Locally made art the focus of two new downtown businesses

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Going Local NC, a once Raleigh-based gift shop of regionally made wares, has relocated to Front Street, with an opening date of Feb. 1. Courtesy photos.
Going Local NC, once a Raleigh-based gift shop of regionally made wares, has relocated to Front Street, with an opening date of Feb. 1. Courtesy photos.

The art of the Tarheel state is coming to downtown Wilmington with the opening of two new gallery and retail spaces.

Going Local NC, 208 N. Front St., is getting set to launch next month in the Port City, according to Ed Wolverton, president and CEO of Wilmington Downtown Inc. The gift shop–showcasing an array of locally made goods–was started in Raleigh but Wolverton said its owner has relocated to Wilmington and wants to bring her store to her new home.

Going Local NC will feature handmade wares from regional artists, like these seen here from the original Raleigh location. Courtesy photo.
Going Local NC will feature handmade wares from regional artists, like these seen here from the original Raleigh location. Courtesy photo.

And right next door, Expo 216, a gallery with a social message, is slated to open in March, Wolverton added.

“That gallery has been undergoing a massive renovation,” he noted.

The owner, who bought the three-story building, has turned the top floor into her residence, Wolverton said. The second floor will be used for rental studio space, with a gallery of rotating exhibits on ground level.

“The owner is a little more interested in environmental causes, so I think that will be a theme that will permeate the gallery,” Wolverton said.

This edgy look at the damage plastic does to marine life is among the works included in Expo 216's opening exhibit in March.
This edgy look at the damage plastic does to marine life is among the works included in Expo 216’s opening exhibit in March.

The gallery’s website lists “Ocean Plastic,” aimed at drawing attention to the dangers discarded plastic poses to marine life, as its opening exhibit. Upcoming exhibits will focus on yoga and meditation, butterflies and pesticides, and death and dying, among other topics.

As for Going Local, Wolverton said customers can expect to see a wide range of handcrafted goods from more than 30 artists under a North Carolina-made umbrella.

“I believe it has a real mix of media. There will be pottery, paintings, weavings, things like that,” he said.

According to Going Local NC’s website, the Wilmington store will open Feb. 1, with a grand opening celebration planned for 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12. The Raleigh store will close with the creation of the Wilmington spot.

Both Going Local and Expo 216 have been added to the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County’s 2016 line-up for Fourth Friday Gallery Walks, an ongoing free monthly event in which downtown art spaces open their doors after hours to promote and showcase their works and wares.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.