In the midst of the Golden Belt Historic district, at 1004 Morning Glory Ave, stands a revitalized 100-year-old church still dedicated to reaching out to the community, but in different ways.
Since opening in May as SPECTRE Arts, the white church formerly called The Lord House has turned into somewhat of a blank canvas for a variety of artistic endeavors.
“It is a little space, but a space with a lot of life,” said Alicia Lange, owner of SPECTRE Arts. “We are doing everything creative we can.”
The venue includes gallery space, artists’ studios and an outdoor courtyard with a stage for performances.
SPECTRE provides a good mix between a casual environment and high quality work, said Thomas.
On Third Friday Durham nights, the gallery comes to life as the gathering place it is intended to be.
“All of these people from different backgrounds and times in life feel comfortable coming to our space,” said Lange.
On these nights the gallery is open to the public, complete with piñatas for kids. To ensure that SPECTRE is accessible, the gallery joined with the Bridge Bus to connect riders to their and other venues on Third Fridays for free.
The Bridge Bus supports and connects local businesses while giving people the experience of a gallery crawl, said Lange.
SPECTRE hopes to give people a place to hang out, said Lange.
“I love being around people, and I love the feeling you get when there is a group of people around you laughing,” said Lange. “I think that is where this drive for community comes from.”
SPECTRE is working to reach out to the community through art with various projects.
In late August, SPECTRE held the first of a biannual event called Pie Munsters in which local restaurants donated pies for a picnic dinner to raise money for creating public works of art in Durham.
Meredith Pittman, organizer of Pie Munsters and local graphic designer, says public art is a good opportunity not only for local artists and businesses but also for the community.
“Getting a lot of people to see it creates an awareness and a dialogue about why it’s important,” said Pittman.
Pittman says art is a kind of language.
“It’s a different way of learning about each other,” said Pittman. “It’s a different way to bring cultures together.”
Art can communicate to everyone and it can break through any socioeconomic or cultural barriers, said Lange.
Artists in Durham are ahead of the curve in providing outlets for expression and creating a local culture, said Thomas.
“If you want to create something, there is someone there to help you out,” said Thomas.
Lange says she will continue to come up with new ideas and projects for SPECTRE.
“Every project is a success when you try and open up the door to let something happen,” said Lange.