“To the Hoop | Basketball and Contemporary Art”: An exhibition now on view at the Weatherspoon Art Museum

small basketball court in a farm field

Bill Bamberger, Farm Home by Cotton Field, Plymouth, North Carolina, 2004, color inkjet print, 19 5/16 x 28 7/8 in. Edition. Courtesy of the artist. © Bill Bamberger.

Now through June 1: To the Hoop | Basketball and Contemporary Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum, 2nd Floor: The Bob & Lissa Shelley McDowell Gallery and Gallery 6

Thursday February 27, 6:30 p.m.,  Talk: To the Hoop, Emily Stamey

Our friendly neighborhood art museum has a timely new exhibition, organized by Dr. Emily Stamey, curator of exhibitions and College Hill neighbor. From the WAM website:

From its storied invention in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith as a recreational activity for “incorrigible” youth, to its multibillion-dollar industry today, basketball has uniquely captured America’s imagination—and stolen North Carolina’s heart.

Embedded in its history are many of the topics fueling current social concerns and contemporary art. Divisions between rural and urban cultures can be considered in the distinctions between the sport’s development in farming town gymnasiums and inner-city playgrounds. Increasing commercialization can be traced through its intersections with fashion and franchising. Issues of racial equity reverberate through the NBA and NCAA. And, the advancement of women’s roles can likewise be considered through the early adaptation of rules for female athletes and the successes of the WNBA.

That game’s golden era of the late 1970s through the 1990s coincided with both an explosion of the contemporary art market and with artistic shifts towards addressing so many of the social issues—race, gender, economics—that readily surface in basketball’s widespread popularity. And, basketball’s distinct visual qualities make it an apt subject for artists: unlike a baseball concealed in a glove or a football buried under a pileup, a basketball is readily seen, and the athletes wear relatively minimal uniforms on an indoor court where cameras easily capture their expressions as they soar towards elevated goals.

To the Hoop explores these myriad facets of basketball’s intersection with contemporary art and culture, offering an opportunity to consider our world through the overlapping lenses of sport and art.

woman wearing basketball-jersey wedding dress

Esmaa Mohamoud, One of the Boys (Yellow Back), 2018, color inkjet print, 60 x 40 in. Edition. Courtesy of the artist and Georgia Scherman Projects, Toronto. © Esmaa Mohamoud.

Posted in Mendenhall Street, UNCG, Weatherspoon Art Museum | Tagged | Leave a comment

917 Walker is now a rental for professionals and their families; one ‘chic’ apartment at 706 Walker is now a ‘vacation rental’

917 walker avenue seen from the street

917 Walker Avenue is now a rental, marketed as a “perfect home for a professor at UNCG or any other professional family that wants live in this great location.”

Two residences on Walker Avenue have become rentals somewhat atypical  for College Hill.

917 Walker was sold in November and is now being marketed as a rental for families. It previously was owner-occupied. An LLC bought the house and is listing it for $2,250 per month.

“Great Location, Off Street Parking,” a sloppily written listing on Zillow says. “3 bedroom 3 bath house with a beautiful yard. READY to LEASE. perfect home for a professor at UNCG or any other professional family that wants live in this great location. … Can be a short term lease for a strong credit. (requires bigger deposit) Partly furnished.”

The new owner is an LLC called Black Rhino Capital Group. County records show it owns two homes in Greensboro, both bought in late 2019. The home was previously owned by Kate Black, a real estate agent. The sale price was $280,000. The property wasn’t listed publicly for sale.

706 walker avenue seen from the street

706 Walker, aka “the ultimate North Carolina getaway!”

The first-floor apartment of 706 Walker Avenue is now a “vacation rental.”

“This contemporary duplex is a fantastic destination for smaller families or couples looking to explore downtown Greensboro with easy access to nearby attractions, outdoor recreation, and the UNC Greensboro campus,” the VRBO website says.

The apartment has two bedrooms, 850 square feet and a listed capacity of six people. VRBO lists it as “NEW! Modern Dwtn Retreat <1 Mi to UNC Greensboro.” It has an average rate of $117 per night (plus a $106 “cleaning fee,” listed far down the page).

