Wingmaker Arts Collaborative~Caroline Coolidge Brown

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” C.G Jung

When I arrived at Wingmaker, Rebecca, Karon and Jennifer Halls were already there, having had a morning writing session. They kept hoping Caroline would stop by later (I’d not met Caroline) and kept telling me to ask about ‘George’ if she did.

Here is Caroline and George!

Caroline Coolidge Brown and George!

Caroline Coolidge Brown and George!

Caroline doesn’t have actual studio space, but with George, she doesn’t really need one 🙂  And ‘he’ and Caroline are perfect for each other~both are filled with loads of surprises and energy and on the go! Here’s Caroline’s story and I think you’ll agree.

Hi! I became interested in Wingmaker after moving to Charlotte and dipping my toes into as many art groups as I could find. I met Martha at a bookbinding workshop at the  Women’s Center Art Co-Op. She told me about her great studio and that she taught there. I was looking for a place to teach, so she introduced me to Rebecca who invited me to use Wingmaker as my teaching home. (I work on my own pieces in a small studio at home).

I have worked in group spaces before, at the Brooklyn Art Gym in New York and the Green Rice Gallery in NoDa. My studio in Lee School for the Arts (a converted school house saved from demolition by turning it into an art, dance and music studios) in Paris, TN was featured in the magazine, Cloth, Paper, Scissors. I enjoy being around other artists and seeing the development of their new work. But the best part of being in a group like this is the opportunity to have an artistic community. I also love that our work is so different from each others’ work. And since I incorporate text into most of my work, I love talking to Karon, our writer, about words and the meaning of language. And Rebecca’s abstract imagery challenges me to work more organically and to look for shapes in my more representational work.

I teach mixed media painting and visual journaling twice a week at Wingmaker. I’ve also done a few ‘paint parties’ that create collective art pieces. I have students who come from uptown offices, from Matthews, and as far away as Gastonia and Hickory. They love the access to the studio from the highway and love being in the funky South End neighborhood. I think they love most of all the smell of donuts in the morning from the industrial bakery on the corner! My journaling classes all begin with a prompt – either written or visual – that inspires the work for that day. Some new students struggle to realize their ideas are all good and that there’s no one way to make a journal page (unlike the right and wrong way to paint a vase of flowers that some are used to). It’s refreshing to not be in the art school mentality. It’s all about layers in the visual journals – journaling, creative writing, composition, and artwork. We put everything in there, but things can be buried and hidden in the layers.

journaling page

journaling page

I love that my classes are good for beginners or experienced artists. We all benefit from seeing the different ways that we each approach the same topic. And we love to share the work we’ve done at home or new supplies that we’ve discovered. Working with poetry and visual prompts is so much more abstract and creative than just painting from a photo or still life. I always have music in my class – use Pandora and try to keep it pretty lively. I’m always happy to take requests. One morning we tuned into a Bollywood station since the prompt I gave had to do with India.

When the economy turned south, I went from working primarily on gallery paintings and hosting occasional workshops to teaching regularly  and working less on sales. It’s been a financial and mental lifesaver and brought me together with many of my new friends in Charlotte (just moved here 3 years ago). I teach introduction to Visual Journaling on Wednesday mornings and Freestyle Visual Journaling on Thursday mornings. I have other specific workshops like Pet Portraits, or Mixed Media Botanicals throughout the year and host Around the World Paint Parties for groups.

One of George's boxes of surprises and inspiration

One of George’s boxes of surprises and inspiration

I think the demographic I appeal to tends to be mostly women, though I have had a couple guys in my nighttime classes. I’ve had women who either work part-time or from home, have children and want to get out of the house, or are retired. All of them are looking for a place to be creative, to learn new things, and to have an artistic community.

Kim’s note~ Caroline was recently selected as one of nine artists to participate in the inaugural Community Supported Arts program.  Visit Caroline and see some of her work at

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2 Responses to Wingmaker Arts Collaborative~Caroline Coolidge Brown

  1. Caroline is a fantastic energetic teacher and a fine artist. We sure have enjoyed her energy at the studio.

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