homes were one-story and woodframed, with three or four rooms and an attached kitchen. With no electricity or running water, the main room had a fireplace for heating. Each family had its own water source, and the hike from the well or spring to the house with full buckets of water was a daily chore. When the chores were finished, the youngsters “made fun out of things,”

Haley recalls in the book: “We made these carts with just a board down the middle and down each axle, put a rope on it. We’d pull it up the hill and ride down.” Children played marbles, bat-the-ball, and good-natured pranks. From 1927 to the mid-1930s, Boy Scouts came to Camp Craggy, a summer camp initially funded by the Raleigh Rotary Club. Located on Company Mill land, the camp had six cabins, a mess hall, and a pond with a diving tower. Folks met for quilting parties, during which ladies sewed and made supper while the men shucked corn. On Saturday nights in the Company Mill’s large, second-story storage room, sacks of cornmeal were pushed to the wall to make way for lively dancing to fiddle and guitar music. Come the Sabbath, folks attended Sunday school at Adams Crossroads Mount Hermon Church or Ebenezer Church. Long-time resident Rebecca King

Simpson recalls in Stories in Stone how her neighbor, Bruce Sanders, drove through the community to pick up children for church; they stood in the back of his truck singing hymns. At summer revivals, neighbors would share fellowship alongside cornbread, preserves, and butterbeans. In the Ebenezer section, community patriarch Al King and his family owned over 300 acres, including a two-story home, orchards, livestock, and a grist mill and cotton gin used by the community. He had a commanding presence, sharp mind — and license to make apple brandy. People were honored to get his advice. Many of the adults were illiterate. In 1928, a determined teacher, Genevieve Woodson, revitalized a dilapidated building for Ebenezer School. There, from October to March, teenagers helped teach their younger siblings, and married couples studied with their children. (By contrast, the two-room Mount Hermon The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 47

HISTORY School at Adams Crossroads taught firstthrough sixth-graders for four months, to allow for tending crops; other children took the 7-mile bus ride to Cary public schools.) In the late 1920s, Woodson formed a Camp Fire Girls troop and talked neighbors into building the Log Cabin Theater (where Sycamore Creek now crosses Graylyn Trail). There, locals gathered for banquets, ballad singing, and plays performed by the neighborhood theater troupe, the Rustic Revelers. The community’s survival depended on families working together and using all available resources. When Izzy Warren, great-grandson of William Warren, and his eldest son died within six weeks of each other in a typhoid epidemic, neighbors plowed Warren’s field to help his wife and their six remaining children. In Stories in Stone, Agatha King Johnson recalls hoeing weeds in the cotton field using worn socks as gloves. As the soil eroded in the fields,

exposed rocks had to be removed. These were used for house foundations and chimneys or simply piled up by the field. “A farmer would get up one morning and say, OK boys, it’s going to be raining today, so we can’t work in the fields, you know what that means,” says Grissom. They did: picking up rocks. In 1934, as part of a federal program to purchase marginal lands for recreation, the government determined that the homesteads had such badly eroded soil that the farmers could not make a living. The National Park Service applied to the United States Department of Agriculture for approval to purchase and develop the land, which they were interested in for its natural beauty and location between towns. Community reaction ranged from enthusiasm to resentment, but eventually all the land was sold. Starting in 1936, Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration workers demolished buildings, planted trees, built dams,

k a e r b a e tak ith us w

and created four group camps. By 1937, the camps were open for Boy and Girl Scouts and 4-H clubs in what was called Crabtree Creek Recreational Demonstration Area (it would eventually be renamed after the late North Carolina governor) and in 1943, North Carolina bought the land from the federal government for $1, with the agreement that it would remain a public recreational area. By 1966, the park, which had been segregated from 1950 to 1964, offered fishing in three lakes, picnicking at rustic shelters, and hiking along 33 miles of trails. Next time you visit Umstead, keep an eye out for remnants of this community: non-native plants like magnolia trees or daffodils mark former homesteads, crumbling foundations from the old Camp Craggy are visible along Company Mill Trail, and the King family cemetery and remnants of their chimneys are near Graylyn Trail. Even all these decades later, traces of history remain.



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The Cowboy in Me Old Westerns are the cure for Yellowstone fever by JIM DODSON illustration GERRY O’NEILL


o, there we sat, three old ranch hands around a blazing fire, as a lonesome doggie let loose a howl at the moon. “Sounds like that dadgum dachshund down the street,” grunted Harry, the quick-draw artist sipping his Buffalo Trace. “He’s pretty bad,” agreed Timmy the Kid, the tile-slinging merchant. “But that dang goldendoodle across the street ain’t much better. Got a howl on him like a stuck prairie dog.” Counting womenfolk (that’s cowboy-speak for “wives”) there were six of us gathered around the elegant, Tuscan-style fire pit in Tim and Sally’s backyard, where we menfolk were talking like we’ve watched too many episodes of Yellowstone, the hottest show on cable TV. In case you’ve been livin’ under a flat rock in the woods, Yellowstone is the saga of rancher John Dutton and his proud but volatile family, owners of the largest cattle ranch in Montana. They’re in perpetual war with an Indian reservation, the National Park System, and resort developers eager to turn their ranch into Club Med West. Think Dynasty with shotguns, 50 | WALTER

F-bombs, and luxury pickup trucks. Whether you find Yellowstone appalling or hopelessly addictive, Yellowstone Fever has spread like a case of terminal kudzu across the lower 48, turning ordinary dudes like Harry, Tim, and briefly me into mini John Dutton wannabes. As a result of the show’s surging ratings, there’s now even official Yellowstone merchandise, everything from home goods to coffee mugs for riding the urban range. Back at Christmas, just for fun, I bought the little missus — a.k.a. my wife, Wendy — an official ball cap and matching sweatshirt that reads, “Don’t Make Me Go Beth Dutton on You,” thinking she might ditch her daily green tea and morning yoga meditation in favor of going a little bit “Beth Dutton.” (Every marriage needs a bit of spice.) In case you’ve been watchin’ way too much CNN and worryin’ about stuff like the future of democracy and the free world, Beth Dutton is the smokin’ hot, potty-mouthed, always drunk, oversexed, mean-as-a-rattlesnake daughter of the patriarch. Unfortunately, while I was over at Tractor Supply one Saturday mornin’ trying to decide how many head

of cattle I might be able to raise on a quarter acre suburban lot, the little lady dropped off her sexy new duds to Goodwill — her way of saying that drunk and nasty lifestyle just wasn’t her cup of green tea, with or without the Tito’s chaser. For those of us who grew up in the 1960s idolizing cowboys like Gene Autry, Matt Dillon, and Roy Rogers, not to mention the boys from Bonanza and the gals from The Big Valley, these Yellowstone folks aren’t exactly your polite, old-fashioned TV cowboy types who wear white hats, never seem to get dirty, and always marry the pretty schoolmistress in the end. I must admit, I suddenly began to miss those kinder and gentler Hollywood cowboys I grew up with and had every intention of someday becoming. Sitting on a shelf in our library are a pair of small, well-worn cowboy boots, the only things on my feet for the first four years of my life. We lived in the rolling country north of Dallas, a neighborhood that shared a big pasture full of horses and a burro named Oscar. Oscar belonged to me — well, my folks. But I fed and talked to him every morning and got to ride him

in the afternoon. I always figured Oscar and I would ride off into the sunset together, meet the right gal and settle down. Instead, I moved to the city where I rode a bicycle instead of a burro and gave up my boots for a pair of Keds. The old-style cowboy in me never died, though. He even still shows up from time to time, like when I stumble across old episodes of The Virginian or Maverick on some remote cable channel and watch the entire episode, remembering exactly what happens. Give me a classic John Wayne Western or John Ford epic on TCM and I’m also good for the count. Several years ago, my wife surprised me with tickets to see Glen Campbell at an outdoor arena in Raleigh. Reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Campbell was making his farewell musical tour. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm broke right at showtime, and Campbell managed only a brief appearance before the show was canceled. He passed on not

long afterward. I guess even rhinestone cowboys never die, though, as long as you can stream their complete hits. When folks drive like the Wild West in my town, I just sing along with Glen. Twenty-five years ago, I took my daughter, Maggie, then a precocious 7-year-old, on a two-month road trip to fish and camp the great trout rivers of the West. We tented beneath glittering stars by the Shoshone River and attended a Friday night rodeo in Cody. We took a rocking McKenzie boat down the Snake and camped for two days in Yellowstone, saw buffalo and a gray wolf, hiked for miles, and drank our body weight in root beer. For a full week we rode horses in the Colorado high country around Durango and camped atop a star-strewn mesa in New Mexico. On the way home, we even bumped into the great-granddaughter of outlaw Jesse James near the Red River — a nice old lady with a killer smile.

