Vinyl art installations enliven downtown Chapel Hill businesses

February 17, 2021

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Art is always around, from natural occurrences in the environment to more artificial presentations in technology and architecture — and the Chapel Hill Community Arts and Culture division of the Town is working to make art more visible. They are partnering with local artists to spread their work around the community by displaying vinyl prints in the windows of local businesses in downtown Chapel Hill.

Loren Pease, one of five artists featured in the showcase, wanted to send a message of hope in the midst of the pandemic with her piece, “Stronger Together,”  which is on display in the window of The PIT Chapel Hill.

“My work is all colorful and happy because I tend to paint things that evoke joy,” Pease said. “Considering the times we’re in, I figured it was a good, inclusive term to use, so I designed the art around the term ‘Stronger Together.’”

According to Pease, her art has two meanings: first, it is a way to encourage people to support local businesses. Second, it sends a message of unity and inclusiveness to the residents of Chapel Hill.

“Artists have a unique opportunity to communicate with people,” Pease said. “I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to get messages in front of the public that inspire positive vibes.”

At the forefront of the program is the relationship between the artist and the community. At Cat Tales Cat Café, the piece “Welcome Furreinds” by Julienne Alexander was installed, which coincides with the brand of the café. Katy Poitras, the co-owner of the café, believes that the art program was a force of good in the area.

“Anytime a community can express its personality and showcase the talent within that community is a great thing,” Poitras said. “It’s a great way to connect the artists with the business owners and create a synergy.”

Poitras believes that the art program came at a critical time in Chapel Hill, when local businesses were truly reeling from the pandemic and social distancing orders.

“When it was first installed, it was an especially slow time in Chapel Hill – it felt very desolate,” Poitras said. “Getting this bright, fun, colorful, positive art was a great thing to add to the community.”

Anchita Karwande, a first-year student studying neuroscience, believes the presentation of the art gives the artists a larger, more informal audience.

“It’s not just about the people that come to an art show, but it’s about everyone that walks past the building, and they are impacted by it,” Karwande said.