Home Life Arts and Style 19 Ideas for Exploring A Different Side of Chapel Hill This Winter

19 Ideas for Exploring A Different Side of Chapel Hill This Winter

From recently opened art exhibits to activities for the kids, we feature a range of ideas to enjoy our town during the coldest months of the year

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#1 BE AMAZED BY NATURE

There’s a new Patrick Dougherty stickwork installation at the Ackland Art Museum and if you’ve never seen how he weaves together tree saplings into incredible shapes, now’s your chance. “Patrick’s five individually-shaped sculptures act as carnival barkers of sorts, summoning the public to ‘step right up’ and enter the Ackland to experience the wonders inside,” says Ackland director Katie Ziglar. “The art on view in the museum includes a 2,000-year-old Iranian earthenware, animal-shaped pouring vessel that the artist acknowledges was a key inspiration for these works.”

#2 DO SOME SHOPPING

Mark your calendar for University Place‘s huge annual Sidewalk Sale on Jan. 12-14.

#3 CATCH A BALL GAME

The UNC women’s basketball team suits up in Carmichael for day games against Wake Forest, Duke, Miami and NC State in January and February.

Photo by Pascal Monmoine

#4 GO ON AN ART WALK

AC Hotel Chapel Hill Downtown partnered with Kalisher to commission a mixed media work that celebrates the history of the Northside neighborhood by regional artist Lincoln Hancock. He collected photos, newspaper clippings and stories from residents for the piece. See it on display at the new hotel during the 2nd Friday Artwalk on Jan. 12.

#5 STRETCH AND POSE

Little Dipper Wellness hosts kids’ yoga at Carrboro Yoga Company on Jan. 14 so you and your little one (3- to 8-year olds) can try downward-facing dog, dance and relax together.

#6 HONOR MLK

Join community leaders and university officials for the 33rd annual University/Community MLK Jr. Memorial Banquet held Jan. 14 at The Friday Center.

#7 SIT FOR STORYTIME

Author Linda Ashman will read from her adorable children’s book “William’s Winter Nap” at Kidzu Children’s Museum on Jan. 19.

#8 LEARN SOMETHING NEW

Watch as Stacy Martin of Yellow Wolf Farm breaks down a whole Heritage breed pig in this six-hour Whole Hog Butchery & Sausage- Making Workshop at Midway Community Kitchen on Jan. 20. You can get in on the action or just watch and take notes.

#9 DRAW A DAISY

If you’re counting the days until spring, head to the North Carolina Botanical Garden to take “Introduction to Botanical Art & Illustration” with artist Linda Koffenberger on Jan. 21. Or get your garden ready in a course on Feb. 18 that covers how to protect your plants from freezing and how to grow spring vegetables.

#10 PAINT YOUR HEART OUT

Tuesdays at Might as Well means Paint Nite and brews! Take a two-hour class, sip a beverage and you’ll end up with a painting to take home. The event on Jan. 23. features a wintry polar bear scene.

#11 HAVE SOME MINIATURE FUN

Everyone’s favorite building blocks get turned into landmarks, skyscrapers and more during LEGOPalooza at the Morehead Planetarium on Jan. 27 and 28.

#12 MAKE SOME NOISE

Check out the new CURRENT Artspace + Studio in Carolina Square. The Paul Dresher Ensemble will bring their highly interactive musical installation, “Sound Maze,” to town as the Carolina Performing Arts theater’s first guest from Feb. 2 to 5.

Photo Courtesy Wilson Library

#13 CHECK OUT A PLAYMAKERS EXHIBIT AT WILSON LIBRARY

Four decades of craftmanship and creativity are on display at Wilson Library. The collection called “Setting the Stage at PlayMakers Repertory Company: 40+ Years of Magic” features sketches, photographs, props and costumes from present shows ranging back to pieces from PlayMakers Repertory Company’s first production of “The Crucible” in 1977.

“We wanted a range of elements, from drawings and models to costumes and properties and for the folks who read the captions, we wanted to provide some interesting stories,” says resident PRC costume designer Bobbi Owen. These captions share anecdotes like the use of plaster of Paris and Styrofoam to make the delicious-looking delectables in this fall’s production of “The Cake.”

