Emerge Gallery highlighting black artists virtually

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Emerge Gallery in uptown is still closed due to COVID-19.

The art center is trying to find creative ways to engage the community.

Emerge is hosting a virtual exhibition called Black Voices Matter, featuring visual art and music.

“I think right now it’s such an important time to let black artists have a voice,” said Holly Garriott, Executive Director of the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge. “I think it’s even more important for our entire community to listen.”

Garriott says when the gallery’s windows were broken during protests, they knew they wanted to commission black artists to paint the boards.

“The arts is such a powerful and constructive way to get artists’ voices and emotions out,” she said. “We really feel like the public art on our building is so strong because it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are or what your background is. When you pass the building, when you’re walking by the building, you’re going to have to interact with that public art.”

Now, that art is part of a virtual exhibition highlighting black art.

The gallery is also holding virtual performances on Friday as part of its African American Music Series.

“African American music has always been a voice to part of our community where a lot of times they haven’t been heard or haven’t even been allowed to talk,” said Garriott.

COVID-19 is putting a strain on artists.

Emerge Gallery started a relief fund, giving 100 percent of the donations to local artists.

“They can’t perform,” said Garriott. “You can’t go see a concert or live music. Our visual artists, who have been teaching or selling their work in galleries, have not been able to do that. It’s been a real challenging time.”

The African American Music Series is a two-part Facebook Live event at five and seven o’clock Friday.

Visit the Emerge Gallery website to view the Black Voices Matter exhibition.

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