Monday, February 18, 2008

Third Annual Blues Bash Rocks The Clayton Center Feb. 29

Blues legends Beverly “Guitar” Watkins and Albert White will pick some of the baddest blues around when they present Blues Bash III at The Clayton Center on Friday, Feb. 29 at 8 p.m.

Georgia-based guitarist, singer and songwriter Beverly "Guitar" Watkins is one part soul singer, one part rockin' roadhouse mama and one part gifted songwriter. A guitar slinger since birth, Watkins’ searing, ballistic attacks on the guitar have become legendary in the blues community. A pyrotechnic maven, she is one of the few who can play a guitar behind her head like the legendary Jimi Hendrix.

Hailed by Music Maker Relief Foundation founder Timothy Duffy as “…the finest female blues guitarist of her generation,” Watkins has been chronically under-recorded for a woman with her resume. Watkins spent the early 1960's playing rhythm guitar with Piano Red & The Interns. She recorded with Piano Red from 1959 until the mid-1960's, and can be heard on his popular singles, "Doctor Feelgood" and "Right String But the Wrong Yo Yo." Watkins later joined Eddie Tigner and the Ink Spots and continued an extensive touring career performing with such luminary artists as Taj Mahal, James Brown , B.B. King and Ray Charles .

Albert White began playing guitar at an early age. His uncle, Piano Red, noticed that White was actually playing self-made chords on a ukulele at the age of nine. Red sent White to take lessons from his guitarist, Wesley Jackson. In early 1962, Albert became the bandleader for Piano Red’s “Dr. Feelgood and the Interns” where he became a lifelong friend to Watkins. When Red disbanded, White joined the “Tams” from the late 60’s to the early 70’s, and by the mid 70’s, joined Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. Albert White is currently touring the globe with the Music Maker Revue.

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins and Albert White are both artists on the Music Maker Relief Foundation roster. The Foundation was created to help the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern music gain recognition and meet their day-to-day needs. It is the goal of Music Maker to present musical traditions to the world so American culture will flourish and be preserved for future generations.

Tickets for Blues Bash II are $15. Individual tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 919.553.1737 or at The Clayton Center Box Office at 111 E. Second St. in downtown Clayton from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you plan to attend the show, consider dinner out before the auditorium doors open. The Clayton area offers a variety of restaurants for an enjoyable pre-show meal. Consider Clayton Steakhouse, 307 E Main Street, 553-2299; Mulberry on Main Italian Restaurant. 217 E Main Street or The FlipSide on 408 E Second Street all in the heart of downtown. The FlipSide now offers a wine bar, the "Cork and Plate," after 5:00 p.m., featuring tappas and other light snacks. Also, Chops Steakhouse, 10920 Cleveland Road, Garner;

Concessions also will be available at The Clayton Center the night of the show. Cash bars featuring beer and wine, soft drinks and coffee will be open prior to the performance and during intermission. The Box Office also will be open, and tickets will be available to upcoming events.

Tickets for Blues Bash III are $15. Individual tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 919.553.1737 or at The Clayton Center Box Office at 111 E. Second St. in downtown Clayton from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Blues Bash III is the fifth performance in the 2007-08 Palladian Series. The season will close with former Nickel Creek mandolin player Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers on March 29.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Creation Station offers Tropical Paradise art camp during spring break.

Registration is underway for Creation Station Spring Break Art Camp in Clayton. The fee for the entire week of camp is $100.

Registration includes participation in the awards ceremony at the end of the week. Camp is held March 24-28 for grades K-5 at Eye of the Eagle Art Center located at 131 East First Street in downtown Clayton.

Limited spaces are available; registration deadline is March 21. All art supplies are included, but please provide your child with a snack and drink each day. Camp is held from 10:00am-12:00pm everyday except Wednesday. On that day we meet from 4-6pm so that we can have a pizza party and art exhibit for our family and friends.