“Make your stay in Greensboro one to remember with a stay at this 2-bed, 1-bath vacation rental nestled in the downtown historic district,” the listing says. “This chic duplex offers all the comforts of home including modern amenities, a spacious kitchen, and comfortable furnishings. You’ll be within walking distance from the excitement of the UNC Greensboro campus and a short drive away from well-known attractions such as the Greensboro Arboretum and LeBauer Park, making this the ultimate North Carolina getaway!”

Asheville, Pinehurst and Bald Head Island, you’re toast.

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S. Mendenhall improvements, street paving set for this year; new sidewalk is being considered for lower end of Carr Street

traffic on s. mendenhall at odell place

Lane shifts were added to South Mendenhall Street after the 2019 repaving. Construction on additional traffic-calming measures could begin by the end of the year.

The city plans to begin construction on the next phase the South Mendenhall Street traffic-calming project by the end of the year. It also expects this year to repave five streets that were torn up for water and sewer work in recent years.

An unexpected project also is being considered: The possible addition of a long-needed sidewalk along the south side of Carr Street between Tate and McIver streets.

South Mendenhall Street is now being surveyed in preparation for the construction of long-term traffic-calming measures. Jeff Sovich of the city Planning Department briefed the College Hill Neighborhood Association on the city’s plans at Monday’s meeting. Design work on the bump-outs and other structures will begin once the survey is complete. The city hopes to begin construction by the end of the year. The design will be prepared by John Fersner, new chief design engineer in the Engineering & Inspections Department.

The project is the result of years of planning initiated by the neighborhood association to reduce the excessive speed of traffic on South Mendenhall between Market and Spring Garden Streets. The changes began last year when lane shifts were implemented throughout the five blocks targeted for traffic-calming.

Funding for the project comes from the historic district’s Municipal Service Fund, paid for exclusively by College Hill property owners.

2020 street repaving

Water- and sewer-line rehabilitation, mostly conducted in 2018, seriously deteriorated the already poor condition of many College Hill streets. Repaving is scheduled for this year on:

  • Carr Street from Tate to Mendenhall streets,
  • Joyner Street from Spring Garden to Oakland Avenue,
  • Rankin Place from Tate to Mendenhall streets,
  • and Tate Street from Market Street to Gate City Boulevard.

In addition, Spring Street, just east of the neighborhood, will be repaved from West McGee Street to Fisher Avenue.

Dates for the work have not been determined. Jeff has informed the Engineering and Inspections Department of streets that have excess crown heights and/or insufficient curb heights. On Carr Street, for example, the curbs are only a couple inches high after previous street repavings.

pedestrian walks on hazardous stretch of carr st.

A pedestrian walks on the hazardous south side of Carr Street near Tate Street

New Carr Street sidewalk possible

In contrast to the city Transportation Department’s years of obstruction and foot-dragging on the South Mendenhall project, the city is taking the initiative on a problem on Carr Street between Tate and McIver streets. The block will be studied to see whether a sidewalk can be constructed on the south side of the street. Pedestrians coming up the west side of Tate Street from the business district often turn down Carr and walk on the side of the street with no sidewalk, rather than crossing Carr, walking down the side of the street with a sidewalk and then crossing back again at McIver if they’re on their way to the Sullivan Science Building, the School of Nursing or other points to the south. The high volume of vehicles, often including heavy trucks, coming up Carr Street from the campus continually results in a hazardous situation for pedestrians walking in the street.

A new sidewalk would require moving the curb on the south side of the block about 8 feet into the street and eliminating five parking spaces on the north side. The new sidewalk would be about 150 feet long. The feasibility of such a project will need to be determined before a decision can be made to go ahead with it.

