ArtsGreensboro Announces 2016 Fabric of Freedom Series, Presented in Conjunction with the National Folk Festival and 17DAYS

The series celebrates Greensboro’s unique history as a crucible for freedom & social justice

"Greensboro, N.C., August 18, 2016 — ArtsGreensboro President and CEO Tom Philion and Fabric of Freedom Coordinator Katy Clune today announced the schedule of free Fabric of Freedom arts events taking place throughout September during both the National Folk Festival, running September 9 – 11, and the 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival running September 9 – 25.

During the announcement, gospel singer Mary D. Williams of Garner, N.C., who will lead a Fabric of Freedom event, “Music from the Movement,” on Sunday, September 18, at the O.Henry Hotel, provided a preview of her performance.

In its second year, the Fabric of Freedom series celebrates Greensboro’s history as a crucible for freedom and social justice. It is presented by ArtsGreensboro and funded by a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant, with major support from the AJ Fletcher Foundation and Lincoln Financial Foundation.  

“Freedom movements and social justice activism are as integral to Greensboro as its railroads,” explained Philion. “Fabric of Freedom is a series of arts programs that celebrate the diversity and cultural history of Greensboro. We are thrilled to be able to present Fabric of Freedom events in association with the National Folk Festival, which showcases the rich traditions of all Americans, and 17DAYS, which shines a light on our city’s diverse art organizations.”
Even before Greensboro was founded in 1808, freedom was a rallying cry for its residents. Greensboro is named for Revolutionary War Major General Nathanael Greene, a “fighting Quaker” who led American troops against the British at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781. In the early 1800s, Quakers established the southern-most point of the Underground Railroad on the campus of present-day Guilford College. On February 1, 1960, four North Carolina A&T students asked to be served at the downtown Woolworth’s whites-only lunch counter. Since the 1970s, the city has welcomed new immigrants and refugees. In 2014, the Greensboro City Council passed a resolution naming Greensboro a Welcoming City “that celebrates the growing diversity of its residents.”
Upcoming Fabric of Freedom programs include:
Fabric of Freedom First Friday Kickoff
Fri., Sept. 2, 5 – 9:30 pm
Tour the International Civil Rights Museum for free from 5 – 6:30 pm. Then head over to Government Plaza at 7 pm for a one-night-only throwback concert by N.C. soul legends from Odyssey 5 and The Eliminators.


Freedom in the Gate City Timeline
See key moments in Greensboro’s history of social justice.

#WeaveTheTent Hands-on Activity
Sat., Sept. 10 & Sun., Sept. 11, 12 – 5 pm
N.C. Folklife Area
Lend a hand and help weave a “Fabric of Freedom” for Greensboro. No skills or materials required. Community weavings will become part of Welcoming the Stranger, an exhibit opening at Guilford College, on September 14.

What’s Your North Carolina Story?
Sat., Sept. 10 & Sun., Sept. 11, 12 – 5 pm
N.C. Folklife Area
Step into our storytelling Airstream trailer and share your N.C. experience. The photos and stories collected will be added to the collection of the Greensboro Historical Museum.


Objects from the Borderlands: The U.S.-Mexico Border Anti-Archive
Fri., Sept. 2 – Sat., Oct. 1
Reception: Sat., Sept. 17, 5 – 8 pm
Since 2007, artist Susan Harbage Page has walked the Texas-Mexico border, collecting the ordinary objects people leave behind on their journey into the U.S.
Greensboro Project Space | 219 W Lewis Street

Traditions of Protest in North Carolina
Fri., Sept. 2 – Sun., Oct. 2
This exhibit places Greensboro’s protest history into a larger state context. Organized by the North Carolina Folklore Society.
PB & Java | 616 North Elm Street

Greensboro is Our Home: Storytelling
Tues., Sept. 13, 7 – 9 pm
Several of the city’s voices for freedom—from the 1960s to now—reveal the true tales of triumph and danger they faced.
Gibb’s Hundred | 117 W Lewis Street

Welcoming the Stranger
Wed., Sept. 14 – Sun., Oct 30
Opening reception: Wed., Sept. 14, 5:30 – 7 pm
Inspired by the parable of Abraham welcoming strangers into his home, artist Jo Israelson seeks to turn strangers into friends.
Hege Library, Guilford College | 5800 W Friendly Ave.

