A Creative Genius Itinerary
Art, symphony, ballet and theatre have earned Greater Raleigh a ranking as a top cultural destination. Here you can soar with the Carolina Ballet or sing arias with the North Carolina Opera. Take in an outdoor concert by the N.C. Symphony, experience the magic of a Broadway show or the N.C. Theatre, gaze at some of the world’s most famous pieces of art at the N.C. Museum of Art and just spend time discovering what earned Raleigh the nickname of Creative Capital.
Have breakfast at Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant, where the cooking is traditional down-home fare and the décor is art in its own right, or at the Irregardless Café whose walls are covered with paintings from local artists. Talk to an artist at Artspace, an open gallery atmosphere with artists who work in every medium, many who give classes, or stroll through the galleries at the new Contemporary Art Museum (CAM Raleigh), North Carolina’s only non-collecting contemporary art museum.
Spend the afternoon at the N.C. Museum of Art where the collection spans more than 5,000 years from classical to contemporary. Its new building, which opened in April 2010, is state-of-the-art and creates a beautiful home for nearly 800 works of art from the permanent collection: it is also highlighted by sculpture gardens and beautiful pools. On the occasion of the expansion, the museum acquired more than 100 new works of art. Representing commissions, gifts and purchases, many of the new works have been installed in the new building and the surrounding landscape. Highlights include a gift of 30+ sculptures by Auguste Rodin including a 6-foot cast of “The Thinker.” If you haven’t eaten lunch yet, Iris, located in the museum, presents a mouthwatering menu of edible art overlooking the museum’s gardens. Check the schedule of events on VisitRaleigh.com for festivals, art shows and gallery openings. There is always something happening to explore; for example, the Cary Arts Center is alive with classes, events and performances highlighting local talent.
The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts is the place to be if you are looking for big-budget professional productions. The N.C. Theatre, N.C. Ballet, N.C. Symphony and N.C. Opera all call this venue home. For more intimate productions, buy a ticket to a performance from the Raleigh Little Theatre or Theatre In The Park, famous for its yearly pop culture take on the Charles Dickens’s classic “A Christmas Carol.” Have a laugh when national comedians take the stage at Goodnight’s Comedy Club, and you never know what is going to happen during improv comedy at ComedyWorx. If it’s Friday you’re in luck: galleries, stores and restaurants are open late in City Market for downtown Raleigh’s First Friday, Arts After Dark Second Friday in Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina, Art After Hours in Wake Forest or the Cary Art Loop.
IDEAS FOR FAMILIES
Little ones don’t always appreciate priceless works of art hanging on museum walls, so while you’re admiring a Picasso or Monet, let them create their own masterpiece during a Family Fun Saturday and What’s in the Box weekly programs at the N.C. Museum of Art.