By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way back home to Colorado — but for a few frantic and fun days, I found myself in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on business.
My employer put me up in the Brookstown Inn, an enormous, historic hotel that was once (eons ago) a cotton mill.
My friend Krystan had tasked me with finding Winston-Salem’s famous Art-o-mats, which are old cigarette machines repurposed to sell small works of art for $5 each. I didn’t have to go hunting for my first Art-o-mat; one was waiting for me in the lobby of the Brookstown.
That wouldn’t be my last Art-o-mat, either. I stumbled across another in a restaurant I hit up for dinner, and a few more being repaired in Delurk Gallery.
One friend who loves visual art even more than I do: Mary Beth. The two of us worked together some years ago at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and she invited me to North Carolina for a marketing project. It was fantastic to reconnect with her, and also to wander the streets of Winston-Salem’s active arts district and see why this town calls to an arts lover such as Mary Beth.
P.S. My grandfather smoked Winstons. That’s a complicated piece of nostalgia for sure.