Editor’s note: The Carrack moving from West Parrish Street to the Goldenbelt District feels like the end of an era. When pits are being dug for skyscraper foundations down the block, Art moves out. The pace of change is disconcerting to some. Others can remember all the way back to when The Palace International was on West Parrish Street. What did The Carrack’s Fifth Anniversary and moving party look like to someone who hadn’t been there before? (For a look back, see our story from a 2011 Pop-up Show at The Carrack and Catherine Howard’s 2011 Carrack exhibit “Veil Tease”. We have written more than 50 articles about the Carrack and shows at the Carrack over the last five years.)
The end of the first Carrack
by: Tyler French
I’ve never been fond of parallel parking, but alas that was the only option in the middle of downtown Durham.
I slung my camera over my shoulder, and started looking.
111 West Parrish was it?
All I saw were construction signs and cars.
Thankfully, I spotted a small sign on the street that helped direct me. “The Carrack” in red.
I opened the glass door, walked down the narrow entranceway, and climbed stairs towards the sounds of a crowded second floor. Squeezed into a medium sized room, more than 50 people pushed through one another to have their turn to gaze at the variety of art.
Sculptures stood on pedestals throughout the room, while drawings, paintings, and other two-dimensional art hung from the walls. Everyone seemed to be delighted, but there was a remorseful feeling in the air. As they crowded around shuffling from artwork to artwork, they knew it would be the last time they’d see it hanging from these walls, or sitting on that pedestal in this room.
Volunteers from the Scrap Exchange, another local arts organization, had set up a table in the midst of the commotion. The table served as a work-station for the creation and decoration of noise-makers. This where many of the younger members of the audience had congregated.
The room soon fell silent, as the Carrack’s co-founder and director, Laura Ritchie, stepped onto the windowsill. She spoke sentimentally initially, reflecting on how far the organization had come since first setting up shop between these walls. But her tone changed as she went on ecstatically about all the benefits and opportunities the new location would bring. She was excited to lead us there.
We all funneled down the narrow stairway out onto the city sidewalk where the Bulltown Strutters were waiting.
The Strutters, a small New Orleans-Style Parade band lead an 0.8 mile march down East Main Street to the new Carrack location. It was a hot summer afternoon, not the most comfortable conditions for walking, and granted I had the not-so-bright idea to wear khakis, but the walk was enjoyable nonetheless. People strolled to the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching In” and spent the time talking to their friends, meeting and making new ones. I talked with a family who had visited the Carrack since its inception, and even in the heat, the kids were having fun with their noise-makers.
The march soon came to an end, and we were all met with ice-cold refreshments and snacks in the new, much larger space. 947 East Main Street may have felt very empty at this time, but it will soon feel much like the old Carrack, just with more art, more space, and their own parking.