Artist Talk: Hank Willis Thomas
Thurs., Sept. 15, 7 pm
The artist discusses his current exhibition, Unbranded, A Century of White Women, 1915 – 2015. RSVP:
Weatherspoon Art Museum | 500 Tate Street

The Allen Boys: Sacred Steel of North Carolina
Fri., Sept. 16, 6 – 8 pm
The Allen Boys, our state’s only touring sacred steel guitar band, bring their rollicking sound to Greensboro.
Lawn, Greensboro Historical Museum| 130 Summit Ave.

Underground Railroad Walking Tour
Sat., Sept. 17, 11 am
The southern terminus of the Underground Railroad was established in the forests of present-day Guilford College. RSVP:
Guilford College | 5800 W Friendly Ave

“Stacked” ACTIVIST Art Receptions
Sat., Sept. 17, 5 – 8 pm
See Peace and Restoration for Self-Determination at Bennett (artist remarks at 6 pm), then take a complimentary shuttle to GPS to view Objects from the Borderlands (artist remarks at 7 pm).
Bennett College and Greensboro Project Space

Peace and Restoration for Self-Determination
Sat., Sept. 17 – Sun., Oct. 30
Opening reception: Sat., Sept. 17, 5 – 8 pm
Through photo collage and installations, artist Shani Peters honors past social resistance and motivates today’s activists.
Steele Hall Gallery, Bennett College
900 E. Washington St.  | Open by appt. | 845-405-9159

Music from the Movement
Sun., Sept. 18, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Join singer Mary D. Williams on a journey through the songs of the Civil Rights era. RSVP:
O.Henry Hotel | 624 Green Valley Road

Curator Talk: Media and Message
Fri., Sept. 23, 12:15 pm
Weatherspoon curator Emily Stamey places Hank Williams Thomas’ artwork in the context of other artists who use media images to address social activist themes.
Weatherspoon Art Museum | 500 Tate Street

Hidden Histories of Greensboro
Sat., Sept. 24, 1– 5 pm
Take tours of the South Elm Street neighborhood created by artists Chloë Bass and Samara Smith (1 – 3 pm). At 3 pm, return to Elsewhere for an artist presentation and a neighborhood reception.
Elsewhere | 606 South Elm Street

Dislocate: Contemporary Dance and Conversation
Sat., Sept. 24, 7 pm
Sarah Council’s Dislocate is a physical inquiry into stories of courage, expectation, disappointment, and sacrifice.
Little Theatre, Bennett College | 900 E. Washington St.

Asian Pacific American Celebration
Sun., Sept. 25, 2 – 5 pm
Celebrate the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story.
Greensboro Historical Museum | 130 Summit Avenue

For more information, visit

About ArtsGreensboro: With an annual budget of approximately $3.5 million, ArtsGreensboro is a catalyst for innovation to build recognition and support for the arts. Through its ArtsFund-supported grant programs, the 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival, the Levitt AMP Greensboro Music Series, I HEART ARTS Month, and other opportunities including the National Folk Festival and the soon-to-be-opened Van Dyke Performance Space, ArtsGreensboro is driving the health and vitality of our community by supporting arts education, celebrating the diversity of Greensboro, and driving economic impact through excellence in arts programming.
About the 2016 National Folk Festival: Co-produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) and ArtsGreensboro, the National Folk Festival is celebrating the second year of its three-year residency in downtown Greensboro in 2016. The FREE, three-day event is America’s longest-running festival of traditional arts.

About 17DAYS: Hosted by ArtsGreensboro, the 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival is a public-service, collaborative listing of fall arts and cultural events produced by dozens of independent organizations, artists, and presenters. Now entering its sixth year, 17DAYS has become North Carolina’s largest collaborative festival, featuring more than 100 events, exhibitions, and performances each year. The 2016 festival will take place from September 9 through September 25. For more information, visit or call Kaitlin Smith at 336-373-7523, x246."

- A Press Release

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