The grand opening of The Nest, the new arts center and incubator in Historic Norcross, was held on Saturday with much fanfare. The event, which was also a fundraiser for the Norcross Arts Alliance, was widely supported by the community.
A feeling of excitement buzzed through the large, diverse crowd that filled the recently renovated old Rectory at 17 College St., next to the . Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer as they perused art displays and mingled when they weren’t being entertained by live painting demonstrations or the interactive nest sculpture, located in the foyer.
“I love the interactive nest (sculpture), where you put your own piece to help build the nest,” exclaimed Cecie Harrington, one of the evening’s attendees. “And I love the demonstrations they’re doing.”
The networking group she hosts, Atlanta Green Drinks North, plans to rent out The Nest for an event next month. “I’m really excited to come back and have my group come build the nest (sculpture),” she said.
Resident artist and assistant to the director, Lauren Moscolo, said she also added some twigs to the nest sculpture. However, for the majority of the evening she was kept busy doing an oil-painting demonstration.
“In a lot of ways it’s very inspirational when you have people who are walking by and they take the time to stop and look at what you’re doing...,” she explained. “As an artist that’s really just so great when people respond to your artwork.”
The demonstrations also gave attendees the ability to congregate and interact with people they may not have spoken with otherwise. It created the sense of a vibrant, happening art scene.
The arts center does aspire to be a cultural hub in Norcross, and it appears to be well on its way. So, what can you expect next from The Nest? Yarn-bombing.
”We’ll be doing crocheted pieces all over Norcross and they’ll be on lamp posts and on tree trunks and all kinds of stuff,” explained Lori Sturgess, Director of The Nest.
She’s also planning another interactive sculpture for Earth Day. “An obvious time to do something really earthy and recycling-based,” she said. She has three different communities in Gwinnett County buying materials for the project right now.
She generally designs sculptures with the specific talents of her resident artists in mind. “The thing is, my ideas are always much bigger than one person could ever do,” she stated.
The interactive nest sculpture was actually inspired by another piece of art. “That crazy bird,” as Sturgess described it, was built with the help of the volunteers. Every feather on the bird represents someone who contributed to the renovation and building of The Nest. She said it just made sense to her to put it all together in a way that was unusual.
And what was Sturgess’s favorite part of the evening? “All these people,” she said. “I mean (there's) a lot of really new faces, which I’m very excited about. I had no idea and they’re all showing up to pay at the last minute.”