Contact Creation Station at 550-8135 to register.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Downtown Clayton: Vision 2012 - Goal Statements

These "Goal Statements" will guide the DDA Action Plan for the next several years. The statements are tied to the specific strategies chosen to realize the goals of the Downtown Vision.

(1)The new streetscape of Main Street thrives amid a profusion of flowers and plantings, decorative street-crossings, walkways, and interesting buildings. Downtown is well-lit and safe. Overall, Clayton has a clean, uncluttered look, especially since the utility lines were put underground.

Now a (2) diverse business center, Clayton (3) retains its small town charm as it (4) steams toward its progressive future. (5) Trendy restaurants offer sidewalk cafes and entertainment for all tastes. (6) Every storefront is occupied and (7) restored to its original architectural glory accented by attractive landscaping. (8) A variety of shops are open evenings to accommodate the needs of residents and visitors alike. (9)The open-air market provides fresh, local produce and crafts.

(10) Clayton’s growing visual and performing arts community is alive with artists and music. Public art throughout downtown provides beauty and interest. The Clayton Center continues to flourish with live professional and community performances.

(11) Attractive and informative signs welcome residents and visitors to downtown shops and parking. They guide the way to downtown from other Clayton communities.

The visitor's center provides us with maps of historic Clayton and a schedule of events, such as the Harvest Festival and Millstock, for the downtown area. The Clayton History Museum offers an interactive map and walking tour of the historical area and other points of interest.

Downtown has truly become the (12) social and cultural hub of Clayton.

For information on being involved in the Downtown Clayton Development Association's revitalization efforts, please contact DDA Chair, Joyce Blackley at (919) 553-6813 or Downtown Development Coordinator, Bruce Naegelen at (919) 553-1545

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Black History Month Link

First Missionary Baptist Church at 304 N Lombard Street in downtown Clayton has a great summary of Black History Month on the front page of their website as well as a link to the Association for the Study of African American Life & History. They are the organization that started Black History Month.

Silberman Honored for Service to DDA

Clayton resident and former Wall Street Journal journalist Lee Silberman finished his term on the Clayton Downtown Development Association board Monday night at the close of the DDA’s regualr monthly meeting. In appreciation for his service, DDA Chair Joyce Blackley presented a plaque to Mr. Silberman. She praised his dedication and service and acknowledged his service as a volunteer prior to becoming a DDA member. Mr. Silberman was appointed to the DDA in 2004. He lives in downtown with his wife, Ruth, and will continue to volunteer his time to the DDA through its committees.

PHOTO: Lee Silberman (l) receives appreciation plaque from
DDA Chair Joyce Blackley.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MillStock 2007 Poster Recognized for Excellence

Graphic artist Rick Koobs received a certificate of Special Recognition for his design of the 2007 Millstock Music & Arts Faire poster at the 2008 NC Main Street Conference on January 31, 2008 in Rocky Mount. (l-r NC Commerce Deputy Secretary Cleve Simpson; Rick Koob and NC Commerce Secretary Jim Fain.) photography by Garry E. Hodges

The Clayton Main Street Program today announced that a local project was recognized for its excellence in the 2007 N.C. Main Street Awards competition. Among non-winners, several significant projects were singled out for their importance, including the Millstock Music and Arts Faire poster, created by Richard Koobs, which was awarded a Certificate of Special Recognition in the category of Best Printed Promotional Item: Graphics.

The N.C. Main Street Program’s annual awards competition recognizes the outstanding achievements of particpating communities in categories reflecting the four areas emphasized by Main Street: organization, design, economic restructuring and promotion. Entries are judged by a panel that includes state Main Street program staff and other professionals in downtown development, historic preservation and the arts.

Following the judging of the 62 entries nominated by 21 of the program’s communities, Office of Urban Development Director Rodney Swink remarked, “N.C. Main Street communities continue to exemplify the best in downtown redevelopment as evidenced by this year’s award-winning work. From small projects to large, the quality of investment is outstanding and getting better. Main Street and Small Town Main Street communities are the leaders, and these projects are the models from which others will learn.”

