What if the NCMA created an exhibit featuring not art but people?
Throughout my time at the North Carolina Museum of Art, I often found myself wondering what consistently gets people in the doors, and, more important, what compels them to come back? While the answers to these questions may be different for each person, I’ve discovered that many patrons find the Museum to be a cathartic place, a space to both understand and feel understood. Inspired by the photoblog Humans of New York—which shares peoples’ stories while honoring their anonymity—the following post captures a few remarkable, human stories found at the NCMA.
I come for inspiration. Me and my dad build a lot of furniture. It’s really giving me a lot of ideas of things I want to make. I’m really feeling this area, definitely. I love this [Elias Sime's Tightrope 9]. It’s like being able to take trash and turn it into treasure. These are all probably thrown-away things, and this guy just came up with the idea and just put it up there, and I think that’s pretty cool. I go to a lot of yard sales and thrift shops, and we’ll take really old things and refurbish them, add our own “twing” to it. We bring it back to life, and I think that’s what this artist is doing. He’s able to see the potential in something that is bare and old and see what it could potentially be, and then turn it into that. It’s pretty amazing.
I love this museum. It is very comfortable and easy. I love all the natural light. But for me, the star of the museum is the park. I walked those trails before I came inside, and what a treat! There’s so much history to it. I was reading some of the plaques about what all has happened on this property the last two centuries. What an amazing thing that it’s now this beautiful park and museum that everyone can enjoy. I come because it’s very peaceful. I come to be in touch with creativity, and to try and see inside the mind of the artist. You know, I’m not an artist, and I’m just fascinated with the way creative minds work. It’s like music. You look at a painting or a sculpture, and it evokes an emotion. Music does that, and this is just a different way to get in touch with different emotions.
I think this place is gorgeous. I wasn’t expecting them to have all of this, all of these famous paintings. This is the first time I’ve seen something like this up close. Like the statue of Hercules? It’s crazy. I’m just a regular blue-collar person. I work in a pizza shop; I toss dough for a living. We don’t have anything like this in Waynesville. We’ve been to a couple art museums in Asheville with more local and modern artists, but we wanted to come here just for the history of it. I’ve never seen something like this. It’s beautiful, honestly. Takes your breath away. I’m taking pictures so I can read up on the artworks later. Living here, you could visit anytime you want; my appreciation is really deep, because we live five hours away.
I’ve been a couple times before with my family when I was really young, and with North Carolina Governors school. I go to school at Chapel Hill, and I’ve always been meaning to come back. It’s been a couple years, and I wanted to see how my feelings about the art have changed as I’ve changed. I’ve taken a few art history classes in between, so I wanted to view it with new eyes. I’ve always loved doing art myself. I grew up in Morganton, N.C., and I cannot remember her name, but there was an artist there, and I remember making dorodango balls with her. You have a bowl of sand and a bowl of water, take clay and roll it into a ball of mud, polish it with the sand, and then get it wet again and continue to roll it. It forms this incredibly hard, super shiny sphere. I took lessons from her. When we were talking about art and I was learning, we would do that. It was kind of a nice, visual representation of our time together.