Art, music, and homeless mingle at Area Fifteen Christmas party
Posted on 20 Dec 2010 by James Willamor
The Christmas party at Area Fifteen was unique in Charlotte, and that was even before the samurai sword-wielding giant gorilla arrived.
The event, Urban Stratum, was a little bit of everything; an art show, a concert, a covered dish supper, a rope dance demonstration, and a coffeehouse. The show was put together in a few short weeks by first time organizer Jeff Taylor.
Taylor, a Charlotte Flash Mob instigator, wanted to see more grassroots art events in the city. “Stop complaining about the situation and start doing something,” said Taylor. “So many people were up for doing something on short notice.”
According to Taylor, putting on an art show in Charlotte “is not something easy to do but there’s not really any barriers. There’s not a ready-made art scene. [This] offers opportunities because the scene isn’t so established so there isn’t much of a hierarchy.“
Also attending the Christmas party was a group of a dozen or so homeless from the neighborhood. Chris and Andy Davis, members of the Project Isaiah 58 homeless ministry, recently moved into the neighborhood where they share a house with a couple of previously homeless neighbors.
In a scene only Area Fifteen could pull off, hipsters and homeless where chatting over plates of spaghetti and potato casserole. “It was encouraging to see how well those groups meshed,” said Taylor.
Project Isaiah 58 emphasizes building community and relationships with the homeless and, unlike some charities, “not just handing them a sandwich and running away. They aren’t necessarily foodless, they’re homeless.”
Musical acts included Austin Hill of Eyes of the Elders, Marcie Hernandez, Erik Button and Luke Gunn of Dollar Signs, Garrett Glaus of We Are Royalty, and DJ Nick Powers. Glaus performed for the packed Not Just Coffee Shop located in the same building at Area Fifteen.
It wouldn’t be an Area Fifteen event without some sort of performance artist. Greylan Counts, who previously fire danced at a Barcamp preparty, demonstrated rope dancing for the crowd.
On planning the Christmas party and art show at Area Fifteen, Taylor said, “The whole building opened up and it became a community event. There are some great people in that building. People came out of the woodwork asking, ‘What can we do to help?’”