Putting His Art Where His Mouth Is: Don Mertz Donates Second Painting To The Town of Cary

To underscore his support for the Town’s Public Arts Program

Eye Candy IV by Don Mertz
Eye Candy IV by Don Mertz


March 14, 2013 (Cary, NC) — Abstract artist Don Mertz of Cary, NC, recently delivered a second donation of one of his large, original abstract paintings to the Town of Cary: “Eye Candy IV,” a 60-inch tall by 40-inch wide explosion of color and texture rendered in mixed media on canvas.

In April of 2010, Mertz first donated an abstract painting to the Town entitled “Good! Bad? Ugly?” He had just closed a retrospective of his work in the Page Walker Arts and History Center, sponsored by the Town of Cary Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources department. Denise Dickens, the Town’s Public Arts Coordinator, attended the exhibition and commented that she liked that particular painting.

“So I offered to donate it to the city,” he said. “It was the right thing to do given Cary’s support of the arts and artists.”

Donating the “Eye Candy IV” painting followed an email Mertz sent to Dickens last November after the unveiling of the new “Monumental Fire Sculpture” by Danish artist Nina Hole in downtown Cary. (To read a Cary Citizen article on the sculpture: http://bit.ly/RxJ4xP)

“With the Fire Sculpture (along with all the other neat visual and performing arts events and exhibitions), you have transformed — no vaulted! — Cary into a new category,” Mertz wrote in the email. “No longer the ‘beige’ city of the past, now, with the Fire Sculpture, we have become the ‘red hot’ city for the 21st century and beyond… [And] to put my art where my mouth is, I would be happy to donate a painting that perhaps portrays the colorful, exciting, and vibrant spirit of the new Cary.”

The Town accepted his offer.

Don Mertz moved to Cary from New York City 12 years ago. Since then, his abstract paintings have been included in many solo- and group exhibitions throughout the Triangle region and sold to numerous art collectors. For more information, visit www.mertzart.com.

For more information on the Town of Cary’s public arts program, call 919-465-4791 or email denise.dickens@townofcary.org.

About Don Mertz

Don Mertz is a North Carolina-based abstract artist. A former Marine and IBM branch manager, he attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and The Art Students League in New York City where he lived for 25 years. He is a member of the Visual Arts Exchange of Raleigh, the Fine Arts League of Cary, and the Durham Art Guild.  He is represented by ArtSource Fine Art Gallery in North Hills, Raleigh, NC, and by Joe Rowand Art Fine Art Services in Chapel Hill, NC. For more information:

Website: www.mertzart.com

Blog: “Mertz Art News & Media,” http://mertzart.wordpress.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donmertzart

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/don-mertz/3/9a4/900

Lee Hansley Gallery Presents “Black & White/Color & Light: Photographs by Allen Weiss and Works by His Subjects”

George Bireline 1988 © Allen Weiss

(RALEIGH, NC) – Joe Cox, George Bireline, Herb Jackson, and Edith London are only four of the 11 prominent North Carolina artists, both living and deceased, whose portraits and works will be featured in a special exhibition at Lee Hansley Gallery in Raleigh beginning March 13.


Entitled “Black & White/Color & Light,” the exhibition will include black and white photographic portraits of well-known artists by Allen Weiss, alongside examples of their work. The featured artists are: Edith London, Ted Potter, Herb Jackson, Joe Cox, George Bireline, Harvey Littleton, Maud Gatewood, Claud Howell, Robert Irwin, Francis Speight, and Sarah Blakeslee.


The genesis for the show began 23 years ago when Weiss returned to his native Raleigh

Sarah Blakesless and Francis Speight 1988 © Allen Weiss

after living in New York City for five years. Melissa Peden, a respected art patron and art gallery owner, suggested that he photograph “living legends of the art world in North Carolina,” he recalled.


Over two decades later, gallery owner Lee Hansley was made aware of the Weiss portraits and decided to show this body of work, which has taken on added historical importance since nine of the 11 artists are no longer living.


“This is going to be a nostalgic exhibition. These portraits capture the essence of these artists and we shall reinforce that with examples of their work,” said Hansley. “It is going to be a trip down North Carolina’s artistic memory lane.”


