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WEB EXCLUSIVE Positive change is the mantra of 2021, and thanks to two new businesses, the Oakwood Historic District has a lot of it coming its way. B Side Hair Studio, a cutting-edge salon by Jenny Jones and Stephanie Watson offering locally-made Virtue Labs products, opened at 222 N. Bloodworth St. earlier this month, and local artists Skillet Gilmore and his wife Caitlin Cary announced they’re opening The Pocket Gallery in the same building on Feb. 1.
Gilmore and Cary are widely known in the Raleigh arts community for their involvement in the Whiskeytown band in the 90’s, their individual visual arts careers and their widespread activism efforts in the local arts community. The Pocket Gallery will act as a studio and art gallery featuring Cary and Gilmore’s work, as well as a rotation of other local artists.
“After 25 years as musicians and working artists in Raleigh, Skillet and I feel really excited about becoming an official little link in the beautiful chain of Raleigh’s arts community,” says Cary.
Gilmore adds that they’ve been searching for a place of their own for a few years now, and the location was too perfect a size for them to pass up. Sure, opening in the middle of an international pandemic isn’t ideal, but Cary and Gilmore are optimist about their future endeavor.
“It’s hard to know when we will be able to be fully the ‘open’ studio and shop we want this to be, but starting now gives us time to hone our vision, gather our compatriots and rev our solar-powered engines a little,” Cary says. “For now we will be open by appointment, working on a strong web presence and offering curbside pickup and sidewalk showings.”
The building at 222 N. Bloodworth St. was originally renovated by Louis Cherry in 2017. Louis Cherry Architecture occupies the third space in the building and signed over the remaining two spaces to B Side and The Pocket Gallery after Little Shop Sweets closed on January 10.
“It’s been a wonderful experience to help an old corner grocery from over 100 years ago come back to life,” says Cherry. “And that includes the amazing tenants we’ve had the opportunity to work with. B Side and The Pocket Gallery will bring new energy to Oakwood’s business district, which people both inside and outside of the neighborhood will have the opportunity to enjoy in the years to come.”
According to Cherry’s wife Marsha Gordon, who is deeply involved in the creative community and in the signing of Cary and Gilmore, this step was a no brainer.
“Caitlin and Skillet are longstanding contributors to Raleigh’s art and music scene, and we were thrilled when they expressed interest in coming to 222 N. Bloodworth St. Caitlin and Skillet are dream tenants because they are collaborative and kind; down-to-earth but driven to make and do; talented and creative; and, most importantly, they care deeply about Raleigh and the arts community here.”
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