Multiple sketches and drawings within the exhibit reveal to visitors just how much work goes into the creative process of a production. “We also hope they gain some insights into how much effort – by numerous people – goes into creating what often looks effortless on stage, which is how it is meant to look,” says Bobbi.

The display will be open to the public until March 4.

#14 LISTEN TO SOME NEW TUNES

You may recognize singer-songwriter Crystal Bright’s whimsical-folksy blend of music from a Weaver Street Market after-hours show. “I’ve made so many friends there and love when the children and adults come out to dance and play,” she says. Now the musician, who counts Tom Waits, Philip Glass and flamenco music among her influences, releases her new album, “Staring at the Sun,” in January. This one, she says, is more personal and minimal instrumentally.

She’ll be spreading the word about her new album before she visits an elephant sanctuary in Thailand in February, adding to her list of incredible opportunities. “Opening for the Paperhand Puppet Intervention in the outdoor amphitheater was an amazing experience, as well as my last CD release show at The ArtsCenter that featured aerialists, acrobats and other amazing dancers and performers. I love it when I can bring people together to create something big and from our hearts and create friendships that expand past the stage,” she says. “The diversity of Chapel Hill and the inclusiveness of so many lifestyles and art is what drew me here.”

Of course, the numerous music venues didn’t hurt either. “I have a special spot in my heart for The Cave, because that’s where I first started playing in Chapel Hill at open mics and made so many of the friends I still have today and made me want to move here,” she says. “I also love Cat’s Cradle and all of the amazing musical acts they bring here and how they also support local music. The Station and 2nd Wind also have lots of super talented local musicians all the time.” When she doesn’t have a mic or an instrument in hand, you might find her at Vimala’s Curryblossom Café, Lucha Tigre or one of the many taco trucks around town.

#15 JOIN FRANK GALLERY

for their grand re-opening at University Place on Feb 9.

#16 GO FOR A SWIM

Now’s the perfect time for a visit to the Homestead Aquatic Center.

#17 CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR

Swing by Extraordinary Ventures for a Chinese New Year Party hosted by Pittsboro-based Black Bamboo Pavilion Taijiquan School on Feb. 17. There’ll be door prizes and demonstrations – just bring a potluck dish. Or head to the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center (registration required) on Feb. 16 to enjoy a variety of entertainment plus a reception and traditional snacks.

#18 WARM UP WITH A HOT TODDY

Now you can sit outside at Carolina Coffee Shop thanks to their new patio out front. But in case it’s too chilly for you, grab a cozy booth seat and sip a souped-up hot chocolate. The Captain’s Pumpkin Spice, Chocolate Nut Mocha or the Bean Crown should do the trick.

#19 COOK UP SOMETHING WITH THE KIDS

Try this foolproof recipe from Dorette Snover of C’est si Bon! Cooking School to bake with the kids. (And while you’re at it, don’t forget to sign them up for summer camp.)

Brazilian Pepper Bread with Chocolate Butter

“Yes, this is as yummy as it sounds. It comes from a kids’ snow day impromptu baking day!” says Dorette.

1 cup white cornmeal
½ cup flour (heaping)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. honey or sugar, if desired
½ tsp. baking soda
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 fresh pasilla or poblano pepper, chopped
1 egg
1 ½ cup buttermilk
3 tsp. bacon drippings or coconut oil

Sift together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine peppers in a small bowl and then add beaten egg and buttermilk; pour slowly into dry mixture. Warm the bacon grease or coconut oil in a cast-iron skillet in the oven. When hot, pour into cornbread mixture. Mix gently but well and pour immediately back into cast-iron skillet. Bake at 425 F for 30-35 minutes.

Chocolate Butter

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup hot water
½ cup honey
1 pinch salt
1 stick really good unsalted butter, cut into 10 or 12 slices
½ tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. almond extract

Sift cocoa powder into top of double boiler. Add hot water; stir until smooth. Place over simmering water. Stir in honey and salt. Cook, stirring to dissolve, about 1 minute. Remove top of double boiler from simmering water. Whisk in butter, a slice at a time, mixing after each addition just until butter is blended in. Whisk in vanilla and almond extract.