LUMBERTON — Dani Soethout walked into the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater toting one of her works.
Clutched between her arms was a vibrant painting covering a large canvas that she was submitting for the River Roots Arts Guild’s ongoing exhibit at the theater.
As vice chairwoman of the guild Alisha Locklear pulled Soethout aside to explain the process and the fees for submitting, hearty laughter accompanied the friendly conversation. Soethout explained that she is a student at the Art Institute of Raleigh–Durham.
“Exhibiting builds up new artists’ confidence,” Jessica Clark said as the two women spoke. “It encourages them to participate in more shows, and to get more feedback and attention.”
Clark is the chairwoman for River Roots Arts Guild, as well as a visual arts teacher at Lumberton Senior High School. As she explained more about the exhibit, Locklear interrupted, cutting to the chase.
“This is what we want,” Locklear said, “to show that there is a large variety of talent in the area.”
The River Roots Arts Guild, a group of artists and locals working to support, expose and illuminate the arts, has partnered with the Carolina Civic Center to feature local artists in an exhibit called “Evolving Perspectives.” A variety of art — photography, paintings and sculpture — will be featured until Jan. 1 and can be viewed during scheduled events or by appointment. Money from the sale of any art at the “Evolving Perspectives” exhibit will go directly to the contributing artist, with a portion benefiting the Civic Center’s educational programming.
A reception for the exhibit was held Thursday at the Civic Center, giving people a chance to peruse the works and to speak with the artists.
Richard Sceiford, the executive director of the theater, exudes excitement about the exposure artists can get from exhibiting.
“Audiences,” he said, “have grown.”
He said that the recent showing of the Raleigh Ringers, a hand bell ensemble that performed Aug. 26, was nearly sold out, and that more and more people are showing up to performances, utilizing the theater. He hopes the increased exposure will do for artists what it seems to be doing for the theater.
“We are striving to be a multi-dimensional cultural facility in terms of our program offerings,” Sceiford said. “It’s important for younger artists to see how much artwork is out there. We added artwork two years ago to help fulfill that goal.”
The River Roots Arts Guild itself is almost 2 years old — one of several parallels that make the partnership an appropriate one.
“We just want to bring some attention to Robeson County to the cultural arts because they are so prevalent here,” Clark said. “We want them to make and sell art and get recognized locally and maybe even nationally.”
Tom Voltman, a teacher at Fairmont High School, is one of the artists featured along the walls of the theater. His painting uses light to portray a scene in the trees in the early days of fall.
To participate in the exhibit, non-members of the guild had to pay a fee of $10 for the first entry and $5 for each additional entry. The guild then selected works to exhibit.
The money from submission fees will go toward the guild’s future projects, which include events like the River Roots Art Showcase on Jan. 25 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke that will feature bead work, decorated gourds, hand-dyed scarves, paintings and other works.
“We are always welcoming new members,” Locklear said. “There are no guidelines. We’re just trying to build up the community.”