Though built only in 2011, the nonprofit Redux Contemporary Art Center’s new 12,000-square-foot facility stays bustling all year, hosting six to eight free exhibitions in two galleries. After taking in the artwork, visitors can attend numerous free events, such as artist talks, film screenings, panels, and concerts. More than 100 classes foster artistic inclinations throughout the year as local qualified instructors help students master disciplines such as painting, drawing, and printmaking.
Redux's galleries stay full thanks in part to its 22 private artist studios, which accommodate emerging and mid-career artists with up to 240 square feet of creative space. Twenty-four-hour studio passes grant access to Redux’s darkroom, print studio, and woodshop. To encourage a sense of community, artists can participate in quarterly critiques, attend visiting-artist lectures, and debate their studio neighbors on artistic controversies such as whether Michelangelo’s David is as good as the earlier one he sculpted from Play-Doh.
While artwork may gain immortality by challenging traditional aesthetics, the life of a painting or photograph is only as secure as the frame that contains it. This dedication to preservation is what inspired Michael and Ellen Mintz to open Frames Unlimited in 1979. That same spirit extended to their business itself: when Hurricane Hugo took its toll on their original shop, they gutted it and reopened, this time with more square footage for a gallery and design space. They remain in that space today, helping their staff members create custom frames and matting. In addition to paintings and photography, the staff helps customers guard heirlooms and specialty items such as sports jerseys or athletes still wearing their sports jerseys. Their services also extend to museum-quality archival framing, with special UV-filtering glass to protect art from light’s harmful rays. No matter the job, their shop stocks the materials to match it. Thousands of mouldings run the style gamut from very traditional to ultracontemporary, and colorful frames include hand-finished Italian designs and water-gilded gold leaf.
Betty Lilly opened Frame Up in 1977 to preserve the cherished photos and artwork of her clientele. Three years later, she handed over ownership to her daughter Denise Mosimann, who has held the custom-framed reigns of the family business ever since. Today, the framing professional and her staff will meet one-on-one with customers to customize jobs and update already framed items, selecting from the troves of mats and multicolored mouldings housed within the onsite framing facility. The preservation pros take as little as one day (depending on availability) to protect photos, diplomas, and the promo posters of successful home movies behind museum-quality glass. Frame Up also specializes in selling local and wildlife artwork, including prints from John James Audubon's Birds of America.
Charlestowne Pub Stroll's knowledgeable guides cover nearly 300 years of history during their three-hour walking tours, shedding light on the city's libation-steeped past. Guide dressed in full pirate or colonial regalia lead guests along Meeting Street as they point out the area’s most historically significant pubs. They regale guests with tales of Prohibition-era criminals, early drinking habits, and other historical oddities, including that time when drinking a full gallon of milk was temporarily outlawed in Charleston in the 1900s. Throughout the tour, groups will stop into select watering holes to sample the storied brews for themselves at an extra cost.
Mattress Source's knowledgeable staff pairs customers with one of a wide selection of firm and flexible beds that augment deeper slumbers. Sealy luxury firm mattresses ($449.99+) allays stressful nights by supplying supple support, manufacturers' warranties, and a cache of warm kittens to rest at the end of each bed. Silk woven jersey knit surrounds a layer of memory foam on the Stearns & Foster x-firm mattress, which gently pillows joint pain and absorbs excess body heat ($1,219.99+). At 26 Charlotte-area showrooms, shoppers can take inventory of each mattress' aptitude in hypnosis or chat with affable staff members about desired levels of firmness.