Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I am an artist beginning a public art project in downtown Wilmington. In order for this project to proceed, I am asking friends, family and the community to help support the key project by donating unused/ miscut keys. I need 56,000. That’s right: 56,000

‘Keys with a View’ is a temporary public art project to be installed on the fencing that surrounds the construction site of the new residential property, The View on Water Street, in downtown Wilmington. Artist facilitator Dixon Stetler will collect thousands of no-longer used keys and hang them onto the grid of the fence using paperclips.
‘Keys with a View’ is an opportunity for the community to engage in the production of public art. The public will be invited to hang their spare keys onto the fence, or to donate keys for the project. A tremendous sense of pride and kinship comes with accomplishing a project with others, even more so when it is in the public realm. This connection between the community and the art makes for a meaningful public art project.
The key is an object with many symbolic meanings. For a little girl with a diary, a key means privacy. A teenager with a driver’s license sees a key as the promise of freedom. To latch-key kids, children who let themselves in at home after-school, keys represent safety. For a first time homeowner, a key is a dream realized. Thousands of these talismans are safely tucked away in our drawers, until their purpose has been forgotten or relinquished. Keys as we know them are now becoming obsolete, transforming them into an appropriate material for art. Hotel rooms are accessed with plastic cards, and a car starts without ever taking the "key" out of your pocket. Alluding to the future of The View on Water Street as a residential property, keys can also be thought of as opening doors and unlocking new ideas about how we define public art: even a construction worksite can be transformed into an art space.
Dreams of Wilmington, an art education program, fosters self expression while providing a mentoring relationship between artists and at-risk youth. A print making class taught by artist Michael Van Hout is making large two color linoleum cut prints of keys. Numbered prints will be given to project sponsors. Renato Abbate’s ceramic students are making clay keys that they will hang on the fence, and Matt Bumgardner’s photography students are making ‘keyhole’ cameras. An African drumming class led by Sai Collins will collaborate by serenading key hangers as they work on the fence.
A group of high school students through Communities in Schools and Dreams of Wilmington are designated ‘Assistant Project Managers’. Duties include assisting in key donation collection, greeting the public and media at the installation site, explaining project, helping people hang keys, and stamping hands with the official ‘Keys with a View’ stamp on the hands who have participated. The kids will maintain a blog where they document the progress of the fence through photographs and document interactions with the public.
Kids Making It, an afterschool woodworking program in downtown Wilmington, is participating by producing lightweight acrylic keys in various colors and sizes, all inscribed with the Kids Making It logo. Cape Fear River Watch contributes by carving an old canoe paddle into a key. Visitors to the Children’s Museum of Wilmington can paint a key in the art room, and bring it to the fence for installation.

Drop off boxes are located:

Cameron Art Museum

Tidal Creek Co-op

UNCW Art Department

Folk's Cafe

Jengo's Playhouse

or they can be mailed to: 2067 Harrison Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
This venture will be made possible through cooperation, collaboration, and PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE. I appreciate your support of the arts in Wilmington. I look forward to seeing you there.
Sincerely, Dixon Stetler

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nature Wars by Abby Spangel Perry- a small group of paintings with a big story

Nature Wars by Abby Spangel Perry is a small group of paintings with a big story. It is a cautionary tale that speaks to our current relationship with the environment. What unfolds through a series of children’s story book style images is a visual account of the abuses against nature experienced through the eyes of a few little bunnies and their choice to stand up to the rats that are at the bottom of the situation. These bunnies face many of the same issues we as a society experience every day. In the end, we all must “draw our own conclusions” and through an interactive piece viewers of Nature Wars are asked to do just that. What solution do you have to offer?
Nature Wars is a series of mixed media drawings/paintings, sound, and interactive art.
The show is the direct result of the luxury of studio space provided through a 2008-2009 NC Arts Council Regional Artist Grant.
Opening reception with the artist: Friday November 6, 7-9pm
Exhibition on view: November 5 through December 13th, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Grand Procession of Peculiar Pets

The Grand Procession of Peculiar Pets seeks jugglers, stilt-walkers, fire-eaters, acrobats, musicians, all other performance types, and anyone who wants to be in a parade. Freaky people need apply. We will Assemble at Peculiar Pet Making Parties to make Attire and Adornments that will Transform ourselves into Exotic Creatures! Peculiar Pet Making Parties are free and open to artists of all ages! You may use our art supplies, or bring some of your own.

Peculiar Pet Making Parties:
Sun 8/30 1pm-4pm Bailey Theater Park, 20 North Front St. (next to Kingoff's Jewelers)
Tues 9/1 6-9pm Bottega Bar and Gallery 208 North Front St.
Tues 9/8 6-9pm Bottega Bar and Gallery 208 North Front St.

