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Arts and Entertainment

Let the ‘Good Times’ roll with an art exhibit at The Underground
Free viewing of local creatives' works
Published Thursday, April 22, 2021 11:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Garden of Journey is one of the Charlotte creatives whose work was commissioned for the exhibit "Good Times" at The Underground April 30-May 3.

“Good Times” combines immersive art and local artists with an international brand.

Over a dozen local creatives will be featured in “Good Times” at The Underground (820 Hamilton St.) April 30-May 3. The free exhibit is one of three art installations supported by Pabst Blue Ribbon’s 1,000 Creators initiative. Its goal is to commission 1,000 creators across the nation who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Featured creatives include Cheeks, Dammit Wesley, Fiberess, Fred Smith, Garden of Journey, Hnin Nie, Nico Amortegui, Rebecca Lips, TWOKAT, Primetime Signs and NOIRS ONE.

“I want to create a piece that is immersive and interactive and really pops off the wall,” said Georgie Nakima, known professionally as Garden of Journey.
“Good Times” will also incorporate a pop-up space where additional local artists can display and sell their work. It is designed to recreate the feel of the Art Hole at 908 E. 35th St. in NoDa as a commission-free gallery.

The space is the brainchild of PBR colleagues John Varvaro and Rob Reilly, who wanted to highlight artists who competed in the company’s annual beer can design competition. The idea was born in 2014 and the space closed three years later. Art Hole alumni will be part of its re-creation, including Arko, Chalkboard, Mike Wirth, Miss Lotus, Obsoe, Owl and more. It will also incorporate the existing neon sign designed by IMEK Studios.

“This type of activity is not necessarily new to us, but it is definitely new to the city,” Dammit Wesley said. “I just hope that people take the time to realize that the artist they are seeing today and tomorrow and in May at the rest of these shows and exhibitions, they did not just come out of nowhere. They have been here, and people are just now paying attention.”
Many of the artists have collaborated before, whether on Talking Walls, a mural festival, the Charlotte hip-hip mural at Camp North End or other projects and events around the city.

Dammit Wesley’s “FREAKNIK EXPERIENCE” includes two large hand-painted canvases as backdrops with sculpture objects in the forefront. It was inspired by Freaknik, an annual gathering of Black college students in Atlanta during spring break from 1983-1999.

“Anybody and everybody in the 1990s heard stories of this legendary event where thousands of college-aged African Americans descended upon the city of Atlanta to literally just sit in traffic and blast their music and just be like a literal nuisance to the point where they banned the event,” Dammit Wesley said. “Seeing as how ‘Good Times’ is happening around the same time that Freaknik would, I figured I would try to make a small immersive experience celebrating my love for that era. I was not old enough to go, but if I could go, I would like to imagine it is going to go down the way I am going to interpret it visually.”

Reservations for “Good Times” are required.


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