WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — As a City of Arts and Innovation, Winston-Salem has taken an inventive approach to the structural and interior improvements of the newly reinvented Benton Convention Center.
While the architects and contractors were working on the $20 million, 18-month renovations, a team of art aficionados were reviewing custom pieces from numerous North Carolina-based artists to select those that best reflected the city’s vibrant and edgy spirit. The Benton was the natural canvas for this initiative taken by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission, which curated the artwork.
“Our community has been recognized for its exceptional creative influence in everything from the visual to performing arts,” said Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem. “As a focal point in our downtown, it was critical that the reinvented Benton showcase and reflect Winston-Salem’s artistic undercurrent with bold interior design elements and artworks.”
A total of 12 artworks are displayed throughout the Benton, among them a Winston-Salem original, “Art-o-mat,” one of 100 retired cigarette vending machines in the world that have been converted to vend original, handmade art.
Other fitting works include painter Nico Amortegui’s mural “We, Winston-Salem,” which tell the story of the city through vivid colors and bold visual elements, and Dennis Wells’ “In Her Own Words,” an oversized pen-and-ink silhouette comprising quotes of the late poet and Winston-Salem resident Maya Angelou. Photojournalist Christine Rucker’s captivating “Dance for the River: Blue Dress” brings together dance and nature to drive awareness and educate about water conservation in the nearby Yadkin Valley. A full listing of artists is available at www.reinventyourmeetings.com.