Though I didn’t tell my daughter this for many years, I was actually scouting out places where I could start a new life following a divorce — somewhere I could stake a new claim, hear the doggies sing, and never look back. It didn’t quite work out that way, but the trip sure healed something in both of us. The memoir I wrote about our journey of the heart is still in print all these years later — and even got made into a film. Maggie herself now lives in the Golden West. I guess that’s why I was initially drawn to the saga of the Duttons of Yellowstone Ranch, hoping to find some comforting trace of the Western spirit — the inner cowboy — that lives in all of us. But after three full seasons of Yellowstone, I simply had enough. My little missus knew just the thing to perk me up. She brought me a nice big glass of milk and some Oreos as we settled in to watch a couple of my favorite episodes of The Big Valley.

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The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 51


Chapter 31

Fish Tales T

hree friends. Four hours in Atlantic waters. One cooler full of today’s

catch. But the only numbers that matter today are the ten years they’ve known each other and the twelve inches that fish will have grown by the time Craig tells this story next year.

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Love Letter to Grass by BLAINE PURCELL I hope when I die my soul leaves its roots and fills my childhood lawn like pollen in the height of spring, dandelions growing from my ghost to be wished upon in my next life. Am I really dead if my soul lives on in the grass? I will return but won’t remember the way color changing hot wheels went from green to orange in the darting sun, the frustration of grass wrapping around the tires. I wonder if I’ll ever get a moment with myself, a time outside of time on a grand, empty lawn, where we can realize we’re a family all on our own; an endless expanse of you and I and me and us,

together. We can finally meet somewhere in the mountains around a table of sweet potatoes and popcorn shrimp, talk about secrets of the universe and what this whole life thing is about anyways. If the next chapter of my soul looks to the grass will it be a mirror or a family reunion? We can call it the final supper, for if this moment ever occurs it’s sure to end quickly, our souls will hug and smile then fly away like hummingbirds, scattered again but not alone, sitting along tips of grass, watching our next seed grow. illustration by KRISTEN SOLECKI

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For this close-knit group, the holiday is filled with tradition



Coleen Speaks and Erin Barrett

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The families toast to Easter dinner. Below: Scenes from the 2003 Easter egg hunt.


or sisters Coleen Speaks and Erin Barrett, there’s one Easter story that has become family lore. Sometime in the late 1970s in St. Louis, Missouri, their parents sent the girls, along with their other three siblings, on a scavenger hunt for their Easter baskets. “We followed our brother’s lead, and the search took us to the highway, over multiple fences and through many backyards,” says Coleen. “Three hours later we found our Easter baskets in the trunk of our mother’s car, which was parked in the driveway at home.” Cunning, they realized: their parents had given themselves three hours alone at home to unwind. Fast forward to 2003, and a crowd of families — including Coleen with her 56 | WALTER

two young children, Lockhart and Paige Taylor with two teens, and Bob and Kathleen Hofstatder with their teenage son — assembled at Erin and Bill Barrett’s new home, along with their two kids, in Five Points for Easter dinner. “We were in the middle of a renovation, so the kitchen was usable but not finished,” says Erin. “We sort of had to make do.” As the adults heaped the last of the dirty plates into the sink, the children were getting whiny. And so the ruse was resurrected. The parents dispatched the seven children to nearby Fallon Park, armed with a cell phone, for their own scavenger hunt. The band of children merrily made their way and the adults enjoyed an hour’s reprieve, complete with chocolate martinis.

“I remember my cousins racing to get there first; the walk seemed to take forever!” recalls Orson Speaks, who was 3 at the time, the youngest child present. These days, the children are old enough to enjoy chocolate martinis alongside their parents, and the 2003 adventure has been reframed as “being banished to Fallon Park so the mothers could enjoy covert cigarettes,” agree Orson and his sister Stella. (The mothers neither confirm nor deny.) But celebrating Easter together is still a family tradition for these sisters and their close-knit group of friends. To make the big day go smoothly, they lean not just on tradition, but also years of experience running a business together. Coleen, Erin, and Kathleen work side-by-side at Hummingbird, the New

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Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Pesto Yields 2 pounds lamb chops INGREDIENTS 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1

/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1

/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds lamb chops Mint Pesto (recipe below) DIRECTIONS Place all marinade ingredients into a large zip-top bag and mix well. Add lamb chops to the bag and coat well with marinade. Let marinate for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours. When ready, preheat a grill to medium-hot. Remove lamb chops from marinade and grill to desired temperature. Serve with Mint Pesto.

Mint Pesto INGREDIENTS 2 cups mint, large stems removed 1 cup parsley, large stems removed 1

/4 cup almonds, toasted

1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 clove garlic, minced Pinch of crushed red pepper Salt and pepper to taste 1

/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


/3 cup hot water

DIRECTIONS Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stovetop, and have another bowl nearby with an ice bath ready. Working in batches, plunge mint and parsley into the boiling water for about 10 seconds, then transfer immediately to the ice bath with a slotted sponge; let cool for 30 seconds. Drain herbs into a colander and squeeze out as much water as possible. Combine herbs, almonds, lemon, garlic, red pepper, and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped, adding water as necessary, then run until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.


Smoked Deviled Eggs Yield 24 halves INGREDIENTS 12 eggs 2 to 3 cups apple or pecan wood chips 1

/2 cup Duke’s mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon lemon juice Splash dill pickle juice Salt and pepper to taste Trout roe, pickled red onion, or fresh dill for garnish DIRECTIONS Fill a heavy-bottom pot with cold water, gently add the eggs, then bring to a soft boil. Take off heat and let sit for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and shock in an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthwise, then separate the white and yolks. Refrigerate the whites during this next step. To cold-smoke the yolks: Line a baking dish with aluminum foil, with about 6 extra inches on all four sides. Fill with wood chips, then fold foil down to seal. Flip the packet over, then poke about a dozen holes into the top. Cover the top of the foil with ice, then place a cooling tack on top of the ice. Place the yolks on top. Set the baking dish onto two burners of your stove, then heat for 15 to 20 minutes, replacing ice cubes as necessary. Place the smoked yolks into a food processor; pulse until you get a sandy consistency. Add mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, pickle juice, and salt and pepper; pulse to get a smooth consistency. Pipe the yolk mixture into whites and garnish.

Smoked Deviled Eggs

Orleans-influenced restaurant and bar in Dock 1053 off Whitaker Mill Road. Coleen works as the face of the business and head chef, Erin runs the front of house, and Kathleen manages private bookings. “Friends are like family, and this is the ‘secret sauce’ of our business,” says Coleen. And similarly, when their families gather to celebrate holidays, these women naturally divide and conquer. Hummingbird has served an Easter brunch the past three years, but these three haven’t let it affect their family tradition at home. Once the final tab is

closed, they change aprons to host their own combined dinner — a meal for at least 20, including their seven grown kids and family visiting from out of town. When asked how they can serve at a restaurant and then another large dinner at home, Coleen shrugs, “You fake it ’til you make it! It just works out.” Guests arrive at Erin’s home at 2 p.m. dressed in their Easter best. Erin and Bill welcome each guest with a special cocktail, then the bar is self-serve the rest of the day. “Bloodies then bubblies then wine; we keep it flowing!” laughs

Erin. Kathleen’s signature charcuterie board accompanies the drinks, featuring honeycomb from The Savannah Bee Company, along with cheeses, meats, and figs. Each year, Lockhart presents each lady with an Easter corsage from Fallons. It’s his own tradition, one that has grown over the years. “Originally Lockhart gifted his wife Paige with a wrist corsage, but as the years have passed each lady receives one,” says Erin. “Poor guy — he’s buying like 15 of them now!” The Taylors have also been in charge The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 59

Asparagus with Parmesan Vinaigrette Yields 6 to 8 servings INGREDIENTS 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed 2 to 4 eggs 1 /4 cup Parmesan Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

2 cups shallots, thinly sliced 2 cups buttermilk 1 cup flour Salt and pepper to taste Canola oil DIRECTIONS Hard-boil the eggs (see directions on previous page). Let cool, then chop the yolks and whites, separately, into a fine crumble. Refrigerate until the final step. While the eggs are boiling, soak the shallots in the buttermilk. Heat oil in a frying pan. Drain the shallots, dredge in flour, and fry until golden, working in batches as necessary. Remove to a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Blanch asparagus in boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes depending on thickness, until crisp, but tender. Shock in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Toss the asparagus in the Parmesan Vinaigrette. Place on platter, then garnish with the eggs and fried shallots.

