Large Event/Meeting Space now Part of theArtWorks™
Gallery Verrazzano, a fine art gallery located inside theArtWorks™, is now available for weddings, corporate events and celebrations. This is partially due to the fact that co-owner Jim Knowles added wheels to the walls where the art is displayed.
With movable gallery walls and enough room for 1,200 people, the approximately 7,000 square foot gallery is easily customizable for a variety of needs. Event planners will also be interested to learn that theArtWorks™ has a license to sell beer and wine during events.
This has helped drive attendance for the venue’s 4th Friday Gallery Nights, which includes opening receptions, artist demonstrations and live music. Along with the fine art gallery, theArtWorks™ is also home to a large gift shop with a stage and lots of gathering space.
It’s all part of a 38,000 square foot building that was once home to Block Shirt Factory. Built in 1957 and located a short walk away from the Satellite, Benny’s Big Time and The Second Glass, theArtWorks™ has quickly become a thriving cultural arts complex—a destination that is completely one-of-a-kind.
In addition to classroom space and a portion reserved for aerial yoga, the majority of the rest of the building consists of a network of working studios, all connected by winding ‘streets’ reminiscent of 1890s New Orleans. Imagine a variety of working spaces for artists, filled with eclectic finds and distinctive architecture, minus the chaos one might associate with the annual Mardi Gras.
On any given day theArtWorks™ is open, it’s possible to purchase art directly from the artist, learn about their vision and see them in action. Artists renting spaces there have a chance to sell their creations in the gift shop. Gallery Verrazzano, however, is reserved for original works and there is no guarantee of representation. In keeping with their goal to support local artists and provide them with a venue to showcase their work, Jim and his wife, co-owner Betsy Knowles, have consistently worked to maintain a reasonable fee structure for works presented in the gallery.
This is a small example of the collaborative approach embraced by the Knowles and the effort they have applied to create an opportunity for artists, thereby making Wilmington a cultural arts destination. Truly a ‘for purpose’ organization, theArtWorks™ is rooted in the idea the arts have a tremendous potential to make a positive impact on the economy and the community.
In fact, data provided by arts.gov show that the value added to the Gross Domestic Product by arts and cultural production is five times greater than that of agriculture. Arts and culture add $60 billion more in value than construction, which is particularly important to note for Wilmington, as real estate and construction represent significant portions of the economy.
Earnings are consistently reinvested, to increase the livelihood of local artists and provide a place to create and display all types of art. To say that theArtWorks™ is an inspiring place to visit may be the understatement of the year, but a word of caution: you will need at least a few hours to fully appreciate everything that is going on there and have a proper visit.
On the 4th Friday of every month, theArtWorks™ hosts Gallery Night from 6 to 9. An art complex providing art studios, gallery space, and an event venue, theArtWorks™ is a ‘for purpose’ organization that fosters a creative environment for artists. Through education, advocacy and legislative efforts, theArtWorks™ supports and enhances the community of Wilmington.
For more information, call 910-352-7077 or visit www.theArtWorks.co. Located at 200 Willard Street, theArtWorks is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 to 5, Sundays from 12 to 5, and by appointment.