Linda Minor, a member of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths and a former fashion buyer for J.C. Penney and Belk department stores, sells handmade creations within Bead Me’s spacious shop. Her first designed jewelry, which has been recognized as American-made by Martha Stewart, was chosen to be given to First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of the city of Charlotte, NC. She draws from her style expertise to create necklaces, earrings, and bracelets with pearls, coral, turquoise, Swarovski crystals, and semiprecious gemstones. Many of her pieces incorporate copper, an antimicrobial metal that resists fading. During fun, BYOB jewelry-making classes, Linda imparts her beading know-how to students of all skill levels, giving them hands-on practice with metal-manipulation techniques such as fold forming and reverse psychology.
Sisters and native Charlotteans Neha Negandhi and Monika Shah didn’t let respective stints in Seattle and Alaska keep them away from their hometown arts scene. Inspired by similar BYOB painting sessions seen during their travels, they harnessed their diverse experiences with event management and Alaskan train tours to open their own studio, where they encourage students of all artistic levels to tap into their inimitable creativity just as they did. Joined by an impressive cast of local artists, the sisters unfurl a calendar stocked with a barrage of painting options, allowing students to portray a sailboat with an impressionistic mast or a seahorse wearing a gilded saddle.
Frame Warehouse creates professional, custom picture frames that are designed to protect all kinds of artistic creations and memorabilia while complementing their natural charms. Customers can choose from hundreds of ready-made mats and frames that translate into thousands of frame permutations (tabletop frames average $7–$10), or they can opt for a custom design clipped from the crafty corners of their own minds. All framing products are of the highest quality—barrier papers, dust covers, acid-free products, and five kinds of UV-resistant glasses combine to permanently preserve your masterful fingerpainting from fifth grade or your collection of two-dimensional cross-sections sliced out of the world’s skyscrapers. Prices vary widely depending on how the customer navigates the flowchart from frame size to final product, but most jerseys can be framed for less than $200, diplomas for as low as $75, and posters for under $100.
An acronym for Fabulous Art Buying Opportunity, FABO began as just that: an art store. It still is today, only along with art, the Park Road shop quenches thirst and quiets hunger, too. Inside, artwork from nearly 60 local artists—including paintings, photographs, jewelery, and pottery—sprawls across blue-gray and wine-colored walls. Visitors kick back in this funky atmosphere to sip on coffee, espresso, and even a carefully selected roster of wines and beers, some from local breweries. When stomachs begin to rumble, guests can also munch on muffins, bagels, and other bakery treats made to eat while on the move or during a secret detour from a nearby marathon.
Though admission is always free, the Contemporaries-level membership provides invitations to special events and parties and includes discounts on ticketed events. Housed in a historic church, the McColl provides feast after ocular feast. ZipStir, a current exhibition, features installations by Hong Seon Jang and Jonathan Brilliant. Jang's work displays the connectivity of the world using US zip codes and plastic zip ties, and Brilliant crafts patterns out of consumer materials such as coffee stirrers.
Drawing from the more frightening pages of the area's history, Carolina History & Haunts’ guides lead lantern-lit tours of eerie and haunted locales. The “Nightmares Around Elm Street” tour sends groups through the specter-laden streets of Greensboro, while the Beyond the Grave tour braves uptown Charlotte’s paranormal avenues to learn the fates of the less fortunate and possibly even witness a prankster ghost grabbing a dog's tail as it's chased.
Carolina History & Haunts partners with local businesses to give tour goers discounts on accommodations and food, and large groups are eligible for discounted pricing and private tours.