Parmesan Vinaigrette Yields 1 cup INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons Zatarain’s Creole Mustard 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 garlic cloves 1

/2 cup grated parmesan

1 1/2 teaspoons honey 1

/22 teaspoon each of salt and pepper


/4 cup canola oil

DIRECTIONS Mix all ingredients except the canola oil in a food processor. Once it’s well combined, slowly drizzle in canola oil with the motor running until you get a thick liquid. Taste and adjust any seasoning.


of the Easter eggs for the annual hunt over the years, including the real treasures: golden eggs stuffed with $5 bills. (The kids say they’ve outgrown the hunt in the last few years.) Coleen plans the menu, but she’s not the only cook, and she’s happy to mix in store-bought goods, favorites from her catering company, Posh Nosh, and whatever folks bring. “The meal is planned around the grill so that Bill can oversee that part,” she says. “I’m not a stickler for tradition. I prefer to try new recipes to get feedback from the crowd, and contributions of

food are always welcome!” At the grill, Bill bastes and heats through a precooked ham, then prepares the lamb. Coleen works the sides, sourcing seasonal produce like radish and asparagus from Blue Sky Farm in Wendell. The dessert table always has lots of options, from a crowd-favorite Whole Foods carrot cake to a made-fromscratch Strawberry Pavlova displayed on a pedestal that’s almost too pretty to eat. (Almost.) And since she knows the morning will be packed feeding the brunch crowd at

Roasted Radishes Yields 4 servings INGREDIENTS 1 pound radishes, with greens if possible 1

/4 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoon yellow miso 1 teaspoon honey Salt and pepper 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1

/2 lemon, juiced

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut tops off radishes, and place greens in a separate bowl. Cut radishes in half. Mix the melted butter, miso, honey, and salt and pepper. Toss the radish halves in the mixture, then place on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, stir, then roast another 3 to 4 minutes — you are looking for some color on the radish, but still want a little snap. Toss the reserved radish greens with lemon, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Platter radishes and top with the greens.

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Strawberry Pavlova Yields 6 individual servings INGREDIENTS 4 egg whites Pinch salt 1 1/4 cup superfine sugar 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon + a few drops vanilla, divided 1 pound strawberries, quartered 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons sugar, divided 2 cups heavy cream DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw 3-inch circles on the paper with a pencil. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites and salt on low speed, then slowly increase the speed. As the egg whites become shiny, start adding superfine sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and very shiny. Gently fold in the cornstarch, white wine vinegar, and a few drops of vanilla. Using an ice cream scoop, mound the stiff egg whites into each circle. Place into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off the oven but leave the meringues inside until the oven cools completely. While the meringue is baking, mix strawberries with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, white balsamic vinegar, and 2 teaspoons sugar in a bowl. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, until the strawberries become syrupy. Whip heavy cream with ½ teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon sugar until you have soft peaks. To serve, carefully peel meringue off parchment and cut away the top inch of the meringue to make a hole. Fill with strawberries and their juices; top with whipped cream.


Chocolate Martini Yields one INGREDIENTS 1 ounce half & half 1 tablespoon chocolate sauce 1 1/2 ounces vodka 1 ounce Godiva MIlk Chocolate Liqueur Ice Dark chocolate, to taste DIRECTIONS Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake, then strain into a coupe glass. Top with shaved chocolate and enjoy!

“The meal is planned around the grill so that Bill can oversee that part. I’m not a stickler for tradition. I prefer to try new recipes to get feedback from the crowd, and contributions of food are always welcome!” — Coleen Speaks

Hummingbird, Erin gets her home guestready well ahead of time. “That’s the hard part!” she laughs. “The day before the dinner I always make the table and pull serving platters.” The table itself holds memories: Erin sets both an adult and children’s table, mixing in tablecloths, china, and silver received decades ago as wedding gifts with newer pieces added as the crowd has grown. A vintage silver vase she and Bill found in a New Orleans thrift shop holds flowers from local wholesaler Cleveland Plant & Flower Co. And for these busy families, the most

beloved Easter tradition may just be the one that happens once the meal is over. The aprons come off, the dishes can wait until morning (the restaurant’s closed on Mondays, anyway) and the crowd gathers for a little more time together over those signature chocolate martinis. There’s no desire to send the kids off on a scavenger hunt; the parents sense that the opportunities to gather these young adults will not last forever. But the hope is that these cherished moments — and the traditions they hold — will find their way on to the next generation. The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 63



ZOO An intimate, epic first date by DANIEL WALLACE illustrations by LYUDMILA TOMOVA


e were listening to Vivaldi the night I died, the bed so soft, so warm, my wife of nearly half-a-century perched beside me with a cup of ice chips, there to wet my tongue, my lips. Even though I die at the end of it, this is not a sad story, really: I was very old, comfortable, cared for, weary, and loved, loved my whole life long, ready to fade into whatever night was waiting for me. And of all the moments I might have conjured to accompany me as I was leaving, it was our very first date that I recalled. Clara and I were grad students in English, just classroom friends, weeks away from defending our dissertations — hers on lute music in Shakespeare’s early plays, mine on Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and the birth of modern science. I’d always

liked Clara, but I think everybody did. She was smart but didn’t seem to care that she was, and made the rest of us — who were battling with each other, always burnishing the myth of our own brilliance — seem dumb. She was also funny, and the kind of pretty I was drawn to. Her nose was just a little longer than one thought it might have been, her eyes too big. They were emerald green, though, and rested on her big cheeks like marbles. Her knees were oversized for her long thin legs, like two snakes that had just swallowed one rabbit each. The truth was she wasn’t really picture-pretty at all, but carried herself as if she were, or didn’t care that she wasn’t, and that made her more beautiful than anyone I’d ever seen. She seemed wild to me, beyond anything I could ever capture. I was 27 and looked like a young man overly acquainted with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, by The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 65

which I mean bookish in a sun-starved sort of way, shy around actual humans, shiny brown hair, still waiting for the peach fuzz on my upper lip to turn to fur. Somehow she let me know that she was free — “I’ve been kind of seeing somebody, but now . . . ” And she shrugged. And there we were. So we decided to go out for a beer one night. I picked her up in the first car I’d ever owned, an old Dodge Dart I’d bought used five years before, beaten and bruised, 210,027 miles and counting. There was a hole in the passenger side floorboard a mouse could have slipped through, and the engine was seriously flatulent. “Nice car,” she said, hopping in. She was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, variations on which seemed to encompass her entire wardrobe. “Is it new?” “Very funny.” “Kidding,” she said. “But seriously, it’s a real car, right?” “Ha ha.” “I’m just having fun with you.” She punched me in the shoulder. “But honestly, want me to give it a good push? I’s be happy to.” She went on like this for a little while and stopped just before it became tedious. Maybe just a beat after it became tedious. But I was laughing. “For someone who doesn’t even have a car, you have strong opinions about mine.” “I kid you,” she said. “But seriously.” Off we went to a place called Brother’s, famous for its jukebox and onion rings and frosty beer mugs. We slipped into a booth and talked about what graduate students talk about — dissertation directors, anxiety, our cohorts, and more anxiety. That was the thing: it was fine and fun and comfortable; we just got along so well. Even after a few minutes together it felt like we’d been coming to Brother’s forever and talking about nothing and laughing — when this guy appeared, an apparition materializing from the dark of the bar beyond us. Tall, wiry, a small face made angular by a well-trimmed goatee, and eyebrows like a mossy overhang. Our age. He was wearing a black jacket and a black T-shirt beneath it and 66 | WALTER

