Kotis Street Art • Greensboro, NC
It’s a funny chain of events that led us to connecting with Kotis Street Art and ending up in Greensboro, NC to launch their first art exhibit. We first heard of this street art initiative in Lynn, MA during Beyond Walls’ third annual Street Art Festival. Founder Marty Kotis happened to be in Boston visiting schools with his son, and he stopped by the festival to say hello to Sipros, the master from Brazil who “loves big ears.” The two had worked together previously on one of Kotis Street Art’s 100+ murals that cover the buildings owned or managed by Kotis Properties in Greensboro. Beyond being a leading developer, Marty Kotis has also made a mark in the restaurant world, with a focus in hospitality. More recently, he has made his entry into the world of street art in an effort to improve public spaces and make them better than he found them.
We saw Marty Kotis in Wynwood at a barbeque with our favorite Miami characters, Golden305 and Ruben Ubiera. Marty supplied killer ribs with the full spread of coleslaw, bread, and pickles, plus beer from his Pig Pounder Brewery (which features artwork from the muralists he works with.) After chatting with Marty, he shared he’s interested in kicking off an art exhibit series. Well, we happened to have a perfect exhibit for the street-art-infused culture of Greensboro. We made a plan to open a pop-up two weeks later.
Arriving in Greensboro, we discovered how quirky and playful this quaint city is. The blocks spread out around a vibrant downtown, and we were able to explore the many nooks of coffee shops, bars, and art studios. The cultural center seems wildly centered around the arts, focusing on supporting local artists (who also seem awesome!)
The Kotis Street Art team included many, many helping hands that were able to configure a professional gallery literally out of a former bike shop. A fresh coat of paint white-walled the space, showing off its high ceilings and interesting, modern architecture.
The artwork really popped, from the Explosive Nature series from Felipe Ortiz, to the original serigraphs from Gleo, Guache, Dast and Wosnan. The community warmly accepted our collection, purchasing pieces of “wall slabs” from Letop, painfully intricate drawings from iiooss, and graffiti-inspired giclee prints from Yurika.
“This is a way for us to bring artwork into Greensboro from another community,” said Kotis. “It gives people here a chance to experience other cultures without leaving home.”
Thank you to everyone who joined us, everyone who admired the art, spread the word, asked questions, shared their own work, stopped by Felipe’s artist talk, or purchased a piece. Our visit in Greensboro was beyond inspiring and we are encouraged to return in 2020 with a new approach to our art collections.
Photos captured by Kotis Street Art.