Rolesville High’s Red Gallery Gets New Digs

National Art Honor Society Students Move to Town Hall

Red Gallery - Move

PHOTOS BY SUSAN LONDON
Head Curator Taylor Eaton discusses the new exhibit
with Rolesville High School Principal Dhedra Lassiter.

When Leo Barthelmess and Jeannette Stevenson, faculty advisors for Rolesville High School’s National Art Honor Society (NAHS), recently learned they’d have to give up the space that had housed the NAHS’s student-curated Red Gallery since 2014, they had no reason to worry.

It turns out the Town of Rolesville, which had been letting them use the old white house at 101 N. Main St. for free for the past three years, had no intention of leaving the students high and dry. Instead, the Town offered an alternate space to showcase the gallery’s student and community artwork at Town Hall.

“We have a lot of wall space in there that isn’t being used, and this is a great opportunity for both of us,” Town Manager Brian Hicks said.

NAHS students spent the last two weeks of October moving furniture and shelving to the new digs at 502 Southtown Circle, where a coat of neutral gray properly befitting an art gallery had been freshly painted by town staff and the promise of increased exposure for the students’ work was on the horizon.

“Rolesville High students, while really grateful for the use of the other space, were so happy for the opportunity to move here,” said Taylor Eaton, Head Curator. “It allows more visibility for their art because Town Hall is open daily.”

Stevenson agreed, noting the challenges the previous space presented. Because the building wasn’t shared with another entity, the gallery was open only at limited times – either when local artists were willing to “gallery sit” or when students held events to showcase the opening of a new exhibit. Additionally, because the space was older and often uninhabited, students had to allocate time for cleaning to ensure it was ready for visitors.

Located just outside the council chambers, the new gallery location offers daily accessibility for viewing by the public. It’s open when Town Hall is open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Red Gallery - Move

NAHS faculty advisor Jeannette Stevenson and student curators
Taylor Eaton, Leah Harless, Morgan Laurio and Zoe Pasion
pose in front of some of this month’s artwork at the new Red Gallery location.

Barthelmess had been tossing around the idea of a student-run gallery for years, but procuring a location proved difficult. An impromptu meeting with Hicks several years ago led to the Town offering the original 101 N. Main St. location.

“The Town of Rolesville was so incredibly supportive of us, and I hope we did them proud,” Barthelmess said. “Creating the shows and running the gallery is a constant learning experience for my students. Some shows are better than others, but it is all about the process and the experiences they have.”

While Eaton is the head curator for the gallery this year, NAHS students take turns each month so everyone has an opportunity to gain experience organizing a show. Gallery shows feature student artwork or artists from the community whose subject matter mirrors the theme for the month.

The first exhibit at the new location opened October 28 and features Raleigh artist Knathan Weissenstein. Student curators for the November show are Morgan Laurio, Zoe Pasion and Leah Harless.

In December, 27 student-created pieces will be installed by new curators. The opening of this show will be December 9 at 6:30 p.m. Artwork from the show will be featured in a 2017 NAHS calendar available for sale during the RHS PTSA Reindeer Days shopping event November 4.

For more information on the Red Gallery, visit www.rolesvillehsnahs.weebly.com

— Susan London, November 2016