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CITY NEW

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Charlotte like many cities has been described as a “beautiful set of gems thrust into the ground.” A wonder to behold from a distance but difficult to grasp up close. When you walk around some cities it can feel like that. There are the usual things, a sports stadium, a couple of large museums and big hotels. Most of the legacy buildings have been torn down to make room for the towering gems. On the ground, it's difficult to touch the gems and feel any humanism. They are too shiny, too perfect and without personality.
This can change with the courage of civic leaders. If you add some transportation, vision and young entrepreurs a city new can emerge. The city can take on new personality and richness. In Charlotte, risks were taken to extend the Blue Line light rail into the once industrial east side. Here you often found abandoned industrial buildings and ghost malls which once served workers.
This afforded the potential of new dense living and expansion of a fledging art communit…

CITY WALLS

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If the city were an artist, the walls would be its canvas. We pass walls everyday. They are dividers, modes of protection from the outside and foundational parts of a building. 
They are also so much more. Some bear the marks of a torn down building, the scrapes and colors of a city always in motion, a piece of art drawn by the patina of time, or statements either artistic or political. They are a message place for an urban tribe to mark on, in language only known to them. Walls are a rambling combination of all these left like an ancient cave dwellers attempt at recording history.




In the sometimes swirling chaos of the city, a wall can be a reflection of peace. Stopping us long enough to pause and look. Sometimes art, sometimes thought provoking, and sometimes just a statement or guide directing our wandering. Interest is always found there, to be interpreted and enjoyed. 
David Young

WATERCOLORS

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"Horse Still Roam"
The other day, I found myself searching through my art studio for an old pan of watercolor paints. Maybe I longed for the gentle nature of them. Especially in these difficult times. The muted colors and lack of harsh lines. How with a brush you could blend them together on cold press paper, enjoying them becoming one. There is a special art in them, born out of their imperfection.
There’s something pure and simple about working with watercolors. Often you can use just one brush that is easily cleaned with water between colors. A drop of paint on the tip can be spread in any direction toward the boundary of your subject.
Watercolors are the oldest form of painting. Cave dwellers used ochre and charcoal mixed with water to make images on their walls. They too tried to interpret the world they lived in. Artists from Paul Cezanne to O”Keefe found their initial expressions and inspiration using watercolors.
Life seems so unbounded right now. You hope to make sense …

A ROAD NAMED BRICKYARD

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The South is crisscrossed with small roads. Much more so than in the West where I am from. Each one beckons you. Eventually, curiosity and the explorer in you turns your car onto them. Some are beautiful like Clarence Promise Road, Whiskey Run and the Road to Tradesville. 
You are drawn to others just by their unique name. Such is the short Brickyard Road. This unassuming road runs to the backdoor of Fort Mill SC. When you first drive it, there is nothing that shouts out at you in the way of wonderment. There are a few things that catch your eye, a lovely forest stretch, an old abandoned dirt side road, a hint at a structure here and there.
There’s enough to entice your curiosity. So back home I did some research. Brickyard Road it turns out is full of Native American, early settler and industry lore. Long before the first settlers, this road bed and the remains of the original Nations Ford Road (which crosses it) were used by traders. The latter road leading to the best spot to cros…

DREAMLAND

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I’ve written about Chester, SC before. A picturesque town on a hill at the doorstep between the Piedmont and Low Country to the south. It’s a town frozen in time with colorful buildings dating back to the mid 1800’s. Then the town had great promise as a transportation, commerce and industrial center fueled by textile mills. The storefronts filled with merchants and shops.
Roland Hill, a wealthy business man from Greensboro NC, must have sensed the promise of the town when he built a Theater in 1913 to both show movies and be a focal point for local plays. Fittingly he named it Dreamland. He said it would stand for a 100 years and be a focal point for the community culture.
The theater changed hands and names several times, but still stands today. However, much like the rest of Chester is now unoccupied. Still the images of theater goers of long past remain painted on the sides of the building in the alley near where the actors used to enter the stage area. Some locals have said the plac…

MALL SPIN

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“Show me a Mall, and I’m Happy.”   Julie Roberts
Malls are always fun. Ever changing, always different on each spin around. Even the same looks different. You want to go there. The experience though can be both rewarding and disappointing. 

Sometimes you feel empty after  a visit, thinking there must be more to life. Others times you are elated by the purchases, the people and the sights. Beyond the fancy merchandise and glittering store fronts there is a different mall, an artful one. It’s all part of the Mall Spin that never ends.
David Young



SETTLING ACCOUNTS

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During the shutdown, my thoughts often drifted to times before the virus. Travels, dining out, gatherings, shopping and just being out without fears. The world seemed like an oyster then. A place where you could achieve anything you wish or go anywhere just because you had the desire. A world you could chase after with zeal.
Now that things are opening up again, the same temptations are starting to emerge. Still there are things I learned from the pandemic experience. You become more in touch with your mortality. You begin to feel there may be other ways to live than you have in the past. Most of all, you realize there are things you still need to learn about yourself and opportunities for personal growth you overlooked in the past. 
I want the “new normal” to be different. Spending more time developing friends, understanding myself, growing spiritually and becoming more peaceful. I will still embrace the oyster of the world we are blessed with, but want to devote more time to the parts…