Mary Jane Clark
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Written by Mary Jane Clark   
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 11:59

CAM Raleigh Main Gallery

Because the World is Always Changing

Contemporary Art Museum Opens

CAM is a non-collecting Museum. This contemporary art museum is an exhibition space celebrating living and emerging artists. CAM is aptly described as urban, gritty, and cutting edge. This is new Raleigh invading the heart of old Raleigh. Located in the Warehouse District, CAM is within walking distance of the trendy downtown entertainment areas of Glenwood South, Hillsborough Street and Fayetteville Street.

CAM’s mission is to enable us to open ourselves up to new ideas and perceptions through contemporary art. Sarah Powers of Visual Arts Exchange described the museum as, “A cultural center for creativity.” Certainly, I came away with some rather strange ideas of what to do with all those plastic shopping bags and wire coat hangers.

The museum is housed in the long-abandoned Brodgen Produce Warehouse on West Martin Street. The building embodies the message. Re-use. CAM visionaries took an old boxy, decaying, worn-out inner-city warehouse and transformed it into vibrant new energy, beckoning visitors and welcoming the artist masters of tomorrow. This museum celebrates living artists and their cutting-edge funky works.

Here’s what those in the know are saying about CAM. John Morris, a software engineer and Goodnight Raleigh Blogger, celebrated CAM’s commitment to saving the Brogden Produce Warehouse and admonished the "destructo-crowd" with his comment, “Raleigh should be building its history, not destroying it.” Bob Geary of Independent explained CAM’s significance this way, “CAM connects Raleigh’s history and its ambitions.” CAM's struggle to build a contemporary art museum harkens back to the bad-old-days when conservatives decimated the city's public arts budget, degrading our cultural offerings for nearly a generation. Thank God CAM rose from the dead.

Architecturally, much of the Brogden Produce building’s integrity remains intact with credit due to CAM’s collective board wisdom, steely determination and relentless fundraising.  A strategic partnership with NC State, coupled with Historic Preservation tax credits and a million-dollar grant from the City of Raleigh, put CAM on the path to ultimate success. The end result is splendid and CAM is enormously enhanced by its collaboration with NCSU’s School of Design. Much of the credit for CAM’s existence is given to Frank Thompson, longtime board member and civic leader. For years my friend and high school art teacher, Betty Adams, a former CAM board member, kept me in the loop on the "Damn CAM Drama, as she labeled it. Well done, one and all.

As of this posting, CAM is showing installations by two artists: Dan Steinhilber, Washington, DC artist: Hold On, Loosely. His work is reuse conceptual art creation and from what I’ve seen, Dan is into plastic. Plan your visit for a hot day. You'll enter his major piece through a refrigerator door! Now that's a cool idea. Naoko Ito, a NY based artist: Urban Nature. She specializes in combining natural and man-made materials to challenge our observations and to entice us into looking at nature more closely. She’s worth a second look.

CAM Raleigh, 409 W. Martin Street, Raleigh, NC 27603

Phone: 919-513-0946

Visit for more information.


A Blue ViewAloft WingsCAM Raleigh's Canopy Entrance

Last Updated on Monday, 16 January 2012 19:17