“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Carl G. Jung
And what happens when there are four or five personalities? That’s what I wanted to find out when I spent a day at Wingmaker Arts Collaborative: An Evolving Experiment in Charlotte, NC. Wingmaker is in a nondescript warehouse section of Charlotte’s South End. The aroma of cinnamon rolls baking in the industrial bakery across the street makes my mouth water when I get out of the car. Lucky for me and the artists, the bakery doesn’t sell to the public! Wingmaker‘s front room is open classroom and gallery space. The anterior space is separated from the back by half-walls, keeping the studio airy. The back is divided into four open studios, individual spaces defined by easels, shelves full of brushes and pencils, colorful artwork, file cabinets and folding screens.
Each artist’s studio reflects her personality and art, but centering it all is the sacred space where each burns a candle when they arrive. And it’s that sense of creative, sacred space that permeates from the walls and that I feel in my bones. On the shelf with the candles is a buxom angel, formed in clay by artist and writer Rebecca Haworth. Rebecca is one of the original members of the collaborative and I asked her to tell us the story …
“Initially Sharon Sullivan and I were looking for studio space to share with no other plans. She needed to relocate from her studio in NoDa [arts district in Charlotte] and I had to relocate my art practice from every inch of the house and garage in order to save civility in my family!
We looked at physical space in several locations. Dilworth Artisan Studios. A couple little houses. A couple of other buildings on the West Boulevard. Around the corner in some of the other warehouse buildings. We drove by 207 West Worthington and there was a sign ‘for rent’. We called and the space had been rented the day before!
We kept looking casually, but could never find a place that seemed right. Six months later, I drove by and the sign was back outside the space. I called; we looked and took it on the spot.
Sharon and I moved in and set up our studios. We had the intention of trying to find two more artists to join us in the next few weeks/months. We had several people look. I lured Karon over and she thought she would be right at home and she is. She was the third one on board.
Summer rolled around, Sharon tore the ceiling out of the front area, Karon almost fled, we worked our butts off, painted, painted the floor. When fall rolled around it looked so good that we thought we needed a name and a sign. It only seemed proper.”
Kim’s note ~ The previous renter was a stained-glass artist. The space seemed to be asking for the artistic spirit to take up residence. Tomorrow I’ll open A Writer’s Window a little wider and let you see how Wingmaker Arts Collaborative has allowed that spirit to flourish.
Ohhhh, each tease is more tantalizing than the last! There really is MAGIC in that place, or perhaps it’s just the mystique sprinkled around by the angels/fairies/artists that share the space. Can’t wait for the rest of this journey to unfold, to see and hear and smell and feel what is in store for us!!
Welll…. really exciting news for Rebecca and Caroline … and that’s all I’m sayin’ until tomorrow 🙂
Kim, you are a woman on Fire! Thanks for introducing our collaborative at Wingmaker in such a vibrant and informative way. The “Theatah” piece is also eloquent and inspiring. And your boots are made for walking in the rain piece is a brilliant tribute to Wendell Berry. I also loved hearing about you and Claire and the Hub City writer’s workshop. I’ve never heard of the Fourth Wall concept about losing/alienating readers but I found it interesting, especially when it comes to “dicey” words such as God.
Thanks, Karon! (cheeks are blushing) Having a great time through the Window and thrilled you have decided to join me. Wingmaker is an unbelievable place and I feel blessed to know about it and all of you. I hope this year you’ll have a few more exhibits … maybe one of Wingmaker artists! 🙂
Hi Kim –
So glad that I was finally able to sit down and read about Wingmaker! Sounds like a wonderful concept. I’m sometimes in the neighborhood, is one ok stop by or are appointments preferred?
Hi Ev! I’m glad you were able to stop by too. I’m sure they wouldn’t turn you away if you stopped by, but I think calling/emailing ahead would be better. They have classes and writing sessions at various times so you probably wouldn’t want to intrude on those, and you want to make sure someone is going to be there! They will be posting fall classes soon.