BEST, Beautifying Emerging Spaces Together

As Raleigh taps into the creative class, many groups, including AIGA, are already making their footprints known in the downtown area.  Another such group is BEST, Beautifying Emerging Spaces Together, whose goal is to repurpose vacant spaces into expressions of community.

The concept of street art and popup urban art is not new, with New York, Chicago, and other cities having projects of their own.  While Raleigh’s art scene is firmly established with the VAE, Design Box, Flanders and the newly opened CAM Raleigh in the Warehouse District, the concept of community-driven street art is still new.

BEST’s founder, Donna Belt, sees creativity as the perfect vehicle for connecting residents, businesses and city government to form a vision of what is possible in Raleigh.  By gathering neighbors and families to paint side by side with well known local artists, each person’s expression blends to convey the unique character of this community.

Using vacant downtown spaces as canvases for art, there have been three BEST installations so far. Now BEST is in the process of creating their largest installation ever. The Dillon project in the Warehouse District will cover a 200 foot long facade on the east side of the Dillon Supply Co. building (on the 200 block of S. West Street), as well as wrapping around to create a space for showcasing projected art on the south side of the building.

With a transportation themed mural reflecting both Triangle Transit (that owns the building) and BEST’s passion for how Raleigh’s community moves forward through shared creative expression, this  venue will provide a lively, welcoming backdrop for the development of the new Union Station, adjacent to this property.

The site of the BEST public art project will eventually be made available for transit oriented development. To create this transformative installation, the expenses for supplies add into the thousands.  A fundraiser is being held Friday, July 27 at Spy Raleigh to auction art and raffle prizes from local businesses to raise money for the project that will kick off in September.

Event info:

Hilary Stokes

By Hilary Stokes
Published July 24, 2012