Hansley noted that the “black and white” from the show title refers to Weiss’ large-

Ted Potter 1988 © Allen Weiss

format, black and white images of the artists in their respective environments. “Color and light” makes reference to the works of art to be displayed in concert with the portraits.


According to Weiss, major advances in printing from original negatives have introduced a visual depth to his artists’ portraits that wasn’t possible when he shot them 23 years ago. “Simply put, I’m seeing details in these prints that I never imagined could be pulled from negatives.”


Weiss worked in Raleigh and New York as a professional photographer for about 15 years, including studying under and working for world-renowned photographer Arnold Newman. In the early ‘90s, Weiss’ career veered into directing and shooting television commercials throughout the US, Canada and Europe. Inspired by the opportunity to exhibit his photography again, he has made the decision to “put still photography back in the mix” of his career.


The opening reception for “Black & White/Color Light” will be held Sunday, March 13, from 2-5 p.m. Lee Hansley Gallery is located at 225 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27603. The exhibition will run through April 30.  For more information contact the gallery at 919.828.7557.


For more information on Allen Weiss, visit www.allen-weiss.com.

“Drop The Masks” Exhibit Features New Works by Jason Craighead


Raleigh Artist Opens One-Man Show at Gallery A

"Live In It" by Jason Craighead, 48w by 50h, mixed media on canvas


November 15, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) – Gallery A in Raleigh’s Five Points neighborhood is hosting “Drop The Masks,” an exhibition of new works by Jason Craighead, now through December 31.


Gallery A is owned by Steven and Kimberly Andreaus of the Five Points Center for Aesthetic Dentistry. It is located within a historic building on Glenwood Avenue, just across from the Rialto Theatre.


Gallery A curator Angie Trull explained her reasons for wanting to showcase Craighead’s work:


“I was first exposed to Jason’s work after returning home to Raleigh after living several years outside of Charlotte,” she said. “ A number of his paintings were displayed at Frazier’s Restaurant on Hillsborough Street where I was dining with friends. I felt this immediate attraction to the work and inquired about the artist. Over the next several months, I would find myself standing in another location before a painting that I was attracted to, only to discover that it, too, was a Jason Craighead piece.”


Among the locations where she saw his work were the Humble Pie restaurant and The Dawson on Morgan condominium building, both in downtown Raleigh.


“The abstract qualities with the gestural drawings, the layering of paints, and the pale washes drew me into his paintings and gave me a sense of calm and peace,” Trull said. “I love that his paintings are ever-changing for the viewer, allowing them to continually experience something new.  Finally meeting Jason and having the opportunity to showcase his work at Gallery A was something of a full-circle moment for me.”


The Gallery A building at 1637 Glenwood Avenue also houses Andreaus’ dental practice. “Dr. Andreaus believes that his dental patients benefit from, and appreciate, the ever-changing interior of original paintings and sculptures,” Trull said.


Steven Andreaus’ first office was located on Hargett Street, where he helped establish Raleigh’s “First Friday” art walks. For more information on Gallery A, visit http://gallerya-nc.com.


For more information on Jason Craighead, visit www.jasoncraighead.com.


About the artist:


A professional artist for over a decade, Jason Craighead is a recognized leader in the North Carolina arts community. His work has been included in many solo and group exhibitions throughout the Southeastern United States. He has received numerous awards and served as a juror for various art shows. He has been selected as Signature Artist for major charitable art auctions, and his work has been featured in a number of publications, including Artists & Art Galleries of the Southeast. He is also a member of the City of Raleigh Arts Commission and the Raleigh Public Arts Committee. He is currently represented by Broadhurst Gallery in Pinehurst and Flanders Gallery in Raleigh. For more information visit www.jasoncraighead.com.

Celebrated Artist Chick Wooten To Appear At RHA Howell’s River Bend Center

Chick Wooten with one of his murals.

September 12, 2010 (River Bend, NC) — Renowned primitive artist Chick Wooten will be on hand for a public tour of the murals he painted throughout the halls of the RHA Howell River Bend Center in New Bern, NC, on Saturday, November 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations will be accepted and all proceeds will benefit a child or an adult with a disability at RHA Howell River Bend.

A second opportunity to tour the center will be available on November 16th by appointment.