In their comments about the entries, jury members remarked that the Millstock poster captured a nostalgic feeling of the 1960s without the psychedelics of the period. They also said that the poster portrays a sense of music, art and fun. The jury complimented the great use of type face to portray and recall an earlier era.

On January 31, 2007, Swink, N.C. Secretary of Commerce James T. Fain, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Cleve Simpson presented these awards during the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Program at the Imperial Centre in Rocky Mount. Each winner received an Award of Merit, and Certificates of Special Recognition were presented for several outstanding non-winning entries. Projects selected for awards are:

Best Public-Private Partnership in Downtown Revitalization
- Morganton – Morganton Trading Company AWARD

Best Fund Raising Effort
- Goldsboro – Sponsor Thank You CD Special Recognition

Best Innovation
- Salisbury – DSI/F&M Bank Revolving Fund AWARD
- Wake Forest – WFDRC Database Special Recognition

Best Economic Development Incentive Plan
- Goldsboro – Comprehensive Neighborhood Revitalization Plan AWARD
- Smithfield – Smithfield Historic Area Revitalization Plan (“S.H.A.R.P.”) AWARD

Best Adaptive Use Project
- Rocky Mount – Imperial Center AWARD
- Roxboro – Roxboro Community School AWARD

Best New Development / New Construction Project
- Goldsboro – Goldsboro City Hall Annex AWARD
- Salisbury – Firehouse Urban Lofts AWARD
- Smithfield – Neuse Office Complex AWARD

Best Historic Rehabilitation Project
- Rocky Mount – People’s Bank Building AWARD
- Smithfield – Smithfield Historic Masonic Lodge AWARD

Best Fa├žade Rehabilitation Project
- Salisbury – McNeely-Young Building AWARD
- Rocky Mount – Davis Furniture Special Recognition

Best Public Building Improvement
- Salisbury – Salisbury Police Department AWARD

Best Outdoor Space Improvement
- Brevard – Brevard Sculpture Project AWARD
- Fuquay-Varina – Main Street Streetscape Phase 1 Special Recognition
- Lenoir – Downtown Streetscape Improvement Project Special Recognition

Best Downtown Special Event
Lenoir – Light Up Lenoir: Christmas 2006 AWARD
Wilson – Theater of the American South AWARD

Best Printed Promotional Item: Text and Graphics
- Statesville – Historic Downtown Statesville Brochure AWARD
- Salisbury – History & Art Trail Brochure Special Recognition

Best Printed Promotional Item: Graphics
- Goldsboro – Jazz on George T-shirt AWARD
- Clayton – Millstock Music & Arts Faire Poster Special Recognition

Based on economic revitalization within the context of historic preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation created the Main Street program to share an effective downtown revitalization strategy which they had developed for smaller towns. Selected as an original Main Street state in 1980, North Carolina has seen its program grow from five communities to 53. The economic impact of the program has grown as well. Public and private investment in North Carolina Main Street downtowns is totals more than $1 billion dollars.

The North Carolina Main Street Program provides technical assistance, education and networking opportunities to its communities. The program is part of the Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Assistance.

For video of the certificate presentation, visit

The 2008 Millstock Music & Arts Faire will be held June 7 at Lombard and Second Street in downtown Clayton. For more information on the daylong event, please call Jodi at (919) 550-0174.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Allsbrook to highlight art workshops

Artist to lecture on ‘Christianity and Creativity in Art’

Four other workshops planned through June

Internationally acclaimed artist Luke Allsbrook will highlight an upcoming series of art workshops sponsored by Clayton Visual Arts, including a special free, open-to-the-public lecture by Allsbrook on “Christianity and Creativity in Art.”

