Thursday March 17, Hobbton High School’s art club took to the streets of Kinston, for a day that would be filled with educational tours, delicious food, and most importantly art. The tour began at the Overland Art Gallery in downtown Kinston where students were shown many unique and beautiful pieces.
Students were then given a St. Patrick’s Day activity which involved drawing multi-colored four leaf clovers that would all be combined into one large piece at the end of the day. Before leaving, the group was taken out behind the gallery and shown one of the town’s mural paintings of a large crane soaring across the length of the building. This mural, among others, will live for many years with city of Kinston and will wear with their respected buildings as well.
Students followed back alleys to find our their to the discreetly but uniquely placed “Boiler Room Oyster Bar”, sister restaurant of the world famous “Chef and the Farmer” which is located right across the street. The food was wonderful and abundant, and the staff was very friendly and prepared. Following the meal, co-owner of both the “Boiler Room” and “Chef and the Farmer”, Benjamin Knight, gave a rundown of the history of his and his wife’s, (famed chef Vivian Howard) path to success with their exquisite restaurants and PBS reality TV series “A Chefs Life”. Even though students did not have time to tour “The Chef and the Farmer” students are very excited to possibly return to both businesses.
Following the meal, students made their way down the street to the newly renovated homes of historical downtown Kinston; these homes have become a part of a project called SmART Kinston, an approach to bringing young artists to the area and providing affordable living/studio space. This was the magnum opus of the trip and gave insight into the unique teaching capabilities of our teacher Ms. Jennifer Jackson. She not only gives students an interesting perspective on art but also provides us with helpful guidance to heighten the possibility of a successful and happy future.
Jarret Young said he believe that SmART Kinston was a great way to portray the likelihood that an artist can make it in such a less demanding area. The homes were upgraded with all necessities while keeping their vintage and historical aesthetics. We were even introduced to two tenants who seemed to have been very happy with the SmART program and provided information on making a living with one’s art skills. It was all enough for me to gain an interest in possibly getting involved in the project one day as well.
The last stop was a historical bank that had been renovated into a small hotel which conveyed the same ideas as the SmART Kinston program to provide the effort to uphold much of the town’s history. The hotel still contained the original vault as well as one of the first elevators in North Carolina. It was very unusual to see such a restoration but at the same time very unique and conservative.
The day ended with many of the students worn out, but very satisfied with what they had gained from the tour. Once again the Hobbton High School Art Club is given not only a fun and interesting trip but something that can and should be taken, being the opportunity to be housed by a supporting project that pushes artists to do what they love.