It doesn’t take a Disney fanatic to appreciate the five films scholars call the “Golden Age” of Walt Disney Studios: Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, and, of course, Snow White. The
It doesn’t take a Disney fanatic to appreciate the five films scholars call the “Golden Age” of Walt Disney Studios: Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, and, of course, Snow White.
The first-ever full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs wowed its audience twice, wrote one Los Angeles Times reviewer: “Once when you see it and hear it, and again when it suddenly comes over you that what you saw and heard was 250,000 handmade drawings photographed one frame at a time.”
Now, at UNC Greensboro’s Weatherspoon Art Museum, a collection of those drawings is on display — and some will even be gifted to the museum after the exhibit comes to a close in December. “There is absolutely no substitute for teaching, and learning, from an original work of art,” says Dr. Heather Holian, who teaches the art and history of animation at UNCG. “From a teaching perspective, this generous gift is a game-changer.”
Reaching both UNCG students and Greensboro residents is just one of the goals of The Weatherspoon, a state-of-the-art museum that bridges the campus and the broader community. With more than 17,000 square feet of exhibition space, its six galleries of modern and contemporary art — and a sculpture courtyard — are available free of admission.
Like The Weatherspoon, a collection of venues across Greensboro show innovation at its finest and make it easy to access the arts. Read on for destinations sure to leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.
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Move from The Weatherspoon downtown to GreenHill Center for NC Art, a space for artists and art lovers to engage with the modern North Carolina artistic community.
Currently on display is a retrospective of photographer John Rosenthal’s 50+ year career. One striking image in the collection features a black-and-white portrait of a shirtless young boy standing on a desolate path, looking back into the mist. His youthful attire contrasts with the serious look on his face, bringing to mind the difficulties of facing the unknown and the bravery required to grow up in an unpredictable modern world.
GreenHill also educates up-and-coming artists of physical movement. The facility hosts Dance Project, a nonprofit organization that cultivates the field of modern dance — and serves as a hub for dance performances and classes taught by UNCG School of Dance alumni and community members.
Check Greenhill’s calendar of events, which features regular Family Nights and events like concerts, wine tastings, and guest exhibitions. For the perfect gift or souvenir, stop by The Shop at GreenHill to peruse North Carolina’s finest selection of artwork, crafts, decor, and jewelry from more than 100 local artists and artisans.
Also downtown, Greensboro Project Space — a multi-purpose art space connecting the UNCG School of Art with the local Greensboro community — provides a space for UNCG students and local artists to nurture their creative endeavors.
Across from the International Civil Rights Center and Museum at 111 E. February One Place, GPS hosts artists working on their latest projects, from painting and printmaking to sculpture, photography, and textiles. In addition to art exhibitions, the space is home to pop-up musical and dance performances and workshops. “We’re off the beaten path, but once you find us, we will leave you wanting more, and you’ll be back to visit us again soon,” says director Caitlyn Schrader. “We rotate what’s happening weekly or bi-weekly.”
According to Schrader, a lot of their visitors are surprised to hear about free art shows or interactive exhibits. “It’s all within reach as they are walking, grabbing dinner, or shopping downtown,” she says. “Places like GPS are a way to continue cultivating a strong, supportive, and vibrant local art scene here in Greensboro.”
In September 2021, when the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors with a performance by the Grammy award-winner and Greensboro native Rhiannon Giddens, it gave locals and visitors a new reason to come downtown. And come downtown they have. In its first two years, 146 shows at the 3,000-seating-capacity venue were sold out. The Lion King, alone, had an economic impact of more than $13 million.
Before each show begins, the 8,000-square-foot limestone and glass Phillips Hall hosts mingling art patrons sipping glasses of wine and reading the playbills. Shows range from Broadway touring performances to concerts and symphony events.
Even more arts experiences are around the corner. Only a five-minute drive from the Tanger Center, students and faculty of UNCG enrich Greensboro’s arts community at the College of Performing and Visual Arts. Artistically-minded folks regularly attend UNCG’s Concert and Lecture Series, the longest-running of its kind in North Carolina, which presents world-class touring acts and guest lecturers. Its 2024 lineup includes Jewel, the four-time Grammy award-nominated singer-songwriter, actress, and author, as well as Chris Botti, a Grammy award-winning jazz trumpeter and composer.
Located across the street from the Weatherspoon Art Museum, UNCG Auditorium is UNCG’s largest and most prestigious performing arts venue. Originally constructed in 1927, the beautiful proscenium-style theater has 1,642 seats, and in 2008 underwent a $19 million modernization project to improve acoustics, guest comfort, and back-of-house facilities. It is also home to the School of Music’s annual “Collage” event, where 300 musicians perform for one night only on October 28.
Just down Tate Street, The Pam and David Sprinkle Theatre is a 140-seat, black-box theater that hosts UNCG’s School of Theatre productions like this year’s Night of the Living Dead and Galatea, or Whatever You Be. The Sprinkle Theatre is your best place to catch artists from Greensboro’s vibrant young theater community, and the small size ensures that every seat is “the best seat in the house.”
At UNCG’s Tew Recital Hall, see performances by world-class touring acts, as well as free recitals of undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Music. Don’t miss this opportunity to catch artists before they hit the big time — and brag that you “knew them before they were famous!”
The famous aphorism by artist Banksy: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” is embodied in the Greensboro Four Mural located at the Windsor Recreation Center.
This large-scale, black-and-white mural by Nils Westergard, meant as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for racial justice and equality, is a portrait of the four young men who famously helped kick off the Civil Rights Movement with their sit-in at downtown Greensboro’s Woolworth lunch counter.
More than 300 street art installations adorn walls all over the Gate City, but downtown Greensboro is one of your best bets for a concentrated display. The city maintains a map and database of local murals on its website.
Don’t miss the stretch of West Gate City Boulevard between Tipton Place and Eugene Street in Greensboro’s Southside district, which features numerous large mural installations and is home to the headquarters of developer Marty Kotis’s Outdoor Gallery, which features more than 200 commissioned works of art by renowned street artists.
The annual three-day North Carolina Folk Fest extravaganza enlivens downtown Greensboro with folk art, music, food, and crafts, with a special emphasis on North Carolina artists. On the weekend of September 8-10, more than 300 artists and bands perform on multiple stages downtown, including several UNCG School of Music faculty and alumni. Admission is free to the public.
The North Carolina Folk Festival non-profit organization, which presents the festival, also offers a number of smaller events throughout the year, such as the Folk Fest 5k, Songs of Hope and Justice (an annual concert featuring local musicians to promote social justice), and Not Your Average Folk Contest, which invites North Carolina-based folk musicians to compete for prizes and a chance to perform at Folk Fest.
From its home in the heart of Greensboro, Scuppernong Books embodies the intimate appeal of the independent bookstore. Not too small, not too big, but just right, every inch of the bookstore feels lived-in and personal. A feast for booklovers, the selection places a special emphasis on socially conscious works relevant to the local community.
Pick up a pastry or sandwich from the café—you can pair it with a cup of coffee, beer, or even on-tap wine—and settle in for the evening to enjoy writing groups, book clubs, readings from local authors, trivia, open mics, and concerts.
Stuart Dischell, a UNCG professor of poetry whose poem After the Exhibition will be included in the 2023 edition of Best American Poetry, is a locals’ favorite guest for Scuppernong readings. “Scuppernong Books is the heart of Greensboro’s literary community,” he says. “Its highly informed owners and staff have a well-curated selection of titles, and there’s a welcoming atmosphere.”