The lecture, to be held May 30 at the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, will offer images of Allsbrook’s paintings while he talks about the making of art as it relates to Christianity. Allsbrook, who lives in Asheville and whose father grew up in Clayton, will discuss how faith has been vital in his creative process, and how it has provided security amid the uncertainties of a career in painting. Much of the content of Allsbrook’s paintings is driven by Christianity
He also will conduct a “plein air” session on painting oil landscapes on May 31.
Four other area artists will teach workshops from February to June. The first will be by Marcelle Hooks of Raleigh, “Vibrant Florals in Oils,” Feb. 29-March 1. She will be followed by Janie Prete of Clayton, “Playing with Creativity,” April 12; Dan Lee of Four Oaks, “Figurative Painting in Charcoal,” May 3; and Annette Libby of Smithfield, “Making Your Own Clay Tiles,” June 14 and 21.

Clayton Visual Arts, which is funded in part by the Town of Clayton Cultural Arts Fund,offers these workshops at greatly reduced rates to encourage participation of area artists who wish to improve their skills and expand their knowledge.

Larry Strevig, chair of CVA, said the workshop fees are about $100 lower than fees for similar workshops in the area. Fees range from $30 to $70 for the CVA workshops, which will be held at The Clayton Center. “We pay the artists and provide the classroom space, so that the cost to students is minimal,” he said. “These are high-quality workshops, with experienced art teachers, offering a great opportunity for local art students – especially the opportunity to study with Luke Allsbrook.”

Allsbrook, whose grandfather was superintendent of the N.C. State University Agricultural Research Farm for years, had an art exhibit at The Clayton Center in 2006.
He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Indiana University (Bloomington) and a Master of Fine Arts (cum laude) from The New York Academy of Art. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and is included in the Forbes collection, the U.S. State Department collection, and in the collection of His Royal Highness, Charles, the Prince of Wales. Allsbrook served as official tour artist for the Prince on his 2005 state tour of the United States. He has taught drawing and painting at the New York Academy of Art, The Lyme Academy of Art, William Paterson University, UNC-Asheville, and in Italy with the University of Georgia-Cortona Program.
Workshop brochures with registration forms are available at, from Strevig at 550-8934, from The Coffee Mill on Lombard Street and from artist Gail O’Neil’s Gallery on Main Street.

Deadline for enrolling in the first two workshops – Hooks on Feb. 29-March 1, and Prete on April 12 – is Feb. 25. Deadline for all others is March 30. Class sizes are limited, so register early.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Barry Woodard Honored as 2007 NC Main Street Champion for Clayton

On Thursday, January 31, Barry Woodard was honored as a 2007 Main Street Champion at the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Dinner in Rocky Mount. Mr. Woodard was selected for this special recognition by the Clayton Downtown Development Association in appreciation of his exceptional contributions to the downtown revitalization process.

Along with Champions from 32 other communities, he received a certificate commemorating his designation presented by N.C. Secretary of Commerce Jim Fain, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Cleve Simpson, Main Street Assistant Coordinator Meg Dees and Office of Urban Development Director Rodney L. Swink, FASLA.

“The Downtown Development Association was pleased to recognize Barry Woodard as the first NC Main Street Champion from Clayton,” said DDA Chair Joyce Blackley. “He championed downtown Clayton when there wasn’t much support and got things done.”

Each of the state’s active Main Street programs is given the opportunity annually to recognize a local Main Street Champion. The dedication and hard work of countless volunteers is required to make a local Main Street program successful, and the Main Street Champion designation acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of those persons who have played pivotal roles in the revitalization of their downtowns.

“Main Street is a grassroots effort and, in order to be successful, every local program must draw on its community resources—both financial and human,” said Swink. “The human resources come in a number of forms: volunteers, Main Street board members, city staff, city councils and others. There are no greater supporters of Main Street than those people who we honor here tonight, individuals who have taken their dedication to downtown to the next level—our 2007 N.C. Main Street Champions.”

