The Outer Banks has a remarkably active arts community, and the evidence is everywhere. There are the innumerable galleries–all of them with unique art, amazing musicians and the Icarus horses — dating from the 100th Anniversary of Flight — that seem to pop up in the most surprising places. It’s also true that art can also be found in some of the most unlikely places. So we thought it would be fun to take a day trip to explore some of those “unlikely places” on the northern Outer Banks.
NORTH CAROLINA AQUARIUM, 374 Airport Rd, Manteo (252) 473-3494: Just across from the gift shop at the Aquarium is a rotating exhibit of art depicting nature. Kitty Dough, who is the Media Technician at the Roanoke Island Aquarium, who is an amazing artist in her own right is the curator for the exhibitions and her knowledge of local artists has created some truly wonderful art shows. Although the art exhibit is a great reason to stop by, the Aquarium itself is worth a visit.
NAGS HEAD TOWN HALL, Town Hall Road, Nags Head: Since 1997 the Nags Head Town Council has been supporting local and regional artists through the purchase of art. As a result, the town has one of the largest art collections on the Outer Banks. Works of art are hung throughout the municipal buildings, which are located between the Beach Road and Bypass, right across from the fire station. A self guided tour brochure is available on the second floor of the municipal building.
BAD BEAN AND BAJA GRILL, Seagate North Shopping Plaza, Kill Devil Hills (252) 261-1300: Chef and owner, Rob Robertson, is a classically trained chef with a penchant for California/Mexican cuisine. That alone is a great reason to stop in, but another reason for visiting is the artwork on the walls. A Ben Morris mural fills the dining room wall, showcasing his linear interpretation of waves. There is art everywhere, but the real pièce de résistance is the 8’ hand-carved shrimp on the wall across from the bar. Created by Callie Pruitt, one of the bartenders, it is a wonderful piece of art.
HOLY REDEEMER CATHOLIC CHURCH, 301 W Kitty Hawk Rd Kitty Hawk (252) 261-4700: This may be the highlight of the tour. Glenn Eure is a remarkable artist with a penchant for mixed media art and bad jokes. When the Holy Redeemer Church decided to purchase the stations of the cross, Glenn said he would craft the stations for free. What he created is a life-sized hand-carved rendering of the Via Crucis that is at once modern, yet very true to its traditional roots.
ELIZABETH’S CAFE, Scarborough Fair, Duck (252) 261-6145: Brad Price, the chef at Elizabeth’s Cafe, is an artist in the kitchen, but he may be even better with canvas and paint. A full range of his work is on display at the restaurant.
OUTER BANKS CENTER FOR WILDLIFE EDUCATION, Currituck Heritage Park, Corolla (252) 453-0221: Don’t let the name fool you–this is actually one of the most interesting small museums you will ever encounter. One of the most remarkable exhibits featured is what may be the largest hand-carved decoy collection in the world.