Inspiration is a tricky thing, and to be honest – I’m a tough crowd.  You really wouldn’t know it by looking at me as I tend to resemble a Replacements roadie circa 1991 most of the time, but I grew up with the privilege of travelling quite extensively and a Mother that exposed me to a wide array of music, literature, and perhaps most importantly- art.

That said, when I crawled onto the shores of the Raleigh “scene” years ago, I really wasn’t that impressed.  For the most part, the bar scene was like every other bar scene I’d ever had the opportunity (or misfortune) to stumble through: wallet chains in full swing, ill-fitting “vintage” shirts, tousled hair, barstool prophets, nicotine insecurities, unfortunate tats, too-cool-for-skool indie rock hipsters, etc. etc.  It’s not pretty, and in truth, every city has the same cast of characters.  I’d seen it before, but I stumbled through nonetheless.

Then, through the grapevine or perhaps by way of an accidental eavesdrop, someone mentioned Bickett Gallery.

It sounded mysterious, off-the-grid, and from all of the descriptions I had heard – brilliant.  So, a few nights later, without any idea of what was going on or what I’d find, I took my first steps up Bickett’s rustic wooden ramp.  Once inside, I found – to my delight – it was not just a gallery, but a place where art, music, film, performance, and expression were celebrated in every form imaginable.

Granted, I’d been to some very cool galleries in my time, but Bickett Gallery seemed to transcend Raleigh’s art scene.  It held a freedom, mystery, and sense of cool that was revered by both the art community and hipsters alike.  Truthfully, it repeatedly raised the bar for what the city could do or dream artistically.

I worked there for a short time… music shows, bartending, and helping out when and where I could.  I not only enjoyed my time there, but I met extraordinary people, witnessed ground breaking art, and on more than many occassions was truly inspired.

Sadly, three years ago this past week, Bickett Gallery closed its doors.  Like most progressive ideas, and perhaps not unlike a brilliant artist, it wasn’t appreciated enough in its time.  That said, the art community of Raleigh seems to have been trying to fill the enormous void left by Bickett’s absence ever since. 

It should be noted that the Bickett Gallery’s creator, Molly Miller, is celebrating a birthday today.  Luckily I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Molly as an employer and, more importantly, as a friend.  She is a consummate professional, brilliant curator, an extremely kind hearted person, and her name is synonymous with ART in this town.  She continues to support, and champion every aspect of the Triangle’s art community.  For that……North Carolina should be thankful.

Throughout this blog I’ll be sharing with you people, places, and things that inspire me…or possibly even annoy, concern, or baffle me.  In this case, however….it’s all about being inspired…. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Molly…..Happy Birthday.