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Artisan grinding metal with sparks flying

Artsplosure Features Work of Local Artists for Nights of Lights

The Artsplosure team is thrilled to be a part of the inaugural WRAL Nights of Lights event at Dorothea Dix Park.

In a year of unprecedented challenges, this unique event will be a celebratory ending to 2020 as we collectively look ahead to new beginnings in the year to come.

Throughout the two-week span, Artsplosure will feature specially-commissioned large-scale artwork onsite at Dorothea Dix Park through a collaboration with neon artist Nate Sheaffer of Glas Studios, site-based artist Mary Carter Taub, and metal fabricator Jon McLendon.

Nate Sheaffer working in his studio

With 30+ years of experience, Nate Sheaffer’s style consists of adding colorful neon wording and designs to found objects, sculptures, and canvases.

“This project has all the elements necessary to act as a balm to our battered collective psyche,” said Sheaffer. “The pandemic, the election, record numbers of hurricanes – all of 2020 has challenged our abilities to restore calm predictability to day-to-day living.

The chance to bring lighted reminders to our community that we can smile and laugh as children do is a terrific way to end this year, bringing much needed work to the craftspeople that make up Glas.”

Mary Carter Taub standing in a field with trees

Mary Carter Taub specializes in site-based, community art to energize public spaces and “call attention to unwritten rules in a playful way.” She uses recognizable materials and artistic concepts to re-contextualize a particular space.

“The site-based work I am creating for Dix Park in December uses highly recognizable objects that are brightly colored with eye-catching patterns, movement and lights. The work re-contextualizes the way everyday park space is experienced in community,” said Taub. “The installation will serve as a buffer, a spirit lifter, that temporarily transports folks out of the unpredictability and uncertainty of 2020. The project has been a creativity challenge— working with current physical, emotional and cultural constraints— that are the reality of our current pandemic.”

Jon McLendon in his shop

Outdoor art of this scale requires a solid foundation to withstand the elements. At the core of these two projects, metal fabricator Jon McLendon is hard at work creating the structures that will safely hold the art.

“I was brought into this project to be the glue between the artistic concept and structural reality mixing economically attainable materials and efficient assembly techniques to deliver a strong and stable tunnel that will safely show off Mary’s and Nate’s imagination,” said Jon. “Working with the team has been a breeze and our initial brainstorming meeting had everyone feeding off each other’s ideas and supporting the creativity we’re allowed in this project. Can’t wait to see it all come together!”

WRAL Nights of Lights will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 16 through Thursday, Dec. 31 on a 1.3-mile route through Dorothea Dix Park. On Dec. 30 and 31, experience a special edition of First Night Raleigh with elements both familiar and new to Raleigh added to the route.

Purchase tickets today at

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