black pants, and I’m assuming black socks and underwear as well. He sat down next to Clara — they clearly knew each other — and he smiled at me and shook my hand. A strong grip. Very strong. Clara covered her face with her hands and moaned. “Jeremy,” she said, she sighed. “Jesus. Jesus Jesus Christ.” Jeremy looked at me and rolled his eyes, like we were having so much fun and now Clara has to come and ruin it for us. “I saw you and I had to say hello,” Jeremy said to her. Then to me, conspiratorially: “We were together, not too long ago. Clara and I.” Clara nodded, but it was a grudging nod. I’m sorry, she mouthed to me. Jeremy saw her. “You should be sorry,” he said. “Please,” she said. “Jeremy. This is not the time or the place for this.” Jeremy shook his head and shrugged. “I don’t know why. This used to be our place.” “Our place?” She mocked him. “We came here twice.” Someone put two quarters in the jukebox and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” began to play. Clara looked at me. “We should go, Richard. This isn’t going to get any more fun than it already is.” “Richard,” Jeremy said. “What a great name. May I call you Dick, Dick? Great. So, Dick, about how long have you and Clara been an item . . . Dick.” I didn’t answer. I was in a difficult position: Clara and I really weren’t an item, yet; I didn’t feel it was up to me — or in my wheelhouse — to step up and eject the interloper from our midst. But then, slowly, Jeremy’s smile dimmed and died, and he looked at Clara as if she were a hideous thing. “You’re a coward, you know,” he said to her. “How could you just . . . disappear? No call back. Nothing. Not cool. Not how you break up with somebody.” He looked at me, back to her. “Just . . . not cool. In case you didn’t know.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, as if she were about to plunge underwater. Slowly, she exhaled. “We didn’t ‘break up,’ Jeremy. We were

never even really seeing each other, not like that. We were never even — .” She stopped, giving up the postmortem. “Listen. I’m sorry, okay? I should have called you or maybe written you back to say thanks and everything, it was great while it lasted but a talent-free hobo novelist who doesn’t know the difference between a semi-colon and an ampersand is just not what I’m looking for in my life at this time. All the best, Clara.” Jeremy tried to rally with a comeback, but he didn’t have one. “I’m not a hobo,” he said. “Just . . . between places.” “For a year and a half,” Clara said. Poor Jeremy. He had been defeated. “Raindrops” ended and began again. Jeremy shook his head, stared off into the faraway-somewhere. He looked like he was standing on the shore of a deserted island watching the ship that was supposed to save him sail on by. “Okay, well, I feel like it’s time for me to hitch a ride on the next prevailing wind! But before I go, I have a message for you, Richard. You’re going to be me one day. You’ll have the time of your life with this one. You’ll be so happy. It’ll be like the world went from black-andwhite to color. Then everything will go to shit and you won’t be happy anymore because Clara will move on, and it will suck for you, just like it’s sucking for me now.” By the look in his eyes he was taking a moment to relive some of the colorful times he’d shared with her, and he smiled. “But it will be worth it,” he said. “Because Clara . . . well, nobody is Clara.” Then he stood, and just as quickly as he had come was gone, a shadow fading away into the darkness of the bar. We paid up and left and walked to the car in the dusky quiet. We were a little unsettled. A breeze ruffled the trees but fell short of the two of us, standing on either side of my car now in the gravel parking lot. No stars out yet but the moon was rising, low still and smoky white. “Well that sucked,” she said. “Yeah. Yeah but — ” “But what?” “You have to admire his pluck.”

“I love that word,” she said. “He’s not plucky though. He’s . . . indecorous.” “Unseemly.” “Boorish.” Looking down like there was something on the ground for her to see, her hair fell into her face and it was as if a big CLOSED sign went up. Even after she pushed it back behind her ears it was hard to really see her. “Jeremy,” she said. “Such a mistake. What if every mistake you ever made followed you around for the rest of your life? Like a parade of mistakes. The too-small shoes you bought, the undercooked chicken. Jeremy.” “That would suck a lot.” “I was mean to him.” “He asked for it.” “Really?” I shrugged my shoulders. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but I was on Clara’s side now. I looked back at Brother’s. I kept thinking Jeremy was going to follow us out here and stab me. “I think we should make a mistake,” she said. “Really?” “We need to do something,” she said.

“That or go home. And I don’t want to go home. Let’s do something stupid that will follow us around forever like undercooked chicken.” “Sure,” I said, not really sounding like the devil-may-care-crazy guy she may have wanted just then. But what to do? I couldn’t think of anything: I’d always veered to the quiet, safe side of life. But she had an idea. “You know what we should do?” she said. “Or what we shouldn’t do, I mean?” She sat on the hood of the car and waited for me to join her. I did. This was as close as I’d ever been to her. “What?” “Go to the zoo.” There was a small zoo in Bellingham, somewhere between a real zoo and a place where a bunch of animals had been collected from around the world and housed by a larger-than-life intrepid explorer in make-shift pens and a pit for lions and tigers, a skinny elephant, a fence for the giraffe, a cement island for the monkeys. The animals didn’t look abused, just disappointed. “Great idea,” I said. “But it’s closed. It

closes at dusk.” “Who said anything about it being open?” And she told me a story she’d heard, about an entryway at the bottom of the 12-foot high metal fence, one you can slither through with ease, gaining access to the entire place. No alarms, no cameras. Just you and the animals in the dark. “I know the way.” “Sure,” I said, hoping to impress her with my newfound recklessness. I handed her the keys to the car. “Really? Seriously?” she said, like a kid. “You’re up for this?” Her face was so small I could cup it in one hand, and in the half-light of the parking lot outside of Brother’s she had the patina of a film from the ’40s. I think I was already in love with her. We got in the car and she looked at me, and it was as if she were saying, Are you ready? Because this is happening. If you’re going to wimp out this is your last chance. In just the few minutes we’d been outside night had fully fallen. A couple of frat boys came out of Brother’s braying at each other, and the tail end of a song comes out with them —

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“Raindrops.” “Let’s do this,” I said. She started the car and winked at me as she revved the engine. “Big mistake,” she said. ----It was a terrifically muggy night but with the windows down I could feel a cool undercurrent to the air. I remember thinking that one day it would be fall, then winter, then spring and then summer again, and that whatever was about to happen will have happened a long time ago. The wind made Clara’s hair go wild, half of it flying out the window like streamers on a bicycle, the other half in her mouth and in her eyes, blindfolding her for seconds at a time. “I’ve got this,” she kept saying. “No problem.” Then she looked at me, mock-scared with a frightened smile, like the other part of her was saying Don’t believe me! There is a problem! I don’t have this! She took a sudden turn off of Greene Street, and then the road whipped around to the right, up and then down, the car beams breaking into what felt like a virgin dark. Just a pine tree forest, a forgotten road, nothing else. She pulled over to the curb and cut the lights and we were under the cover of night. “We’re here,” she said. Gradually the world around me came into focus and over the trees I could see the throbbing red light at the top of the WRDC radio tower. I positioned myself in the world and I realized we were in fact right behind the zoo, near a farm, an overgrown pasture. She put the car in reverse, pulled back, angled it, then turned the lights back on, spotlighting the secret entrance through the fence. She raised her arms into the air, fists clenched: victory. “You’re pretty impressed with yourself.” “I am,” she said, nodding. “As I should be.” She turned off the car and threw the keys back to me. “It’s go time,” she said. The hole in the fence was big enough for a mandrill to crawl through. We got in on all fours. Neither of us said a word 68 | WALTER

but communicated through hand signals and raised eyebrows and then suddenly — What’s that? Oh. It’s nothing. Continue . . . inching through the inky dark toward the animal quiet. The woods ended, and we were on a path, dirt and gravel first and then lightly paved uneven asphalt. A yellow light spilled on the elephant cage, that fenced-in patch of hard dirt no bigger than a poor man’s front yard. There was no elephant there now — he or she was sleeping inside. I’d been here a couple of times, thrown a few peanuts over this wall. Clara looked at me. She was so excited she seemed to be vibrating. She leaned in close and stood on her tiptoes to whisper-yell in my ear: “We did it!”