Posted in Carr Street, City Government, College Hill Neighborhood Association, Joyner Street, Market Street, McGee Street, Mendenhall Street, Municipal Service District, Oakland Avenue, Parking, Public Safety, Rankin Place, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, Traffic | Tagged | Leave a comment

Spring Garden Street to be closed much longer than expected

view toward college hill from under the eugene street overpass on spring garden street

Spring Garden Street was closed between Spring Street and downtown in September for work on the overpass bridges for Spring Street and Freeman Mill Road. The city said then the work would be completed by the end of the year. Now they’re saying the bridges were in worse shape than expected, and Spring Garden Street will remain blocked indefinitely.

Specifics are unavailable (I asked Amanda Lehmert, one of the city’s PR people, to check on the status of the project, and GDOT wouldn’t even respond to her). But Lehmert was able to report that Spring Garden will be closed much longer than expected and why.

In other city construction news, replacement of the pedestrian bridges on the Lake Daniel Greenway also is taking longer than expected. One of the replacement bridges is open (the one closer to Lake Daniel Park). The other, the one closer to the traffic circle, requires new piers and will take considerably longer. Replacement of the two bridges was to be a two-month project completed in December.

spring garden street blocked at spring street

Posted in City Government, Spring Garden Street | 1 Comment

Just in time for the first recycling pickup of the year, here’s the 2020 recycling calendar for College Hill

recycling 2020 calendar

Posted in City Government, Recycling | Leave a comment

Holiday food drive for the Spartan Open Pantry to be held the next three Saturdays at the Church of the Covenant

Flyer for Spartan Oen Pantry food drive

Posted in College Hill Neighborhood Association, College Place UMC, Mendenhall Street, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, UNCG | Leave a comment

Neighbor Kim Burroughs to display and sell his pottery at holiday-season shows in College Hill and Westerwood

pottery holiday decorations by Michael Kim BurroughsCollege Hill potter Kim Burroughs has scheduled a couple of holiday-season shows, one in the neighborhood and one just a short walk away.

Kim will hold his own show next Saturday, November 16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., hosted by neighbor Katie Gallagher at 126 S. Mendenhall Street. The show also will feature guest potter Tim Martin.

Kim also will join several other artists and artisans Sunday December 15, noon to 5 p.m., in a show at Double Oaks Bed & Breakfast, 204 N. Mendenhall Street. That show will include fabric scarves and bags, folk art dolls,  jewelry, painting and photography in addition to pottery. It also will feature the work of a feltmaker and a metalsmith. Double Oaks will offer a cash bar and food for purchase.

For more information, go to the Facebook page for Kim’s November 16 show or the KB’s Pottery page.

If you’re a College Hill artist, artisan or craftsperson with work you’re selling this holiday season, please let us know!

pottery kiln at night

From KB’s Pottery on Facebook: Working late at a kiln

Posted in Mendenhall Street, Neighbors | Tagged | Leave a comment

One of College Hill’s oddest little houses sells for a pittance

small 2-story brick house

919 Carr Street has been sold for the first time since it was built 58 years ago. After letting it sit empty since the last tenants moved out several months ago, the owner finally seems to have given up, rather abruptly, on the home she and husband built for their small family so long ago. It wasn’t listed for sale. She probably just had her rental agent of 50-plus years find a buyer for her, accepting a low-ball offer of $72,000.

The house is distinctive in its way. It catches people’s eye, a squat little bunker with an unusual second-floor balcony on a street of Queen Annes and modest cottages. The house was built in 1961; the next-newest houses on the block were built in 1935. It has been making people ask, “What’s that doing there?” for decades.

It’s not that the house is ugly, though many people don’t care for the way it looks. It’s not that it has been run down for so long, although now that it has been sold, the place has to be totally gutted and renovated to make it fit to live in again. It’s mostly a matter of it simply being so out-of-place, even among the other run-down little rentals on that side of the street. And it’s partly the enigmatic look of the house, so free of distinguishing features that would suggest any recognizable architectural style.