The Grand Procession of Peculiar Pets as will be featured during the 8th Annual Art Walk in Downtown Wilmington, Saturday, Sep 12th at 1:00pm, starting at Front and Orange Streets.
Peculiar Pet Making Parties need art supplies! Paint-glue-fabric-fur-sparkles-feathers-string-cardstock-ribbon- all that stuff you’ve been saving for something. THE SOMETHING IS HERE! Please donate your unwanted materials to The Grand Procession of Peculiar Pets!
Please drop off materials at Wabi Sabi Warehouse, 19th north 9th Street, this Thursday or Friday or Monday, 10-5pm

For more information:
Chris Andrews
Dixon Stetler

Friday, July 31, 2009

Art Studios available at IAC’s Wabi Sabi Warehouse

Make art in the heart of Wilmington’s Soda Pop District! Like Wow!
Rent includes all utilities, wireless internet, a shared kitchen and
other lively artists nearby.
Get out of your garage! Live!
email Dan Brawley for more info

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dixon’s After-School Garbage Art Guild for Kids

The After-School Garbage Art Guild projects involve weaving, painting, performance art, public collaborations, mosaics, sculpture, and assorted other messy fun cool stuff using recycled materials. Garbage Guild kids will end the session with a REAL art exhibition and reception at Wabi Sabi Warehouse.
Classes will be held at Independent Art Company's Wabi Sabi Warehouse, 19 north 9th Street.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays
(sign up for the same day each week)
September 22- December 17

$350 Tuition includes all art supplies and snacks
Class is limited to 5 students ages 8-13
email for info

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Basic Batik Workshop at Wabi Sabi Warehouse!

Saturday, July 18, 2009
$70 includes all supplies

Whether or not you consider yourself artistic, experimenting with batik will lead you to new discoveries about yourself and your creative process. With an understanding of the basic techniques of batik, you can explore a contemporary interpretation of this ancient medium. Layers of color will be created through successive steps of waxing and dyeing, using traditional tjanting tools, brushes and sponges. Prepare to play with the unpredictable, and work intensively on several pieces of batik. Students will complete either an apron or canvas tote.

Class size is limited to 12 adults For registration and information:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Many More Miles

Bike Tire Tube Palapa
Dixon Stetler
Sunset Park Elementary School, Wilmington, NC
March 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

“My Downtown Wilmington”

@ Wabi Sabi Warehouse Photographs by Carlton Wilkinson Asst. Professor of Art / Gallery Director Dept. of Art and Art History, UNCW
Exhibition dates: March 27-May 1 Opening reception: Friday, March 27, 7-10pm

My Downtown Wilmington
Since my arriving in Wilmington in January 2007 I have had a real roller coaster ride of emotions concerning my living downtown. I soon learned that I joined a beautiful, historic area that has a true dark side. The dark side was a historic separation of race and class.

The housing boom was had just begun to cool off in 2007. I made its final assault in 2008 which put on hold the ‘gentrification’ process that the city encouraged as a renewal of a vital downtown.

There is mixed blessing about the revitalization process as many historic residents were faced with relocation as the area became more expensive to reside in. Property values and taxes have effectively, burdened the low-income residents. The downtown region was marketed as the new, hip neighborhood with the amenities of having central access to the riverfront businesses and landmarks. The poor, black residents were marginally included in this transformation. Additionally, drug and gang activity nag the peaceful existence of young professionals and affluent retirees who decided to nurture the charm of living downtown.

Over the past two years I have photographed some of the nuances that makes Downtown living a great asset, such as, the city festivals, restaurants and access to art performances. But I also photographed the social ills of neglect, poverty, drugs, gangs and crime. The latter is a culture that did not fit in the ‘New Downtown’ historic and revival neighborhood structure. Some might say that these social ills do not fit anywhere else.

I am sharing my experiences with both light and heavy heart. It is a place I now describe as my home – Downtown Wilmington. -Carlton Wilkinson

Sunday, February 8, 2009

'Down the Line' Recent work by Erica Morgan at Wabi Sabi Warehouse

Exhibition Dates: February 27-March 20, 2009

Opening Reception:
Friday, February 27th, 7-10pm

Erica Morgan's unconventional artwork revolves around her passion for environmental awareness and sustainability. She uses materials that are both fabricated/manufactured and organic/natural to address the relationship between the two opposites and how they affect each other. All of the fabricated materials she uses are either found, like a discarded sliding glass door frame, or materials previously existing, such as vintage fabrics. The organic material is never alive or still intact with nature when she discovers it and deems it useful and the origin of location for all her materials is absolutely relevant within each piece.

Upon recently moving back to her coastal hometown of Southport, she was faced with a place not recognizable to the little girl who used to go fishing with her dad at 6am on the rocks. The rapid growth of Southport has created development that condemned memories, allowed profit to swallow nostalgia, and ultimately forced the environment to succumb to the people. Of Course, change is inevitable, and Erica understands both sides of this issue within her art.

She believes that neither the organic nor fabricated could exist without the other; just as love would not be love without hate, and life could not be life without death. They simultaneously depend on one another in order to maintain their identities while battling each other for existence. She is not trying to declare the natural or manufactured victorious over the other; because she believes that they do not have to be at odds, and should not be at odds. Ultimately, Erica establishes a balance between the two, believing that in order for society to most efficiently survive, a balance between environment and development is absolutely necessary and urgent.

'Down the line' features unconventional works that address the relationship between Erica and her hometown, her hometown and its growth, and personal relationships that have been influenced due to her hometown.
Please join us on Friday, February 27th, from 7-10pm, for a reception with the artist, and also tour the artist's studio, housed in Wabi Sabi Warehouse.