It was absolutely still. The elephants, the giraffes, the monkeys, the spiral-horned antelope — they were all asleep. You could hear them; it was the humming sound of a living forest. She held onto my elbow. “But it’s important to stay quiet,” she said. “That way they won’t know we’re not one of them. They’ll do things most people never get to see them do.” It turned out that animals in the zoo at night do what most animals do. They sleep. It was absolutely still. The elephants, the giraffes, the monkeys, the spiral-horned antelope — they were all asleep. You could hear them; it was the humming sound of a living forest. Blue-black shadows everywhere. An ibis

had a bad dream and shrieked, and a striped hyena answered (maybe it was an ibis, maybe a hyena) then it was silence again. What lights there were were kept low, and the moon was hidden behind a cloud. It turned out that sneaking around a zoo full of sleeping animals was not unlike sneaking around in a zoo with not a single animal in it. Clara thought she saw something and gave a little involuntary gasp and turned and — it was a rabbit. She shrugged her shoulders, smiled, but I could tell she’d had high hopes for this adventure. It hadn’t lived up to its hype. “We can go now if you want,” she said. I did want to go. I wanted to be back in the car talking about what had just happened, how great it was and can you believe that we actually did that? Clara had no idea how careful I normally was, how meticulous with my life, had no way of knowing that I was a man who folded his pants at the crease and arranged his shirts by kind and, within kind, color, whose life-plan was to be invisible on command, to follow directions, to go as far as a man with a Ph.D. in Frankenstein could go. So yes, I wanted to leave. But she was just too defeated. If this were even our second date I would hug her, even kiss her until my kisses made her smile. A second date meant options. A first date, you couldn’t — I couldn’t — do more than take her hand. There was an old stone wall surrounding a duck pond, and I stepped up on it. It was only 2-feet high. Clara looked up at me and sort of laughed and said “What are you — ?” but before she could finish the sentence I had my hand out and she took it and I pulled her up to stand beside me. “Listen,” I said. She listened and heard the same thing I did: almost nothing at all, just that humming sound. “Now listen,” and with my hands cupped around my mouth I shouted a quote from the book I had memorized: “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”

That did the job: the night blew up. The animals rose. Plodding out of his concrete bunker pounded the elephant, the curious giraffes loped into the moonlight, and the island of monkeys began to wildly chatter. Every animal was baying and woofing and screeching. The animal world had awakened — just for us. “Richard,” Clara said, still in whisper-mode. Wings flapped in the dark above us, water roiled somewhere nearby. Clara grabbed my arm and pulled me close. Our shoulders bumped. “This is just . . . so great!” Her big eyes were wide, the size of saucers for a miniature teacup. The moon, the stars, the sky, the animals of the earth, this beautiful woman, all here, before me — and I felt as if I had created a moment that had never been created before, never in the history of the world. I was sharing it with Clara. But I woke up more than the animals. The zoo actually had a keeper. I saw him before I heard him, the beam of his super-powerful flashlight bouncing off of everything. “Who’s there?” he called out, in a deep voice. “You’re trespassing, assholes. And yes it’s a felony and yes I will prosecute. Do not think I won’t. Course I’ll let you spend some time in the hippo pond first, god damn it.” He sounded tired, and very serious. This had gone too far for me, and for Clara. She was frozen against my side, had stopped breathing I think, statue-still. I took her hand and we jumped down from the wall. I had no idea now where the hole in the fence was, but what choice did we have but to try and find it? We ran into the woods. I scratched my face on the lower branches of a pine tree and could feel the stripes of blood across my cheeks. But we didn’t stop running. The zookeeper could hear us, of course, and shined the light into the woods following our path. “Come out come out wherever you are, moron,” he said gleefully. He followed the sound of us, sweeping his light through the forest, coming closer. I had no idea where we were. But we came to a huge tree, and I pulled Clara behind it, wrapping my arms around her until we were as small

as two people could be. The light of his flashlight fell all around us, but not on us. We were that close to being seen — inches away from being caught and caged. But we were not. He gave up. “Damn it,” he said to himself now, thinking we were long gone. Then he turned around and headed back the way he came. Still pressed up against me she looked up at me and smiled. “You did it,” she whispered. “You saved us.” She kissed me on the cheek, but her eyes did not leave mine. “Richard,” she said, “that was truly magical.” And I thought, I actually remember thinking this as we huddled together behind that tree: in thirty, forty, fifty years – whenever she buried me – no matter what may have happened through the decades of our life together, this was what I’d remember, this night, the story she’d tell too many times to our children, our grandchildren, our oldest friends, the story of that night we broke into the zoo and woke everyone up. And not because it was the best thing that ever happened to us, but because it was the first. It set the tone, she’d say, for the rest of our lives. That night at the zoo we were in our own cocoon, arms encircled, closer than close. She burrowed into me, and we stayed that way for a while, longer than we needed to, until the night returned to its rhythms, until all the wild animals in the world went back to sleep. So of course, out of all the moments of my life, this would be the one I chose to see me out. I felt a chip of ice on my lips, a damp cloth on my forehead. I didn’t know if my eyes were open or closed, but it was all dark now, and getting darker. I found my wife’s hand and held it. “Clara,” I said. “Oh, Clara!” Yes, your name was my very last word, so sweet I said it twice. “Clara?” Gwendolyn said, and she shuddered, seemed to freeze and harden as if she’d died herself. “Richard, who is Clara?” And I might have told her, but it was a long story from a long time ago, and by then it was much, much too late. The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 69

it takes COURAGE Five years in, the Triangle’s own brand of women’s soccer builds on strong Carolina roots by MATT LAIL photography by GEOFF WOOD


The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 71

hen midfielder Brianna Pinto was traded to the North Carolina Courage by the NJ/NY Gotham FC in early December, it fulfilled a lifelong dream for the second-year National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) player. After all, Pinto’s love of the game began as a youth player right in the Triangle. She dreamed of suiting up for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and, eventually, as a professional soccer player for the Courage — and she did. “My heart lies in North Carolina,” she says. Midfielder Haleigh Stackpole — another Triangle native, selected by the Courage in the third round of the 2021 NWSL draft out of Ole Miss — also found her footing in the area’s youth



soccer programs. She’s proud of the opportunity to wear the jersey of one of the most successful professional women’s soccer clubs on the planet — one that just so happens to call Cary, North Carolina, “home.” Pinto and Stackpole have the drive and the talent to reach their goal, and they offer inspiration to young soccer players in the Triangle. “Our community will be better off for examples of youth-to-pro like Brianna and Haleigh,” says Dean Linke, who has been the broadcasting voice of the Courage since the team’s inception. Since its first season in 2017, the Courage have won the league’s regular season title three times and postseason title twice. The club also won the inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup in 2018, beating France’s Olympique Lyonnais Féminin. (North Carolina was the runner-up the

following year.) “It’s a proud moment for me every time I put on this club’s shirt,” says veteran midfielder Denise O’Sullivan, who’s also a member of Ireland’s national team. O’Sullivan has been on board for the Courage’s entire run of success. “The Courage culture is showing up every day and putting in the hard work,” she says. “That can get you to a good place.” The players are particularly determined to get to a good place after last season. In September, then-head coach Paul Riley was accused by players across the league of sexual abuse. Seemingly overnight, the focus on wins and losses came to a screeching halt. Riley was dismissed and Sean Nahas was named interim head coach (the “interim” tag was officially removed in December), but the situation led to uncomfortable conversations on and off the field — and in the public eye. “It was draining,” says

BEHIND THE SCENES Clockwise from left: Rivera, Blanford and Athans in the desk area, overlooking the studio; the teleprompter tells them what to say, when to ad-lib and when to stop; at the desks; a monitor shows one of the sets; Michael Perchick at his desk; shoe collection; Clark applies his makeup.

Midfielder Briannna Pinto

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Clockwise from top: midfielder Emily Gray kicks the ball; head coach Sean Nahas


O’Sullivan. “We showed a lot of strength by showing up to training every day when our minds really weren’t in it. But when something like that happens, it unites people.” When the season resumed, they opened the matches with a show of solidarity: players from both teams formed a circle at midfield, linked shoulder-to-shoulder for a long moment of silence. “It left me breathless,” says veteran defender Kaleigh Kurtz. “It was such a strong, powerful moment of us saying, enough is enough.” Fans roared in support. “It gave us a chance to talk with our daughters on the way home about what happened,” says Ryan Johnston, a Raleigh mom whose daughters both play youth soccer and whose family regularly attends Courage games. “It wasn’t an easy conversation, but it was so inspiring to see these women being so resilient.” A comprehensive, joint investigation between the NWSL and the NWSL Players Association is ongoing. Kurtz commends support from administration. “The league is now putting players’ safety and well-being first,” she says. In a statement, team owner Stephen Malik said the game “is profoundly influential among girls and young women everywhere, and it is incumbent on us to set a standard of conduct that earns their trust.” So this season the focus is on moving forward, together. The team is welcoming 11 new faces, building chemistry, and getting better each day. Along with Kurtz, the Courage still boasts stalwart defenders Abby Erceg, Ryan Williams, and Carson Pickett, who was named to the NWSL’s 2021 Best XI First Team, the league’s top honors. New Zealand-born defender Katie Bowen — another former Tar Heel — helps bolster that back line. At midfield, O’Sullivan can glance across the pitch and see Brazilian star Debinha Miri (known simply as Debinha), along with Meredith Speck, whom Nahas calls an energetic team leader. Another Brazilian international, forward Kerolin Nicoli Israel Ferraz (who also goes by just her first name), signed with the

Central defender Kaleigh Kurtz

team in January. “She will be one of the most exciting players in the league,” says Nahas. “We’re going to play, and we’re going to attack.” The team’s first-round pick, Virginia Tech midfielder Emily Gray, can see that focus in the approach by players like O’Sullivan. “The intensity level in training has been really high, and Denise doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” says Gray. “Details are super important at this level, and players like her demand a lot and hold you accountable.” The Courage have built a fan base fueled by their dedication and skill on the field, yet they also relish the opportunity to be role models to the next generation.

