After artists lost studio space to South End development, this group is getting it back

South End ARTS MORNINGSTAR location. Image from @Southendarts_ Instagram

K Liles understands that as an artist, even if you have incredible skills, it is rare you get the chance to have your work showcased in a gallery. This insight is what inspired her and other artists in Charlotte to start up an art show that would give artists of all ages and backgrounds the chance to showcase their art in a public space.

Liles, a local artist who has shown her paintings in several Charlotte art shows, is the founder of SouthEnd ARTS Studios and Galleries.

Founded Feb. 3, according to the Facebook page, SouthEnd ARTS is a collaboration of five Charlotte artist partners that are working to provide exhibition space on a rotating basis to emerging visual artists at no charge.

The idea started about a year ago, when the space inhabited by Charlotte Art League was bought by a developer and left numerous artists without exhibition or studio space. 

While Charlotte Art League has since secured a new space in NoDa, Liles and other artists searched for a new home in South End to show their art. They found the neighborhood unaffordable.

Luckily, MORNINGSTAR storage in South End offered Liles a space with more room, for even less than her previous lease. The agreement allowed Liles and the other artists to create SouthEnd ARTS. 

South End ARTS participated in their first South End gallery crawl at this new space in May.

However, South End ARTS quickly grew out the space at MORNINGSTAR after just two shows. That put them on the quest to find a new, permanent home.

“We are negotiating a permanent venue to show strong visual art in Historic South End and ultimately develop a nonprofit gallery with extended hours,” Liles said in an email.

Liles said South End ARTS has continued working to host a themed show each month. An event for August is already in the works and will be an opportunity for veterans to showcase their work as artists.

As for July, their upcoming show is titled LoSo Art Fest and will be held on July 13 at Queen Park Social, a venue in South End for food, drinks, music, games and social connection.

“Queen Park Social opened their arms to us basically by offering a huge amount of their space for us to come,” Liles said.

The LoSo Art Fest is a one-night-only event and is free and open to the public, however, attendees can purchase food and drinks from the Queen Park Social bar.

In order to promote social justice among artists, Liles wanted to make this show one that would be first-come-first-serve, with a limit of 20 artists, so that artists of all backgrounds would have equal opportunity to participate, free of charge.

After putting out a call for artists on the South End Arts Instagram page, Liles said that they had 40 people respond.

Now, the eclectic group of the first 20 are preparing to showcase and sell their art (at varying prices) on Friday. Up until the event, the South End Arts Instagram page is showcasing two pieces of each of the artist’s work a day, along with a brief bio and one word to describe his or her work.

Josh Henderson, #whatisrelax, does it again!! Bio: My mother saw my talent at an early age so every christmas or birthday I would get some art supplies or more sketch pads. I would draw from my inspirations like favorite tv shows, cartoons, movies etc. I was always the type of kid to do my own thing even when I was left to myself. Those little things sparked the entrepreneur in me. I started selling drawings in middle school to my classmates. Fast forward to college and Im a full time Visual Art and Design Major doing free lance graphics by sophomore year. After graduating my work didn’t stop as I am now building my t shirt brand from the ground up. All these things and many more make me. Life around me is inspiring.Nature, which is always around me inspires me to create environments. Human behavior, the mind, body and spirit are enough topics for me to create from alone. Takashi Murakami, Pharrell Williams, Hanz Zimmer, are talents in composing, songwriting, visual art, animation, and more. These minds fascinate me the most. #704 #980 #qcguide #uptown #oilpaint #charlottenc #historicsouthend #southendarts_ #hydebrewing #omb #gallerycrawl #cltlife #charlotteartleague #cltlit #exploreclt #theqc #charlotteartist #suffolkpunch #queenparksocial #southendartclt #charlotte #charlotteart #charlotteartist #cltart #magnoliaemporium #nonprofit

A post shared by SouthEnd ARTS (@southendarts_) on

“Its not necessarily all visual art,” Liles said. “We have jewelry, we have glass artists, we have illustrators, we have artists who have showcased in New York City and we have artists who are students.”

Head to LoSo Art Fest:

Friday, July 13, 5-9 p.m.

Location: Queen Park Social at 4125 Yancey Rd

This is a FREE event.

Images Courtesy of @Southendarts_ Instagram



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