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What You Need to Know About North Carolina for July 15, 2014

You’ve already learned how we dance. Now learn about the rest of the ways we express ourselves. And of course, what’s happening across the state. 

Explaining North Carolina-Art and Culture

We’ve talked about how rich our soils are in a previous post. Yet, there was one part of the ground we left out on purpose, because we knew it would come back to the official state art medium and that is clay. Clay, like some of our other state symbols, is a bit ubiquitous and people worldwide have developed skills in manipulating it. However, in North Carolina you may automatically think of red clay and how it’s very hard to grow things in, but it makes a halfway decent pot. What you may not know is there are two other types of clay native to the state, grey clay, that comes out of creek beds and kaolin, that comes from feldspar and mica deposits in the mountains. Those clays produce the lighter, porcelain pots and even tiles.

Additionally, molding clay has evolved from making sure you had something to eat off of for cheap to into pottery festivals, inspiring songs and the names of  musical groups, inspiring schools of art and becoming a major economic driver for people who want that right ceramic dish or that angular kiln molded sculpture. Most of the pottery activity is concentrated in the Sandhills community of Seagrove, but you’ll find it all over the place. Surprisingly, clay has only been honored as an official state symbol for just over a year, making it one of the most recent state symbols.  Here’s a nice gaggle of cool pots for you and find out more about clay and pottery’s effect on the state here.

Via Flickr user, MAL 9000 and NCPedia















Speaking of festivals, North Carolina has named so many, probably because we love them so much. Here’s a bulleted list of a few of the official named festivals. And yes, we have an official shad fry and two official watermelon festivals. One suspects the number of official festivals comes from the idea of having resolutions drafted in honor of events, in turn making a festival state sanctioned and honored. Think of the concept of naming days and streets after people, via the official gubernatorial appointment process and you get where we are going.

Bouncing back to the creation of art in the community, we’ve named an official community theater, the Thalian Association in Wilmington. The theater company is over 200 years old and in its present iteration, has produced plays since World War II. And since the 1850’s it has served as the main municipal theater and company in Wilmington. It was given its state designation in 2007.  Check out a photo of Thalian Hall, their home and learn more about the company here.

Photo by Tim Buchman, courtesy of Preservation North Carolina and NCPedia

















You might have thought that since Tobbaco Road was created here, our state sport was basketball. Well, our official sport is also tied to the roads, and how fast you can race through them. Yes, stock car racing, NASCAR, is our official sport, named in 2011. Like many of our state symbols, this was a student led effort and this group of kids named themselves “The Pit Crew.” The resolution was even signed at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Learn more about NASCAR’s history here. Here’s a stock car, for fun.

Nascar Green Flag and Sonoma Raceway 2 photo D Ramey Logan” by WPPilotOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

And finally, our last official state cultural pursuit involves wheels of a different sort, whirligigs. These windmill-like structures are more artistic and are less practical. Think oversized and metallic pinwheel. Yet, their most famous purveyor and the official state creator of them, Vollis Simpson, never considered himself an artist, but a man who didn’t want to retire and sit around watching TV, so he started creating things out of his old spare parts. That led to numerous TV appearances, commissions for museum and department store pieces and an entire farm’s worth of the whirligigs. The city of Wilson, near his farm in Lucama, is set to open a Whriligig-focused city park. Mr. Simpson’s whirligigs were honored as our state folk art just a few weeks after his death at the age of 94 in 2013. Check out one below and find out more about them here.

Via the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park

And now your news

News Across North Carolina for July 15, 2014

Rockingham County will not be raising sales taxes, for now.

The City of Winston-Salem may extend employee benefits to same-sex partners.

What the Guilford County Commissioners will be up to at their next meeting.

A study by the N.C. Budget and Tax Center has found that changes to unemployment benefits are hurting rural areas throughout the state.

Why DPAC continues to sell out and book popular shows.

A group of folks are working to bring a co-op to the Southeast Raleigh food desert.

Lyft is battling for legal access to the RDU Airport.

CTS has 30 days to provide a plan to clean up their Asheville superfund site.

The women’s cultural museum in Asheville, the first in the Southeast, has opened.

Asheville’s downtown commission has approved the AC Hotel plans.

The Carolina Panthers are almost done with their first phase of their stadium renovation.

The governor is pushing the members of his party in the Senate to go ahead and approve a budget.

A family farm in the Ballantyne area may be sold, despite it being a site for community field trips, pickings and other activities that connect rural culture with urban and suburban areas.

Plans have changed, but are still going forward, for housing for the homeless in Wilmington.

Pender County’s Health Department has been recognized by the state as its most improved county health department.

The Fayetteville City Council will vote soon on the construction contract for its new transit center.

What the lawmakers at the General Assembly have to resolve before closing their session this year.

A monetary settlement has been reached over the failed Hope Mills Dam.

Raleigh’s mayor is concerned that the negotiations for the Dorothea Dix property are going too slow.

Davie County residents are organizing against fracking.

And finally, Check out the Charlotte Hornets hometown team, an idea inspired by the recent announcement that Lebron James would return to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.


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