It’s time to take a break from the winter blues. Lucky for us, the Triangle’s vibrant arts scene has enough color to feed our souls until springtime. From leaping dancers to a singing Cinderella, from electrifying visual art to the thrum and strum of symphonies and bands, the arts are alive and can revive through the frosty winter months. Here are some of the can’t-miss spots to beat the chill in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
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North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh
It’s easy to turn a visit to this beautiful museum into an all-day event. The NCMA is home to more than a dozen galleries with works from around the world. And if that’s not enough, outside the museum, you’ll find the 164-acre Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, which features public art installations, picnic spots, wooded trails, and plenty of natural beauty. The museum is also a great spot to bring kids — every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., the museum offers first-come, first-served family tours of its collections. The themes change each month; January’s is “Moo, Chirp, Roar!” and February’s is “We ♥ Art!” Want to leave the children at home? Join an adult tour for groups smaller than 10, Tuesdays through Sundays.
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607
The Gregg Museum of Art & Design, Raleigh
Located on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, the Gregg Museum’s building alone is worthy of a visit. Once North Carolina State University’s chancellor’s residence, the museum and its lush grounds have been exquisitely renovated with a 15,000-square-foot addition to show off the more than 35,000 pieces of art in its permanent collection — as well as works from the creative minds of the university’s design and textiles students. Admission is free.
The Gregg Museum of Art & Design
1903 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607
Carolina Ballet, Raleigh
Since the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh launched as a professional company in 1998, it has garnered critical praise and staged more than 100 programs. This winter, check out their production of Love in the Times of the Day at Fletcher Opera Theater from January 21-February 17: Art literally leaps from the canvas in this performance based on paintings by the Czech artist Alfonse Mucha, best known for his dreamy Art Nouveau posters at the turn of the 20th century. J. Mark Scearce’s specially commissioned score soars beneath pianist William Wolfram’s fingers as the dancers do above him. It’s romantic enough for a Valentine’s Day date — or any other evening.
3401 Atlantic Avenue #131
Raleigh, NC 27604
St. David’s School, Raleigh
St. David’s School in Raleigh has enough performance art to last the season and beyond. The pre-K-12 school’s musicals wow so many theatergoers that this year they’ve added an extra date to their often-sold-out shows. Get tickets now for this season’s Cinderella, which runs February 13-17. In addition to plays, St. David’s performing arts programs offer award-winning band and choir performances throughout the year. Close your eyes, and you’ll believe that you’re in New York City’s Carnegie Hall. For a complete list of shows, programs, and to learn how to purchase tickets, visit stdavidsraleigh.org.
St. David’s School
3400 White Oak Road
Raleigh, NC 27609
Carolina Theatre, Durham
This historic institution has been at the heart of downtown Durham since 1926. After opening as the Durham Auditorium, the venue was renovated three years later and renamed the Carolina Theatre, a movie theater that also presented stage shows and concerts. By the 1940s and ’50s, the city-owned Carolina Theatre offered live shows with stars like Ronald Reagan and Katharine Hepburn. Today, it offers a variety of entertainment to please just about anyone. This winter, make plans to hear a rocking Beatles tribute band, an comedy show from Chicago’s famous Second City improv troupe, Grammy-winning male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and more.
309 West Morgan Street
Durham, NC 27701
Sharp 9 Gallery Jazz Club, Durham
If you like jazz but a big venue isn’t really your thing, this Durham jazz club is a sure bet. In January, UNC’s great jazz bassist Jason Foureman will pluck a beat, the La Fiesta Latin Jazz Quintet will get you swinging, and the Stephen Anderson Quartet will be grooving into the night. In addition to shows, the club offers classes for musicians in the early evenings most weeknights so you can explore everything from standards to blues and bebop with experts like Scott Sawyer and Dave Finucane.
Sharp 9 Gallery Jazz Club
4608 Industry Lane
Durham, NC 27713
Hayti Heritage Center, Durham
One of the Durham art scene’s best-kept secrets is its beloved Hayti Heritage Center, located in the historic St. Joseph’s AME Church. The center is a cultural arts and arts education venue committed to celebrating the African-American experience. In addition to hosting the Hayti Film Festival from February 14-16, the center celebrates the arts by hosting all kinds of musical performances, theater productions, and art, including a poetry slam on the third Saturday of every month at 8 p.m.
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27701
PlayMakers Repertory Company, Chapel Hill
Sometimes, the best way to warm up is with a good story. At PlayMakers Repertory, the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina, you’ll find tradition backed by history. In 1918, a traveling troupe of university and local artists called themselves the Carolina PlayMakers. They took their final bow in 1976, and PlayMakers launched as a professional regional theater. More than 40 years later, PlayMakers has produced more than 300 shows. In one of the final productions of the 2018-2019 season, playwright Charly Evon Simpson presents Jump, showing from January 23-February 10. The play promises to be at turns heartbreaking and funny, as it cycles through life and death and life again.
PlayMakers Repertory Company
120 Country Club Road
Durham, NC 27701
North Carolina Symphony, Raleigh
For an elegant night out, the world-class North Carolina Symphony never disappoints. With 66 full-time professional musicians, the orchestra performs 175 concerts and events each year in more than 90 North Carolina counties. But you can’t beat a visit to the symphony’s state headquarters at the Meymandi Concert Hall in downtown Raleigh. In January and February, classical shows include Mozart, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky, as well as a couple of fun-for-everyone performances, such as “Valentine’s Romantic Classics” February 7-9.
North Carolina Symphony
3700 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 130
Raleigh, NC 27612