“When I was younger, anytime you turned on the TV, it was boys playing sports,” says Danielle Labrada, who coaches the NCFC 08 Thorns girls club, a local Challenge-level team. Caroline West, an elementary schooler on the Thorns, says it is important for players her age to see strong women competing. The loyalty here in the Triangle has impressed club president Francie Gottsegen: “The connection Courage fans feel to the team is like nothing I’ve experienced before,” she says. Perhaps no one appreciates that connection as much as Pinto. Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park was her home field both during her youth The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 75

“The Courage culture is showing up every day and putting in the hard work. That can get you to a good place.”— Denise O’Sullivan 76 | WALTER

club days and even while at UNC, during renovations to the Tar Heels’ Dorrance Field. This place is her stomping grounds. “It’s so special to be an example that you can work your way up through the soccer system and come back to represent your local pro team,” she says. It’s also a time when a career is becoming a better option for players. Not unlike other sports, women’s soccer has had to play catchup with the men’s leagues. For years, NWSL games were aired midweek, and midday, on the Lifetime Network. But this season, games will be broadcast via CBS Sports and associated entities. The NWSL and the NWSL Players Association also recently signed the league’s first Collective Bargaining Agreement that increased pay and compensation across the board. “We’re getting compensated better than we ever have before,” says

Kurtz, who was one of the Courage team representatives during negotiations. “It raises the standard.” And in February, the U.S. Women’s National Team and U.S. Soccer (the sport’s governing body in America) settled a lawsuit that ultimately means an equal rate of pay for men’s and women’s players for the national teams. Not that there aren’t still improvements to be made in the sport. Labrada, the youth coach, attended a coaches’ training session last summer when she noticed she was the only female coach on hand. Since then, North Carolina Football Club (NFCF) has created a Women’s Coaching Collective aimed at investing in female coaches throughout the various levels of the organization. According to NCFC, in fall 2021, girls made up 60% of players across all ages and levels, while a spring 2021 survey found that women only made up 12 to

15% of total coaches in the system. The club plans to use these numbers as benchmarks moving forward. But the development goes beyond the field and even involves opportunities in the boardrooms, administration, press boxes, and beyond. According to Gottsegen, NCFC is working to ensure that the players have opportunities awaiting them once they hang their boots up for good: “We really want to create a bridge for young girls so they realize that soccer can be an opportunity for them as a long-term career.” It’s a message that will resonate for generations to come. “It’s very important to show the girls I coach that we have a women’s team here that is in the top division in this country. It validates what they’re doing,” says Labrada. “It’s a way of saying, look what you can do, if you want to, right here in North Carolina. It’s not impossible.” The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 77

Carrying the weight of William Paul Thomas’ art




’ve met William Paul Thomas twice, both times inside an art gallery. He wasn’t present for our first meeting, but his work was. In October last year, I encountered his portrait of Alexander Manly, editor of The Daily Record, which was North Carolina’s only daily Black newspaper, as part of the Initiative 1897 exhibit at a gallery show in downtown Wilmington. The exhibit featured prominent Black civic leaders in the years preceding the 1898 race massacre, a violent coup d’état that saw Wilmington go from being one of America’s most successful Black cities to a place where racial terror and murder were used to take over Black-owned businesses and homes. The second time I met William was in late February inside the Nasher Museum of Art on the campus of Duke University, where his portrait series Cyanosis was part of an exhibit titled “Reckoning and Resilience: North Carolina Art Now.”


The subjects in the nine paintings are not as historically prominent as Alexander Manly, but they’re nonetheless important to William’s life. Each person is either someone he knows or someone he’s met during the course of a day, perhaps someone with whom he shared a passing conversation or a quiet moment that changed the trajectory of an afternoon. The name of the series is taken from the medical term that refers to the blue pallor skin takes on when it is not sufficiently oxygenated. The idea first took root in a portrait William painted of his young nephew Michael. He painted half of Michael’s face blue to emphasize the color of his skin. Soon, the use of blue grew to represent the presence of deep emotions — perhaps trauma, fear, or uncertainty — that lie beneath the surface of people’s lives while they present a calm face to the world. In an online interview with Artsuite, William shared the unifying theme of the series: “My question

through those paintings is: What would it look like if that trauma or adversity was shown on the skin? Would it invite people to be kinder to each other?” On the day I finally met William in person inside the Nasher Museum, my wife Mallory, our daughters, and I arrived half an hour early. While Mallory unpacked her camera gear and set off to scout the museum for places to set up, our daughters and I wandered through the exhibits. When we found the exhibit featuring William’s paintings, we paused and stood in front of them. The nine paintings are all closely cropped portraits of Black men in rows of three, with a self-portrait of William sitting at the center. Each of the men is looking in a different direction, some of them seeming to stare right into the viewer’s eyes. Strips of blue color their faces in various places: across the eyes like a blindfold, over the nose like a mask, or covering the mouth like a gag. William arrived, and we all introduced

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 79

This page: Scenes of William Paul Thomas in his studio. Opposite page: Holding a cinder block from his childhood home.

ourselves to one another. I’d been following his Instagram for several months and didn’t know what to expect from an artist who is wildly experimental and playful, while still earnest and sincere. The dichotomy a viewer might find in William’s work also seems present in his personality: he is formal but warm, thoughtful but quick to smile. He told us he’d just returned home on a flight from Chicago after spending the weekend at a wedding with his fiancée and their newborn daughter. We joked that he looked rested and photogenic for a man who’d spent the morning lugging bags, baby, and a car seat through airport terminals. His face softened for a moment at the mention of his being a new father, then he and Mallory got to work. Meanwhile, our daughters were feeling inspired by the art in the museum. I tore 80 | WALTER

pages loose from my notebook and fished pencils from my bag, and we found seats in the café and ordered snacks. I must have been feeling inspired myself because, like them, I began doodling on a blank page. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the faces of the men I’d just seen in William’s paintings, that strip of blue still hovering on the edges of my vision. I thought of deoxygenated skin and the videos I’d seen of Eric Garner and George Floyd, recalled their panicked voices saying, “I can’t breathe.” I looked down at my hands, one holding a pencil and the other resting on the table, the blue veins rolling atop the backs of my palms, not because my skin was deoxygenated or because I was experiencing latent trauma, but because my skin is pale and the blood inside them was moving freely. After we left the museum, we followed

William across the Duke campus to the studio where he teaches a painting class to undergraduates, which is just one of the courses he teaches at several nearby universities. Inside the classroom, one of his students was behind an easel, working on a project. He greeted her warmly, then I watched him return to his work on a portrait of a man named Larry Reni Thomas, a Wilmington native known as Dr. Jazz because of his extensive knowledge of the music’s history. The two men met when William was working on Initiative 1897. I asked William what interests him about painting people he meets. He lifted his brush from the canvas and considered my question, his eyes settling just above the top of his easel. “For a long time, my art had been contained within an academic context,” he says, a reference to his Masters of Fine

Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his teaching in the undergraduate classroom. “In portrait work, it’s important that the people that I invite [to be painted] don’t always belong to that same environment, so I’m having conversations with people who don’t necessarily have the same ties to UNC or Duke. I meet someone at the bus station and we strike up a conversation, and that’s a person I’m making a painting of. I start learning more about this area, or where I’m at, via those conversations. That’s how I’ve chosen to break away from a strictly academic environment.” I ask him if he specifically looks for subjects outside of academic settings, and he admitted that he does, but that he’s also interested in introducing art to people who do not always think of themselves as being individuals who appreciate it.

