Friday night at The Carrack

The room was packed

Friday night at The Carrack on Parrish Street was mobbed for artist Iris Gottlieb’s “Inventories and Observations.” It felt like a family affair. The Clarion Content is fond of saying that Durham has 2 and 1/2 degrees of separation, as compared to the standard six degrees of anecdotal lore. Friday night it was on display.

The room was packed

<The room was packed>

Some of the godparents of this fantastic Durham cultural milieu were there. While I was speaking to the guru of Durham art, Jim Lee, artist and teacher Helen Griffin strolled up. She has taught more than one of Durham’s fabulous young artistic talents. You might recall the “Homegrown and under 35” show at the Craven Allen Gallery that she  was instrumental in organizing.

Many of the stalwarts of this fantastic Durham cultural milieu were in the crowded gallery too. The art was literally selling at such a rapid clip, zero-commission gallery director and co-founder, Laura Richie, could barely keep up. Your editor  had a chance to speak with Akira Morita of Orangutan Swing, who’s Durham Stitch Project is coming together this week. Akira has been collecting words1 to build a tapestry of our community in word art. We agreed that there is such a cultural hum in Durham, so much buzzing and happening that for those of us who make art, it almost feels as though there is a force field available in the air, a force multiplier, a vibe that is making each of us exponentially better, simply by sharing the space with this many other cultural movers and shakers.

Some of the catalysts, movers and shakers of this fantastic Durham cultural milieu were among those taking in Iris Gottlieb’s pen and ink drawings. As I tried to circle towards the door against the current of the sea of people continually washing inward, I ran in Jonathan Le Sueur and RoSean Franks of LiLa. Talent pulls in other talent, it is a Durham equation that is continually repeated. Inertia is possible in motion as well as at rest. When things get on a certain roll, that roll takes on self-verifying momentum. You could feel the virtuous circle snowballing down hill in the Carrack.

When I finally got to the door, I ran into a fellow Mercury Studio’er on his way into the show. (Natch!) And another precocious young thing, someone much more frequently seen inside watering holes like the James Joyce or The Federal, who exclaimed in surprise to see me there. (On her first visit to The Carrack.)

I smiled as I headed downstairs, thinking back on co-founder John Wendelbo’s line of discussion which I got to hear at the apex of my deepest penetration into the room,  almost all the way to the far wall, in front of cooler heaped with icy cold PBR’s, Wendelbo said to me, this is what we had hoped for. This was our plan. Multiple overlapping constituencies of Art loving and Art making Durham.

They were on display.

1On the street, in the gallery, person to person from the likes of you.
Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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