If you live in Kannapolis or Concord, you must visit the Arts Council Galleries at the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse in Concord this month.
Phil Moody's "Textile Towns," along with exhibitions by the Piedmont Craftsmen and Kannapolis photographer Chad Mitchell, is a required event for all of us.
When you go, remember you can also buy! I forgot my checkbook, but that only means I get the privilege of returning.
Lin Barnhardt, visual arts director for the sponsoring Cabarrus Arts Council, is an artist in his own right; his work is even included in the White House collection. But he has created another work of art on Union Street: "Textile Towns" is a fascinating, thematic show about our region's relationship with textiles.
Moody's photos provide an overview of historic images. Mitchell adds our local vignettes, and the Piedmont Craftsmen present the future of textiles with vibrant fiber arts.
As docent Sandra Biggerstaff led me through the exhibit, I learned that Moody's works are riveting documentaries of the industry that evolved into histories of working people.
His photographs are evocative, redolent with the working-class past. Moody mixes images with words to deliver stark visuals that resonate with our own experiences.
Mitchell offers a rhythmic presentation of a mill town in decline and destruction, a sequence of reality and art that is eloquent and solemn. His image "Grow and Blossom" juxtaposes an old Southern magnolia with the emerging biotech campus in downtown Kannapolis.
Fourteen pictures in the gallery are framed with the maple wood flooring from Mill No. 7 of Plant 1, which Mitchell and his father reclaimed.
I was completely enchanted by the tapestries, scarves, jackets, bags and other fiber works displayed in the "Fiber Group Invitational." Jane Doub offers a "shaggy scarf" for $75 that will impact my entire spring wardrobe. All of her heirloom-quality items are vivid, saturated with color and shimmering with light.
John Gunther weaves his intricate tapestries on a large floor loom and applies color by hand with sponges that push the dye into the wool. His landscapes stretch our perception of stilled motion.
Alice Schlein takes original digital photographs and weaves the image on a jacquard handloom. Her pointillist presentations are vibrant and distinctive.
I cannot wait to visit the gallery again. There is so much to do in downtown Concord these days. I will buy Doub's "shaggy scarf," shop for antiques, make a health food stop at the market, then eat at the Union Street Bistro. They have excellent servers and a great atmosphere.
Three free gallery talks will be presented with the exhibits: Moody will speak at 7 p.m. next Thursday; Doub at 10 a.m. Jan 29; and Mitchell at 7 p.m. Feb. 21.
Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, call 704-920-2787 (704-920-ARTS) or visit www.cabarrusartscouncil.org.