“Sometimes I make visits to places with people because of the location. The Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill is right on Columbia and Franklin, and buses run all around that area. So if I was talking to somebody about art, there have been times — if they have the time — I’ll say, Let’s take this to the museum,” he says. “Since I’ve identified museums and galleries as places I love to be as an artist and as a consumer of art, a lover of art, I don’t necessarily expect people to share that same interest. But if you tell me that you are not interested in art but you have not been inside a gallery, I challenge it and say, Then let’s go check it out,” he says. “I have relatives, friends, people I’ve met who feel like they don’t have a direct connection to art, and I disagree right away because I’m thinking, if you dress yourself in the morning or if you like a

certain model of car or if you like a certain movie, you are making choices about the visual world that suggest that you have some interest in aesthetics, even if you don’t identify as an artist or a person who likes art. You can treat the museum that way, where you intuitively defer to your own tastes and go in there and judge whether or not you like whatever you see or feel moved by it based on your own experiences and not whatever education you have.” When William considers how hesitant many people are to engage with art, he views his casual discussions with strangers as an opportunity that might lead them to a museum visit or to their portrait being painted: “It’s really of interest to me to engage in conversations where I try to demystify or deconstruct wherever that idea comes from.” William is also interested in deconThe Art & Soul of Raleigh | 81

William Paul Thomas in front of some of his work at the Nasher Museum of Art.


structing the role art played in his own life, especially during his childhood. There could be no better representation of this than the bright pink concrete block that rested on the floor nearby. I’d already seen the block on his website, and I knew it had been painted to match a wall William’s mother had painted in the apartment where he’d grown up with his sisters in the Altgeld Garden housing project on Chicago’s South Side. He bent down and picked up the block at his feet. “I extracted a single cinder block as a way to represent that memory,” he says. “It became a way to carry that experience forward as a part of my narrative. How much of her decision to paint that wall influenced my decision to become an artist? This domestic alteration, how did it impact on the way I see the world?” I asked him about the differences

between the burden of memory and the physical burden of lugging around a 40-pound block of cement. “I did that unconsciously,” he says, referring to the burden of memory, “and now I’m doing it consciously. I’m choosing to carry this weight with me.” He smiles. “There’s never any good reason to carry a cinder block around with you, but there might also not be a very good reason to let any traumatic or negative moments that I experienced as a child have an effect me in the present. Nevertheless, for better or worse, the things we experience through our lives are carried with us. I’m definitely carrying home with me.” I thought of his newborn daughter, a baby born in the Triangle, far from William’s Midwestern roots. What role would her father’s art play in her own conception of art’s role in her life? How

would she carry her childhood with her? He smiled, then he rested the block in his lap as if it were a newborn. “I hope she recognizes art as a normal, central fixture of her life, whether she is personally creating things or paying attention to the world around her. I hope she recognizes that it’s something valuable and precious.” He continues: “I hope she has an interest in exploring and discovery. I hope she gets to know Durham and North Carolina in a way that’s really intimate. I want her to carry with her how rich the world can be wherever she is as long as she’s paying attention.” If William’s daughter follows the example of her father — an artist who pays attention to his surroundings to capture the richness of a place and the people who inhabit it — I’ll bet she’ll learn to do just that. The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 83





Emmy Award winner, Pulitzer Prize finalist and correspondent at the Miami Herald

Contributing editor for The Assembly and former editor for The Washington Post

Brand director for SAS and the co-founder of Footpath Pictures




Distinguished professor and dean emeritus of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media

Renowned producer for CBS’s 60 Minutes and winner of 11 Emmy Awards

Founder and publisher of The Winston-Salem Chronicle

The annual Hall of Fame celebration supports the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and its work to develop future leaders. Visit to learn more about the Hall of Fame.


Debbie Knauss

Matthew Brown and Barry Kitchener

WALTER’s roundup of gatherings, celebrations, fundraisers, and more around Raleigh.

87 311 Gallery First Friday 87 Morrisville Cricket Expansion 89 Highlands Client Appreciation Night 90 WALTER Contributors Party 92 Decades and Generations 93 Oakwood Samedi Gras 94 Bill Satterwhite 102nd Birthday Celebration

To have your event considered for The Whirl, submit images and information at

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 85


Designed For Joy Handmade in our Raleigh studio

GALLERY 311 FIRST FRIDAY On March 4, 311 Gallery and Studios hosted an opening for its new exhibit, All Abstract. Featuring more than 80 works from artists across the country, the exhibition was a mix of painting, sculpture, textiles, and other media.

Providing immediate employment for women in crisis.

Large Leather Tote in Brown

Guests at 311 Gallery

517 W Cabarrus St. Suite A, Warehouse District shop and visit Monday-Saturday 10 AM-2 PM

courtesy 311 Gallery

Jim Burwinkel

Graciela Paz

MORRISVILLE CRICKET EXPANSION On February 3, Major League Cricket and the Town of Morrisville announced a multi-million-dollar public-private partnership to jointly invest in the expansion of Church Street Park, upgrading the facility into an international-quality cricket venue.

let’s socialize

@WalterMagazine Members of Morrisville Cardinals, Triangle Cricket League, Major League Cricket Representatives, Morrisville Staff and Morrisville Town Council

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 87


Kristy Woodson Harvey PRESENTING SPONSOR


Harvey’s newest book, The Wedding Veil, will be released on March 29.


Thursday, APRIL 28 Join WALTER at City Club Raleigh as we host Kristy Woodson Harvey, a New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Under the Southern Sky and The Peachtree Bluff Series. Over dinner and drinks, she’ll share stories from her latest novel, The Wedding Veil. Set at the Biltmore, this historical-contemporary novel is about Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt of Biltmore, a present-day family, and the famous, missing Vanderbilt veil.

Tickets and more information at WALTERMAGAZINE.COM/BOOKCLUB

THE WHIRL HIGHLANDS CLIENT APPRECIATION NIGHT Highlands Residential Mortgage hosted a client appreciation night March 2 at R&D Brewing’s new taproom, Seven Saturdays. Highlands Residential Mortgage is a boutique lending firm invested in the future of Raleigh and in cultivating relationships with local real estate agents to further grow the market. Highlands is led by Bill Duff, along with Sylvia Jurgensen and John Fain.

VOW Creative, Whitney Anthony

Escape to the Jenni Koppe, Christina Valkanoff, Bill Duff, Sylvia Jurgensen, Kathy Jones

SANDHILLS The Home of American Golf® beckons all visitors. From world-class golf to local shopping and dining, our welcoming Southern hospitality is why people have been coming home to the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area for more than 125 years. Plan Your SANDHILLS Escape today!

John Fain, Hannah Willoughby, Maggie Lawson, Ian Dunne

R&D Brewing

Bill Duff, Abbey Pope, Cristina Hurley

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 89 WALTER Magazine Jan - March 2022 Half Pg Ad.indd 1

11/19/21 2:26 PM

THE WHIRL WALTER CONTRIBUTORS PARTY On February 23, WALTER hosted a gathering for its contributing writers, photographers, and longtime advertisers. Hosted al fresco at Standard Beer + Food, it was an opportunity to reconnect, share stories, and (at long last!) celebrate all the fine work our WALTER community did in 2021.

Claren W Englebreth, AAMS® Financial Advisor 4301 Lake Boone Trl Suite 206 Raleigh, NC 27607 919-615-0054

courtesy WALTER

Guests enjoyed Standard’s back area

Robert Willet, Trey Bailey, Julie Nickens

Kait Gorman, David Woronoff, Ayn-Monique Klahre

Joshua Steadman, Geoff Wood, Keith Isaacs, S.P. Murray


wrights v ille

b e ach

beach resort

courtesy WALTER

Katelyn Purett, Sally Williams, Hannah Ross

Karen Howell, Cristina Hurley

Ayn-Monique Klahre, Catherine Currin, Billy Warden

Liz Condo, Addie Ladner

Wanda Mulvaney, Lenard Moore

Spring Breaks Loose From an impromptu getaway for two, to a spring break with the family, we have packages on the island of Wrightsville Beach that are perfect for any occasion. Our Resort Package is perfect for some fun in the sun; this two-night package includes two beach chairs and an umbrella, as well as breakfast in bed each morning. 844-891-9707 Justin Kase Conder, Catherine Currin, Katherine Snow Smith, Katherine Poole, Laura Wall

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 91

THE WHIRL DECADES AND GENERATIONS In celebration of its tenth anniversary and reaching a milestone $1 billion in assets under management, Balentine’s Raleigh office hosted a discussion about how individuals can preserve their own wealth and legacy for generations at the Carolina Country Club.

