Located on 118 E Kingston Avenue, Dilworth Artisan Station is a historic building that houses a variety of artists as tenants. This factory-turned arthouse has served many purposes throughout its life in South End, Charlotte. From furniture, textiles, and even storing soldier’s cars during World War II, this building has always had a specific purpose. Today, that purpose is curating and gathering the Carolinas’ best artists into one three-story building.
Formerly owned by the Fuller brothers, this art collective is now owned by Jay Levell and Erik Johnson. Far from being the distant real estate firm that some might associate with building ownership, Levell and Johnson are familiar with the culture of the Carolinas. Both received their education from the University of North Carolina. They then went on to successful careers in retail and business before co-founding White Point Partners.
Drawn from History
The new owners of Dilworth Artisan Station continue to celebrate the historical structure of the building, allowing art to flourish. The three-story building dates back to the early 1900s and is entirely brick and beam construction. This historical architecture inspires the artists. According to White Point, the “natural light, wooden floors, oversized columns, and beams” create a natural “environment for artists to thrive.” In a neighborhood that changes as rapidly as South End, historical structures and natural lighting can feel like a boon to the artistic soul.
Artists like Evelyn Henson particularly value what she calls the “creative hub” engendered by DAS, that allows “artists [to] engage with, learn from, and support each other.” Additionally, the very presence of Dilworth Artisan Station allows the public to interact with art and art creation in a completely different way than in a gallery setting. Artists actively create in the space and the space is open to visitors on weekdays, the public can more easily participate in the creation of the art. Original art covers the walls of DAS, allowing visitors and collectors alike to appreciate new pieces.
A Hub for Creatives
The selection of artists might seem mysterious to the outside observer. However, DAS’ “mayor” Paul Hastings regularly works with the leasing team in order to bring in new creators. In fact, it’s entirely possible to run into new art purveyors due to word of mouth. New artists might think it impossible to make it into such a historical space, but Hastings implores “good technique” and “learn[ing] to use equipment and materials” in your craft is instrumental in any artist’s career.
While each studio has separate “business hours,” you’re sure to find something exciting if you stop by DAS. In fact, the artists typically hold a spring open house on the first Friday of May. Curious passers-by can poke their heads inside.
DAS caters to both large and small tenants. But they celebrate the small tenants that occupy space within the building. That’s because, according to the team at White Point, it’s the “small tenants who give the building energy and character that would otherwise not exist.”
This small-tenant energy is doubtlessly a key point in the cultivation of new artistic voices in the Charlotte art scene. Individual creators and creations to be seen at leisure in this space.