The family that built the house, the Deals, didn’t actually live there very long, perhaps only four or five years, but the owner held onto it, sentimentally, long after her children grew up and her husband died and her somnolent rental agent stopped caring about what kind lowlifes he put in there. The last tenants were fine, a very nice family that managed to tolerate the place for two or three years. But for 20 years or so, the house had seen more short-term tenants than you could keep track of, each seemingly worse than the last. A remarkable number had to be evicted. There were the two college boys who never took their garbage to the curb. For months they just dumped it beside the house in an ever-growing pile that they covered with a tarp until neighbors called the city. They were evicted.

And the hoarder who crammed the house full of what mostly appeared to be garbage. On the infrequent occasions when she would throw something out, she did so quite literally, tossing stuff off the balcony onto the front yard. She was evicted, and it took weeks to clean the place out.

And the woman who moved in but didn’t actually live there. She would show up during the day about once a month, and each time someone would visit her, driving up in a car with state-government license plates. After a few months, a notice was posted on the door, notifying the tenant that she had violated her probation. I think she went to jail before she could be evicted.

Now the house has been bought by an LLC that owns a number of rental properties. No one is jumping for joy over another absentee landlord being represented on the street, but perhaps this one will be more responsible than the last leasing agent. They appear to be serious about renovating the place, at least. The deed is dated November 6, and a crew began working before 9 a.m. that morning. The collapsing ceiling has been ripped out and the walls with black mold, too, and more, all piled in the front yard for now.

Over the past year, two of the ragged-looking rentals on the 900 block of Carr have been impressively renovated (925 and 927). One is even owner-occupied now. 919 could be on its way to a better future, too. Two others remain vacant and, like others on Carr Street with absentee owners, they’re looking increasingly derelict. But it’s still big news that there are two and now maybe three that won’t blight the neighborhood any longer.

the same house, with a large pile of debris in the front yard

919 Carr Street, late in the afternoon on November 6


Posted in Carr Street, Real Estate | Leave a comment

Trick-or-treating postponed in College Hill due to forecast of Halloween-evening thunderstorms and high winds

A dark and stormy night is forecast for Greensboro, so the College Hill Neighborhood Association has postponed Halloween trick-or-treating until Friday night, November 1. As of 1:45 p.m. Thursday, the weather forecast for Halloween evening calls for a high probability of thunderstorms and strong winds. Everyone will be safer coming out on Friday evening.

If you’re giving out candy on Friday evening, please leave your porch lights on during trick-or-treat hours ( 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or so). If not, please leave them off.

Posted in College Hill Neighborhood Association, Events | Leave a comment

Monday night: College Hill Neighborhood Association to make a recommendation to the city on paving Edgar Street

gravel street with potholes filled with rainwater

A quiet moment on Edgar Street after a rainstorm

After many discussions at neighborhood association meetings and gatherings of residents with properties backing up to Edgar Street, College Hill will decide Monday night on a recommendation to the city about the future of the alley. The two major questions: whether to pave Edgar and how to reduce the speed and volume of cut-through traffic.

Residents of Tate Street whose properties back up to Edgar have expressed a majority, though non-unanimous, preference for paving the alley. To control runoff, a longstanding problem on Edgar, the city has suggested paving it in a concave manner, the opposite of the usual crowned design. Water would run from the sides of the street to existing drains in the middle. The roadway would not be widened.

A majority of Tate residents also have expressed a preference for keeping traffic going two ways. Options for controlling the amount and speed of traffic are limited because the city has rejected closing McGee Street at Edgar and/or blocking Edgar at the Sushi Republic parking lot to reduce traffic, citing the theoretical need for first responders to use the street. In keeping with the city’s general policy, it also has ruled out speed bumps or any other strategies to slow traffic. It has expressed an openness to one-way traffic.

The city’s perennial dithering about whether it’s actually responsible for the alley has been resolved, at least to the extent that it’s willing to commit explicitly to maintaining Edgar, which it has been doing occasionally for years anyway.

The regular monthly meeting of the CHNA will be Monday October 28, 7 p.m., at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall Street, in the Fellowship Hall (enter from Mendenhall Street).

Posted in City Government, College Hill Neighborhood Association, Edgar Street, Tate Street, Traffic | Leave a comment