Located just east of downtown sits a low slung, single-story, brick building on the northeast corner of East and Davie Streets. It once housed a neighborhood dentist office, and then it was home to The Carolinian, a community newspaper. Now, it’s the working studio and do-it-yourself gallery aptly named The Pink Building. The building is actually pink, painted with two tones to be precise. There’s an urban legend about why the building was painted this way, but that’s a story for another day.
Recently acquired by James Goodnight, the building’s place within the community continues. While exploring a series of avenues to show her works of art, Shelley Smith found herself with a year lease and an ally offering her a great possibility to explore artistically. Smith joined The Pink Building Project to support the arts the arts in the closely knit Raleigh neighborhood just west of Hunter Elementary School. She sees in the building the potential to become a defining piece of outreach in the community.
In fact, reaching into the community is something that Smith and the other artists in The Pink Building seem determined towards. Together, they work with ancient and modern methods of cutting, sewing and quilting. Their work echoes the world around them. Planning, patience and persistence will make a quilt, and the same is what a makes a vibrant neighborhood thrive.
Four artists who met while in college have been working in the studios at the Pink Building since mid July 2015. One of their common threads was being in the same graduate school program at North Carolina State University together. In the large communal working space in the north end of the building, recent graduate Kelly Kye, is pinning together the pieces of an heirloom quilt while completed works by Shelley Smith and Scott Donley adorn the opposing walls with their very different but equally modern graphic aesthetic and surreal color palettes.
The other studio artist, Mackenzie Bullard, develops work rooted in ancient methods of natural dyeing fiber and weaving. Together they are of the ages, but all of it rings from a similar source, textiles. There is an energy coming from these artists here, as they move forward, together.
Earlier this summer Smith visited a fish fry across the street at Smith Temple: FWB Church where she met Pastor Holland. He has been the Pastor at the church for three years and has a vibrant congregation. Smith, a Raleigh native, and her studio mates bring with them a desire to be a part of their neighborhood and look forward to learning about and becoming a piece of the rich cultural fabric that is now their backyard.