In past lives, the unassuming brick warehouse at the corner of West Martin and Harrington streets in downtown Raleigh moved produce, paint and chrome bumpers.
In its new incarnation as the Contemporary Art Museum, it has the power to move people.
The museum, which opened Saturday, features works by Dan Steinhilber and Naoko Ito, both of whom use recycled and reclaimed materials in their art.
"We thought it would go along well with the building itself," said Rosemary Wyche, museum director of communications and development.
The bones of the old warehouse are visible inside and out, but Raleigh-based design firm Clearscapes and architects Brooks + Scarpa updated the space with a modern feel that complements the vitality of its opening exhibits.
"Contemporary art is representing what is happening now," including the cultural trend of recycling and finding value in used materials, Wyche said.
Steinhilber's display includes pieces made from cardboard boxes, wooden pallets, coat hangers and plastic wrap run through a lawn mower.
Ito's work encases segmented tree branches in glass jars.
There are no frames in the opening exhibits, and nothing is under glass. One of Steinhilber's pieces requires the viewer to step through the door of a junked refrigerator into a giant, inflated plastic shape.
"It's not the kind of museum you walk into and you can't touch," Wyche said.
The pieces on display are new and unique - constructed primarily inside the building. CAM is a noncollecting museum - nothing is on display permanently. Exhibits will change about every three months, Wyche said.
Also helping to keep things fresh is the museum's partnership with N.C. State's College of Design.
"It gives them the ability to have an outreach area, an off-campus laboratory, and it's outreach for the community for them as well as for us," Wyche said.
David Diaz, president and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, sees the museum as an "incubator for creative people."
"The more students you have coming to school downtown, the more creativity and innovation get to happen," he said. "We'd love for those students to ultimately open up their own places, their own studios downtown."
Visitors interested in how the works they're viewing came together can watch videos of the artists building their pieces.
There's a good chance, Wyche said, that visitors with good timing will have the chance to meet artists and watch them as they create.
"We want people to walk in and think about (the art), feel it, and just go out feeling as though they've actually experienced something," Wyche said.