Arts of the Pamlico hosts first one-man show

Published 4:28 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Arts of the Pamlico will host a one-man show of work that’s never before been on display.

On Thursday, an exhibit of Taft Bradshaw paintings opens with an AOP members’ reception. It’s a first for AOP, as the organization has never hosted a one-person show, but it’s also a first for Taft Bradshaw, a landscape designer by trade, but a prolific painter by avocation.

The Arts of the Pamlico connection is through family: Taft Bradshaw is the 83-year-old cousin of Washington Park residents Derris and Bettie Bonner Bradshaw, who are longtime supporters of the regional arts organization. A Wilmington native who studied landscape architecture at North Carolina State University’s School of design, Taft Bradshaw traveled the world designing tropical resort landscapes in places as far flung as Colombia, China and Turkey. His work received many design awards, and led to two visits to the White House in recognition of his design work, according to his biography.

But Taft Bradshaw’s passion for painting predates his successful career, according to his family.

“He doesn’t sell it. He won’t sell it. He might give you one,” Bettie Bonner Bradshaw laughed. “He’s been painting his entire life because he just pure-T loves to paint. … He’s basically been painting since he was in grammar school. We’ve got a painting that he did in eighth grade.”

Though he trained in abstract impressionism and studied under well-known artist Duncan Stuart, Taft Bradshaw’s paintings are not confined to one genre. The Arts of the Pamlico show is defined by color — bold, bright colors in a number of different styles.

“It’s amazing that one person can do all this,” Bettie Bonner Bradshaw said.

Bettie Bonner Bradshaw was instrumental in putting the show together, and putting Taft Bradshaw’s work on display for the first time. During visits to the artist’s summer home in Blowing Rock, she’d seen the hundreds of paintings in his studio, and last year visited with the intention of talking the artist into a show.

The artist will attend the opening of his first exhibit on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Turnage Theatre Gallery. The reception is limited to AOP members. The exhibit runs until Oct.13 and is free and open to the public.