One of eight children, Chick Wooten grew up on a farm in LaGrange, North Carolina, and began making sketches in 1959 after moving to New Jersey. In the 1970s he moved back to LaGrange and began receiving widespread recognition for his art. Two series of his paintings, “Days Back Yonder” and “The Garden Spot,” capture the relaxed charm of Southern culture in their depictions of rural Eastern North Carolina in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Chick Wooten is best known for his paintings of life in the Carolina countryside. The central themes of his work are family life, togetherness especially in tough times, and the importance of faith and community traditions.

The artist’s wall murals can be seen not only in the interiors of all of RHA Howell’s care centers for the developmentally disabled, but also the halls of LaGrange Elementary.

RHA Howell River Bend, which serves 125 people with disabilities, is located at 140 Pirates Road, New Bern, NC 28562. Admission to the public tour is free and $10 donations are welcomed to help the center reach its goal of raising $5000. For more information, contact Laura Marcum at 252-638-6519; lmarcum@rhanet.org.

For more information on RHA Howell, visit www.rhahowell.org.

About RHA Howell:

RHA Howell, Inc. is a non-profit organization that has, for over 35 years, been dedicated to helping people with special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently. Integrity, high standards for quality and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell disability assistance program.  RHA Howell’s services are provided statewide.  For more information, visit www.rhahowell.org.

LifeSpan Artist To Show New Works During NoDa Gallery Crawl

"The Colors of High Country" by Lisa Thompson

September 2, 2010 (CHARLOTTE, NC) – The LifeSpan Arts Studio in Charlotte’s historic NoDa arts district will host an opening reception for “The Color of High Country,” an exhibit of new paintings by Lisa Thompson, on Friday, September 3, from 5-8 p.m.

Lisa Thompson is a resident in one of the group homes in Charlotte for people with disabilities operated by RHA Howell, Inc., a statewide organization that has been serving people with disabilities and and their families for more than 35 years. Lisa receives day support at LifeSpan Arts, a community based arts program for individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities.

This isn’t Lisa’s first exhibition of her artwork. Earlier this year, she won first prize in a juried exhibition at the Enrichment Center in Winston Salem for a mixed media piece entitled “S. Lexington.”

“We all know she is a very talented artist, and we would love to see lots of people come out to support her and her work,” said Brittany Higginbotham, an arts assistant at LifeSpan.

LifeSpan Arts is part of LifeSpan, Inc., an organization that develops and operates programs that emphasize inclusion and choice in order to provide education, employment, and enrichment to individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information on the arts program, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lifespanarts.

The LifeSpan Arts studio is located at 2424 N. Davidson St., Suite 110, Charlotte, NC 28205. Lisa Thompson’s opening reception is part of the NoDa district’s twice-monthly Gallery Crawl.

For more information on RHA Howell, visit www.rhahowell.org.

About RHA Howell, Inc.:

RHA Howell is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that has been helping people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently for more than 35 years. Integrity, high standards for quality, and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell disability assistance program. Proven leaders in caring for people, RHA Howell, Inc. is a pioneering force in the field of human services, particularly supporting infants and children. For more information, go to www.rhahowell.org.

New Art Institute, Founded by Artists for Artists, To Open In Raleigh

Pre-registration for inaugural classes will be held in December.

November 16, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) – The Raleigh Institute of Contemporary Art (RICA), an atelier school founded by artists for artists of all levels in the Triangle area, will hold its first pre-registration on Friday, December 4, from 5-9 p.m. at 300 Blake Street in downtown Raleigh’s City Market complex.

The event will include an exhibit of works by RICA instructors.

The brainchild of well-known Raleigh artists Mia Yoon and Jason Craighead, RICA’s mission is “to provide an affordable, high-quality institute for art education that will give all aspiring artists a place to reach their greatest potential,” said Yoon, who attended both the Pratt Institute and Art Students League in New York. “We want RICA to be a community of artists who come together to teach and learn, very similar to my experiences at the Art Students League where both new and very successful artists can take a variety of courses to expand their horizons and grow.”

RICA’s instructors are all regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized professional artists with a contemporary perspective. The inaugural roster of instructors includes: Marty Baird, Lope Max Diaz, Bill Koeb, Dave Green, Gayle Stott Lowry, Gerry Lynch, David McConnell, Jonathan Peedin, Shaun Richard, and Derek Toomes, as well as Yoon and Craighead.

