Gallery of Banned Books Pops Up in Downtown Chapel Hill

September 12, 2019

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Gallery of Banned Books Pops Up in Downtown Chapel Hill

For the final weeks of September, a vacant space in downtown Chapel Hill will be transformed into a gallery of banned books and local art. Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, in collaboration with Chapel Hill Public Library, will host a Banned Books Art Pop-Up Exhibit at Gallery 109, located at 109 East Franklin St. The exhibit opens Friday, Sept. 13 and will remain up through Sunday, Sept. 29. The public is invited to an opening reception this Friday from 6-9 p.m., as part of the Second Friday Artwalk.

The exhibit consists of over 40 works of art on paper created by local artists and inspired by books that have been banned, challenged, or censored. The artists included in the exhibit are both young and old, emerging and well-established. They hail from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, and Pittsboro. The artistic media represented includes everything from collage to watercolor to cut paper and encaustic. The books that inspired the art include classics like Brave New World and The Awakening to modern favorites such as Fun Home and The Bluest Eye to children’s stories, including Captain UnderpantsBridge to Terabithia, and Harry Potter.

These images were created over the past six years as part of the Library’s annual Banned Books Trading Card project. As part of the national Banned Books Week campaign, each year the Library asks local artists to submit original artwork inspired by banned books and authors. Seven of those works are selected by a jury and then printed as trading cards, with the art on the front and information about the book and the artist on the back. The cards are given out during Banned Books Week (Sept. 22-29) and throughout the year as a way to educate the community about the perils of censorship and to celebrate the freedom to read.

Susan Brown, Chapel Hill Public Library Director and Executive Director for Community Arts & Culture, says the cards are a perennial favorite with the community and hopes that the community will enjoy the gallery as well. “There is great interest in bringing more, and more community-focused art, to downtown, especially in underused spaces. This pop-up gallery brings a diverse array of art created by local artists to a vacant space on Franklin Street – we think it is a win-win for all.”

To learn more about Banned Books Art Pop-Up Gallery, visit Banned Books Trading Card Project is made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library. Gallery 109 is a collaboration between Chapel Hill Arts & Culture, UNC Arts Everywhere, and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.