“Whether donating money for a minor league ball park or repairing a broken Christmas tree, Main Street Champions are the people who do what is needed when it is needed, ensuring that the downtowns they love remain vital, vibrant places. Main Street Champions take great pride in their downtowns, and tonight we take great pride in our Main Street Champions,” he said.

In nominating Woodard for this honor, the Clayton Downtown Development Association offered the following:
Barry Woodard has played an important role in helping to revitalize Clayton’s downtown. Along with various partners, he has made major investments in downtown, including construction of the Hometowne Realty building on East Main Street, one of the first new buildings in the downtown in many years. Barry has also made recent investments in several other downtown properties.

Barry has demonstrated a tireless commitment to downtown building improvements and chaired the Clayton Downtown Development Association for a number of years. In that role, he was instrumental in developing an awning assistance program, which has improved the appearance of downtown, and pushed for more town involvement in downtown improvement.

Barry’s involvement in downtown issues and activities is ongoing; he most recently served on the downtown parking needs assessment and inventory committee. And, as he has for many years, continues to help set up the town’s largest annual event, the Harvest Festival, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and held downtown.

In recognition of his hard work and dedication on behalf of our downtown, the Clayton Downtown Development Association is proud to honor Barry Woodard as a Main Street Champion.

“Main Street” is a downtown revitalization program for smaller towns based on economic development within the context of historic preservation. The North Carolina Main Street Program, which provides technical assistance to its communities, is part of the Office of Urban Development in the Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Assistance.

In 1980, North Carolina was one of six original states, selected from 38 that applied, to launch the work of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center. The North Carolina Main Street Program began working with its five original cities – New Bern, Salisbury, Shelby, Tarboro, and Washington – in September 1980 and has since grown to include 57 communities across the state. Clayton became a Main Street community in 2006.

Video of the presentation

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Film Festival Activities Broadcast Live on Web

NBC 17 will be present at the first annual Short Circuit Film Festival presented by The Clayton Center and the Johnston County Arts Council this Thursday, February 7. The festival will be held at The Clayton Center located at 111 East 2nd Street in Clayton. The screening begins at 7p.m. Doors to the building will be open at 6 p.m. NBC 17 will project live video feed of the evening activities, beginning with audience arrival, film introductions, audience reaction to each film, question and answer session with the directors as well as footage of the official festival after party held at The Flipside in Downtown Clayton. Actual film footage will not be captured on the broadcast.

The 1st Annual Short Circuit Traveling Film Festival will present a dozen short films selected for their artistic merit by a panel of media arts professionals. The selections range from fiction and animation to experimental and documentary by filmmakers from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Directors from two of the short films featured in the Short Circuit Traveling Film Festival will join the festival activities. Keith Hobgood of Out of Our Minds Studio, located in Winston Salem, North Carolina and creator of the animation “Dear Sweet Emma” along with Clay Walker of Plan B Productions located in Atlanta, Georgia and director of the documentary “The Cole Nobody Knows” will attend the festival to introduce their films and respond to questions after the screening.

Johnston County was amongst a limited list of locations including New Orleans, Tampa, Charlotte and Atlanta, selected to host the traveling festival, a project of the Southern Arts Federation. General Admission is $2.50.

The Film Festival is a prelude to The Clayton Center’s February 9 concert featuring Freddy Cole. Admission to the film festival is free to individuals who purchase tickets to Saturday’s concert.

To catch the live footage of festival activities log on to For a list of films and the festival schedule visit the Short Circuit Traveling Film Festival at For tickets to the festival or to Freddy Cole contact The Clayton Center at (919) 553-1737 or online at .

Short Circuit Film Festival Thursday Night

Don't forget about the Short Circuit Film Festival at The Clayton Center tomorrow night! Just $2.50 a ticket for a dozen independent short films, including one about Freddy Cole, who is performing at The Clayton Center Saturday night. Here's a good story about the festival...

For more information call the Johnston County Arts Council at 553-1930.