DAY TRIPPERS WELCOME “ExperieNCe Poetry by the Pond”

Sunday Salons National Poetry Month casual readings by North Carolina Poets. Bring your chairs and BYOB.

Free Admission

April 10 • 2 pm “Classical Music Sundays” Aurora Musicalis String Quartet performing in an intimate concert setting

$25 Supporters / $35 General Sponsored by: Deirdre Newton, Martha Parsons, Jack and Claudie Wells

April 24 • 11:30 am - 2 pm “Come Sunday” Jazz Brunch Leroy Jones, Jazz Trumpeter and brunch from a local restaurant

Supporters/General Tickets: $40/$50 - Band and Brunch; $25/$35 - Music Only Kids 12 & under: $15 Brunch, Free Show Sponsored by Aging Outreach Services and Ward Productions. Leroy Jones’ performance sponsored by UNC Pembroke.

For tickets visit:

Just a short drive away, there’s a perfect place to escape for the day. Our 100 year old historic house is a storied venue for events and programs that will spark your mind, and feed your senses. If you prefer, you are welcome to roam our 26 acres of gardens and grounds, or picnic on our lush lawns. We’re conveniently nestled in the heart of Southern Pines, a quaint town, which boasts a host of restaurants and cute boutiques that also offer something for everyone. So next time you have the urge to get out of town, put us on your GPS. You can experience a real getaway, but still get home in a single day.

Jen Pcholinksy

Catherine Currin

April 3, 10, 17, 24 • 4 pm

Adrian Cronje, Rob Ragsdale, Robert Balentine

We’re celebrating 100 years of our historic Boyd House with 100 events in 2022.

To receive $5 off, use promo code: DTWA

Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines, NC A 501(c)(3) organization Adrian Cronje, Robert Balentine


OAKWOOD SAMEDI GRAS On February 26, the Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood observed its annual Samedi Gras celebration. Themed A Menagerie of Mythical Beasts, the block party was headlined by the Awesomettes and Oakwood’s 2nd Line Band, and included the coronation of the coronation of King Leonidas XI and this year’s Imperial Empress, followed by a parade.



Ann Robertson (AWESOMETTES,BAND); Debbi Knauss (COUPLE, CENTAUR)

Come to the 19th Annual Yadkin Valley Wine Festival on May 21, 2022. Come SAVOR wine from over 20 Yadkin Valley Wineries & Vineyard.

Jackie Twisdale, Terry Harper, the Awesomettes, Arlene Sanders

MAY 21, 2022 11am to 5pm Elkin, NC Scan for more info:

Charity Lail, Matt Lail

Chris Crew

Shuttles available from hotels $10 per person.

Oakwood 2nd Line

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 93

THE WHIRL BILL SATTERWHITE 102ND BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION This March, Bill Satterwhite celebrated his 102nd birthday with family and friends with an outdoor party. Around here, Satterwhite is known for his work getting bluebird boxes made and installed around Raleigh to help replenish our native bluebird population.

Breeze into Spring. New! The peppy slub tee from Mer Sea.

Charles Satterwhite, Bill Satterwhite, Peggy Davis, BJ Satterwhite.

courtesy Satterwhite family

nofo @ the pig | 2014 fairview road | 919.821.1240 |

Charles Satterwhite, BJ Satterwhite, Peggy Davis, Bill Satterwhite

The lively group


Family and Friends


Carolina Ballet, NC Symphony, Raleigh Little Theatre (SHOWS); Heyward (HEYWARD); SP Murray (CARON);

Take WALTER to go! There’s always something to discover on our website and social media. FOLLOW US @WALTERMAGAZINE




20+ CAN’T MISS SHOWS THIS SPRING Immerse yourself in the rich Triangle performing arts scene with these picks for classical music, theater, dance, and more.

CLARENCE HEYWARD UNVEILS POWERFUL NEW WORK AT CAM This exhibit from the North Carolina artist explores family life with themes inspired by the lockdown and George Floyd’s murder.


Studio scenes with Elena Caron, an embroidery artist, mother & creative who immigrated here from Ukraine. Our hearts are with her native country.

WORK. DINE. LIVE. This is where Raleigh happens. Vibrant energy meets classic Carolina style at City Club Raleigh, the city’s go-to destination for high-tech business amenities, outstanding personalized service and world-class fun. This is the place where industry, professional and civic leaders gather in the states capital for meaningful business connections and vibrant social activity. Mention Walter Magazine for a special membership offer!

919.834.8829 I I 150 Fayetteville St. Suite 2800 I Wells Fargo Capital Center I Raleigh, NC 27601 The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 95



hese days it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all that’s changing in Raleigh. Here are four of the most exciting projects in the works. HOLIDAY INN MOVING TO FIVE POINTS When Hillsborough Street’s Holiday Inn property was sold to a New York developer earlier this year, the Lassiter Group knew it had to act fast. The Raleigh-based development group quickly raised $27 million and partnered with Preservation North Carolina to purchase the iconic circular structure. Their plan: move the entire building to the center of the Five Points intersection, where it will be converted into a mixed-use project that also functions as a traffic-calming roundabout. The redevelopment will transform existing hotel rooms into condominiums, with commercial space on the ground and top floors. Finch’s restaurant has signed a letter of intent to occupy the ground floor, while the top will be a bar and dining space shared by Churchill’s and The Point. The Lassiter Group plans to reactivate the spinning top floor of the building, which has remained motionless since The Connells performed a concert there in 1991. “We see this as a win for all parties. A unique feature of Raleigh will be saved and enjoyed by generations to come,” says Myrick Howard, president of Preservation NC. FERRY STOP COMING TO THE NEUSE Planners from the City of Raleigh are working with NCDOT on a project that will finally give Raleigh residents the option of traveling to the coast by boat. The concept was born after officials learned about the existing ferry route between Figure 8 and Chapel Hill, as featured in the Netflix series Outer Banks. Plans call for the dredging and widening of over 100 miles of the Neuse, and the project will tie in to existing Greenway and Bus Rapid Transit plans, with the first stops planned for Old Milburnie and Crabtree Creek. “Within a few short years you’ll be able to bike along the greenway, hop on the OBX ferry, and be at the beach in time for


NEW Developments A flurry of real estate activity has the town buzzing. Here’s what’s happening… by SETH CROSSNO illustration by TODD BENNER dinner,” says John B. Routledge, the current Head of Ferry Route Development at NCDOT. “And once the ferry casinos are up and running, the project will practically pay for itself.” Initial funding will come from a retroactive tax on Big Rock winners from the previous 20 years. TARGET PLANNED FOR OAKWOOD Responding to the needs of the neighborhood’s increasing family-oriented demographics, the Committee for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood has approved plans to construct a 127,000square-foot Target within the historic district. The brand worked with local

architect Louis Cherry to design an exterior that fits in with the surrounding Victorian-era architecture. “It’s important that this Target feel historically accurate, so the new building will include many classic Second Empire elements, such as a Mansard roof, finials that incorporate the brand’s bulls-eye logo, and a generous front porch,” says Cherry. Says one Oakwood resident, who requested anonymity: “I know I should be opposed to any new development, but I actually love this idea.” K&W RETURNING TO VILLAGE DISTRICT We wish! April Fool’s, y’all.

4401 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27612

(919) 571-2881


Choices are our specialty. As you can see, at our new Oberlin Road location, we specialize in specialties. Twelve of them at last count. Which means you have all sorts of choices. Which, in turn, means you have access and convenience. Visit us at or visit us in person. It’s your choice. Specialties at 505 Oberlin Road • • • • •

ENT — Head & Neck Surgery Heart & Vascular — Cardiology Imaging Services by Raleigh Radiology Laboratory Services OB-GYN

Specialties at 601 Oberlin Road • Primary Care • Urgent Care

• • • • •

Physical and Occupational Therapy Surgery Urology & Pediatric Urology Wake Orthopaedics Wake Ortho Urgent Care

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