From the Outside Looking In: Discovering New Perspectives

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 24, 2014

What happens when art and life come together, when a moment captured becomes a moment revealed? How does an artist’s unique perspective intersect with and broaden our own? These questions, and more, are at the heart of the mission of Salisbury’s Center for Faith and the Arts. CFA’s upcoming gallery exhibit, Outside the Lines and Labels, invites a select group of artists to challenge our traditional views of what art is, who makes it and the meanings it reflects. Known as Outsider Art, pieces on exhibit capture the dynamic, shifting potential of art making. Defying tradition and mainstream expectations, the exhibit brings the socially constructed limits of the art world into question. What “qualifies” as art, and how this is determined are continuously negotiated terrains. Center for Faith and the Arts invites viewers to join the conversation, to acknowledge and challenge preconceived assumptions, and perhaps, to move beyond their own limits.
Two opportunities for community engagement with the exhibit are planned. On Thursday, May 1, from 6 to 9 p.m., a captivating documentary on North Carolina’s own Willi Armstrong (1956-2003) will screen at Center for Faith and the Arts, 207 W. Harrison St. Following the screening, Tim Miller of Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery, will share his interest and expertise in Outsider Art, offering opportunities for discussion of the movement and representative works. Known as the “Vincent van Gogh of the Mountains,” William H. Armstrong Jr. has been described by journalist Jeff Eason as “one of the brightest colors in the wide spectrum of (High Country) characters.” Challenged by bouts of manic depression, Armstrong seemed to create in relation to his condition, rather than despite it. E.M. Adelman of Seven Sisters Gallery in Rocky Mount, observes “art-making was the only place where Armstrong was in control. Even his many self-portraits have a twist. Armstrong asks that we look at something more than a likeness.”
The conversation continues at the exhibit’s opening reception on Friday, May 9 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Local and regional Outsider Artists, exclusively producing outside the mainstream social and art worlds, will be present to informally discuss their work. Please join Center for Faith and the Arts in welcoming new perspectives and the artists who offer them. Viewing their work and sharing insights gained just may encourage each of us to step outside the lines and limits. For more visit or call 704-647-0999.


There will be additional works on paper by Wiili Armstrong available only on the night of the May 1 event. The show will run through mid-June and all works for sale will hang in the gallery until then.
There will also be jewelry and cards and additional works on paper only available May 9 that were created by the UMAR group in Lincolnton. UMAR is a place where people with disabilities can create art at a gallery/studio just for them.

Free screening of documentary film on Willi Armstrong, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 1
Artist reception, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 9
Center for Faith and the Arts , 207 W. Harrison St. or call 704-647-0999