Art exhibition in downtown Concord invites visitors to draw on walls

“Interactive Lines,” an exhibition that explores the transformation of drawing as a medium, opened Jan. 20 and will be on display through March 6 at The Galleries, in the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse in downtown Concord.

The exhibition, which features displays of two- and three-dimensional works by nine artists, also provides an interactive gallery, where visitors are encouraged and inspired to make their own drawings on paper that covers the walls.

Rebecca Collins, visual arts director for the Cabarrus Arts Council, knew she wanted to do a drawing exhibition and thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

“It actually comes originally from an exercise that the surrealists used to use,” Collins said. “They would start a drawing and then let somebody else complete it. So their original idea would turn into something completely different. It is also done with poetry and literature.”

During orientation for volunteer docents for the exhibition, Collins said a black-and-white drawing by Seagrove potter Fred Johnston had later been colored in by someone else.

She told the docents to encourage such behavior. “You want to add to other’s creations, but do it respectfully,” Collins said, cautioning that they should not allow anyone to destroy another’s work.

“The intention of this experience is to bring people in and let their creativity run wild,” she said. “We want viewers of art to come in and, rather than just view the art, truly experience it and put themselves within it,” she said.

Materials, loose guidelines and a glass bowl of written inspirations have been provided to help encourage visitors’ creativity.

Concord resident Jacob Barker, 3, had a mischievous look on his face as he selected a few crayons. His sister, Kasie Barker, 18, had just told him they were going to draw on the wall of the interactive gallery during the exhibition opening Jan. 20, and he was excited for the opportunity.

Making a few circles – smaller, then bigger – Jacob named his creation “Circle.” But then he started adding some vertical and horizontal lines, and he changed the name to “Eye Monster,” he said.

“I just hope he doesn’t think he can do this when we get home,” said Kasie Barker as she drew some vertical lines to start the base of a tree. “If he does, I can blame it on the exhibit,” she said with a smile.

The nine artists on display are: David Bonagurio of Syracuse, N.Y.; Sue Bryan of New York City; Erin Canady of Chapel Hill; Tim Christensen of Surrey, Maine; Tim Ford of North Carolina; Johnston of Seagrove; Jennifer Mecca of New York; Janvier Rollande of Maine; and Art Venti of southern California.