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Arts on the Greenway is thriving in Mt. Holly

Sep 05, 2019 10:19AM ● By Jan Sailors

Artist Nancy Kennedy with some of her works at the Arts on the Greenway location in the former Massey Building in Mt. Holly. Photo by Alan Hodge

By Alan Hodge

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The Gaston County Art Guild  moved its headquarters into the City of Mt. Holly owned Massey Bldg. at 500 E. Central Ave. last October and has been thriving ever since. The location is called Arts on the Greenway.

The Gaston County Art Guild was organized in 1965 to enable those interested in the arts to assemble and participate in the community activities for the advancement of visual art. This non-profit organization is supported by members’ dues and is a funded affiliate of the Gaston Arts Council.

When the group made the move from its W. Main Ave., Gastonia, location to the Massey Bldg., volunteers carted everything from artwork to furniture to the Massey Bldg. and  its 10,000 sq. ft. space. The Art Guild has a five-year lease for the building with the city.

Mt. Holly city manager Danny Jackson welcomed the Art Guild.

“It’s great to have the Gaston County Art Guild be a part of the Mt. Holly community,” Jackson said. “They have really hit the ground running by connecting with various folks in the community. The Art Guild has a long proven history in Gaston County and beyond. Mount Holly can now become a part of its legacy. The timing of it all is impeccable due to the fact that via the Mount Holly Strategic Vision Plan past and present, the promotion of art is a defined goal. Studies have shown that that the impact of art and culture on a community is very positive; we expect the same in Mount Holly.”

One idea in the Massey Bldg./Arts on the Greenway deal has really taken off. That is, the Art Guild is renting studio spaces  to artists.  Some of the spaces are in the form of private rooms, others are office-like cubicles. The Art Guild  gives 90 percent of the money to the City of Mt. Holly. The remaining 10 percent is used for property management.

“We have eleven tenant artists now,” said Stephanie McLaughlin who acts as a liaison between Arts on the Greenway and the Mt. Holly Community Development Foundation.

Works on display at Arts on the Greenway represent a wide variety of genres and includes watercolors, oils, textiles, illuminated lanterns for the Mt. Holly Lantern Parade, woodcarving, and more.

Painter Jason Reynolds loves working at Arts on the Greenway.

“It’s a place where people can see how far creativity can go,” he said. 

Jane Newsom is another Arts on the Greenway tenant who recycles everything from cereal boxes to scrap paper to make her creations.

“I use anything that would end up in a junkyard,” she said.

A big project that’s going on at Arts on the Greenway is the creation of a huge blanket made from hand crocheted squares. The blanket will be placed at the City of Mt. Holly Christmas tree in December. 

“It will take nearly 800 squares for the 15-foot tall tree,” McLaughlin said.

Since a large part of the Massey Bldg. has an industrial look and feel, it is perfect for tenant members who create “hot art” such as ceramic firing, glass-blowing, and metal sculpting.

As things progress at the Massey Building, the Art Guild will eventually establish a gift shop and gallery that will be open during special events. The group plans to hold several of those in the coming months. A recent event saw folks get together and begin work on their Mt. Holly Lantern Parade creations. Arts on the Greenway will also be featuring artists and their work at Catawba Coffee Co. in downtown Mt. Holly.

To learn more about the Gaston County Art Guild and Arts on the Greenway visit http://www.gastoncountyartguild.com/.