Examples of each instructor’s own work will be on display during the December 4th pre-registration in City Market.

“By design, our instructors bring a range of artistic philosophies and approaches to the educational process,” said Craighead, an accomplished artist and active member of the North Carolina arts community. “We all share the belief that education is the foundation of great art communities. We also believe that on-going education is the foundation for great artists.”

RICA class sessions will span six weeks with one three-hour session per week. Each six-week session is $250. Individual courses range from a Youth Class taught by Derek Toomes and Mary Baird’s Basic Drawing class to Lope Max Diaz’s Advanced Painting and Jason Craighead’s Freeform Drawing classes.

Yoon and Craighead noted that new instructors will be added in the future.

Scheduled to open January 18, 2010, the Raleigh Institute of Contemporary Art is located at 2123 Atlantic Avenue. For more information, go to www.ricanc.com or call 919-800-0208.

About the Raleigh Institute of Contemporary Art:

Located at 2123 Atlantic Avenue in Raleigh, the art institute offers a wide variety of art classes taught via six-week sessions with one three-hour class per week. All instructors are regionally, nationally and internationally accomplished artists who believe in the need for on-going education for all artists, regardless of skill level. Classes are available from Youth and beginner to advanced. For more information, go to www.ricanc.com.

Jason Craighead Featured in “Retrospective 25”

Jason Craighead. (photo by f8 Photo Studios)
Jason Craighead. (photo by f8 Photo Studios)

October 18, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) – Raleigh, NC-based artist Jason Craighead is among only 25 artists selected for the City of Raleigh’s “Retrospective 25,” a special art exhibit celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Municipal Building’s art exhibition program.

Sponsored by the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, the retrospective showcases work from artists who have exhibited in the Miriam Preston Block Art Gallery in the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, or Municipal Building, in downtown Raleigh.

In October 2006 through March 2007, nine of Jason Craighead’s large works were included in a two-artist exhibit there entitled “Microcosm/Macrocosm.” The City of Raleigh subsequently purchased his largest piece in the show, “Travel Park 2,” an 80-inch wide by 80-inch tall mixed media on panel painting. It is currently on display in the Exchange Plaza building on Wilmington Street.

For “Retrospective 25,” Craighead is showing “Losing Man’s Geometry,” a 64w by 76h mixed media on canvas painting.

‘I’m honored to be included in a show that covers such a span of North Carolina’s art history,” he said.

According to the City, an exhibit spanning the past 25 years provides “a snapshot into the history of the Block Art Gallery and overall development of the visual arts scene in Raleigh.”

“Retrospective 25” spotlights the work of deceased artists, such as Claude Howell, George Birelines and Joe Cox, as well as recent work by living artists, including: Marty Baird, Tina Bromberg, Luke Miller Buchanan, Richard Garrison, Ann Harwell, Herb Jackson, Mary Shannon Johnstone, Joyce Watkins King, Philip Lopez, Gayle Stott Lowry, Kathleen Rieder, Thomas Sayre, Brian Shawcroft, Nona Short, David Simonton, Tom Spleth, Georgia Springer, Wayne Taylor, Anthony Ulinski, Doug Van de Zande, and Sally Van Gorder. Media featured includes painting, fibers, ceramics, photography and mixed-media.

“Retrospective 25” will be on display through November 16. The Miriam Preston Block Art Gallery is located 222 W. Hargett Street.

For more information on Jason Craighead, visit www.jasoncraighead.com.

About Jason Craighead:

Jason Craighead lives and works in downtown Raleigh. He has been an active participant in the Triangle arts community for many years and has donated numerous paintings to charitable art auctions, including the Works of Heart auction for the Carolina AIDS Alliance and the Visual Art Exchange’s annual fundraiser. He has also served as a juror and signature artist for Works of Heart, the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, the Greensboro Center for Visual Arts Members’ Show and Raleigh’s annual Artsplosure festival. He is currently represented by Somerhill Gallery in Durham, Broadhurst Gallery in Pinehurst, Anne Irwin Fine Art in Atlanta, GA,, and Bucks Gallery of Fine Art in Newtown, PA. For more information and to view the artist’s work, visit www.jasoncraighead.com.