Artists, performers in the spotlight at the Turnage

Published 8:35 am Monday, February 7, 2022

Area residents were treated to a plentiful helping of their favorite artwork and live music last Friday, as artists from five local galleries and more than a dozen performers offered the best of their work during this year’s Art Walk and a first-ever open mic night held at the Turnage Theatre.

Friday’s event was the second Art Walk held since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, attracting fans of the popular event, which was held three to four times per year for at least a decade prior to the pandemic. “I would like to bring that tradition back,” said Heather Summers, program and outreach coordinator at Arts of the Pamlico, which organized an art walk last autumn, as well as the one the past weekend. Participating groups this time included River Walk Gallery, Lemonade Art Gallery, Art Tyndall’s studio, and the North Carolina Estuarium, many offering refreshments as well as opportunities to appreciate – and buy – the work of countless Beaufort County’s artists and craftspeople.

The evening also featured the debut of the Open Mic Night, which Summers said will become a regular feature at the Turnage, most likely as part of the theatre’s First Friday music series, which “technically started in October with musical performances monthly, but we officially kicked it off with Ruth Wyand in January, doing her folksy Joanie Mitchell kind of vibe.”

The evening’s performances were organized by local musician and producer Chuck Phillips, who is well known for similar events at other venues. He said he was surprised by the variety of performances, which included a poetry reading, a comedy routine, a feisty rendition of “Friday Night By The Dashboard Lights”, a youthful Beatles tribute duo, and several folk singers. The surprise of the night was and an eye-opening performance by 14-year-old Noah Cobb, who has been raising eyebrows at venues throughout Beaufort County since October, featuring more than a dozen original songs and a many country standards, sung in the style of a young soulful Johnny Cash.

“This was kind of cool. I wasn’t expecting poetry and comedy,” Phillips said of the variety represented by last weekend’s performers. Summers added that the response to last week’s open mic night virtually guarantees that more of them will be held at the Turnage in the near future.