Exploring Local Murals

Carrboro students see murals so much in their daily lives that at times they can blend into the background. Whether it is the murals in our stairwells, done by two Dominican painters—Carlos Veras and Anthony Vasquez—last year, or one of the more than 30 murals around Chapel Hill and Carrboro, these huge paintings help to make our community the cultured and beautiful place that it is.

In Chapel Hill, murals contribute hugely to the town’s status as a center for culture and arts in The Triangle. A majority of the murals are painted on private property with the owner’s permission, and were done by UNC-Chapel Hill alumni Michael Brown. Brown completed most of his murals during the yearly arts program that he headed, and which employed student volunteers to help him with the painting. This program ran until 2001, and although Brown has only completed a few murals since, his artistic vision has deeply shaped Chapel Hill’s art scene. More recently, Brown completed work on murals at the UNC Student Store and the Franklin Street Mellow Mushroom. The following are several of Brown’s best, and least known, works.

“Many Earths”

Location: 108 West Rosemary Street, behind Moe’s and Yogurt Pump and next to the homeless shelter.

Description: This is one of the many murals throughout Chapel Hill that was done by the painter Michael Brown. He completed the Many Earths mural in 2002, but hopes to revise it soon, according to the Chapel Hill Recorder. Brown feels that the deeper meaning of the painting—we are one of many earths—is often overlooked. His goal, Chapel Hill Recorder says, is to add a Haiku to the painting that explains it’s meaning.

“Paint By Numbers”

Location: 305 West Rosemary Street, sort of behind Noodles & Company, on Rosemary Street between Mama Dip’s and Franklin Street.

Description: Another of Michael Brown’s murals, the Paint By Numbers mural is Brown’s most recent contribution to the Chapel Hill mural collection, completed in 2003. His inspiration for the painting was the other painters that work with him on the huge projects, which can be seen in the purposefully-unfinished section of the mural. The numbers theme runs deeper than just the literal paint-by-numbers that Brown uses to make his murals, in that the depicted football players also have numbers on their jerseys.

“Nation of Many Colors”

Location: 101 Lloyd Street, across the street from Rise Biscuits & Donuts, tucked behind Salon2eleven.

Description: This mural, which depicts a map of the Earth superimposed on one of the United States. It was completed by volunteers from the now-defunct non-profit organization El Centro Latino. El Centro was a local Chapel Hill organization that aimed to serve the disadvantaged Latino Chapel Hill residents. However, it was forced to close down in 2009 due to lack of donations. This mural stands on as evidence of the organization’s impact on the Chapel Hill community.


Location: 111 South Merritt Mill Road, on Merritt Mill between the train tracks and Crook’s Corner.

Description: Unfortunately, this mural was recently painted over. It was one of the older murals in Chapel Hill, being completed in the mid-1990s. Another painting by Michael Brown, this was in many ways a collaborative painting. After tracing out the grid pattern, Brown let his disciples mix their own paint colors and color in the squares. The pattern itself was inspired by patchwork quilting.
Photos courtesy The Chapel Hill Recorder 

Local Art Opportunities


Fittingly placed in the Carrboro Town Commons, the Bazaar Craft and Art Market creates an atmosphere perfect for anyone with an appreciation for handmade items, local food trucks, and hoola hoops. Founded by Meg Morgan of High Street Designs, the Bazaar features dozens of booths selling a wide variety of products ranging from clothing and artwork to soaps and succulents. Be sure to swing by the next Bazaar on November 13 if you’re in the market for a charmingly personal product that is sure to be made with love.


One Song Productions is the perfect organization to disprove the older generation that teenagers can, in fact, accomplish meaningful things. Composed entirely of high school students, One Song produces four shows annually, in addition to the “Feb 48”, a one-act festival where shows go from being written to performed in 48 hours. Last year’s season consisted of the shows Almost, Maine, The Glass Menagerie, Stop Kiss, and Failure: A Love Story. If you’re interested in theatre and want to get involved, check out them out at 1songproductions.org.


The one day that you’re guaranteed to see more strollers, suspenders, and sitars than any other in Carrboro is the day of town’s annual music festival. With hundreds of bands in dozens of locations throughout the heart of Carrboro, the festival is sure to have something for everyone. The streets are filled with people and nearly every building has its doors open, welcoming anyone to come in and enjoy the jams. Mark your calendars for this annual event; this isn’t one you want to miss!


The Monti is a great platform for an amazing story, an incredible feat of public humiliation, or both. They offer two types of events: organized performances from selected storytellers, and the StorySlam; an open mic of sorts designed to give locals a shot at telling a personal anecdote in front of a live audience. Pick up a ticket at the Arts Center just to listen or, if you’re brave, put together a story of your own.

Midsummer Night’s Dream

Plot line: It’s the year 1600. Two characters, young Lysander and Hermia, are madly in love with plans to get married, but they can’t. Hermia’s father wants Hermia to marry Demetrius. But Demetrius can’t marry Hermia, because he has to go fight in World War II. Doesn’t sound quite right? It’s not. Carrboro High School’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare will be performed in November with the original script, but a 1940’s setting and theme.

The plot in Midsummer Night’s Dream is as follows: Lysander and Hermia, are planning to get married, but their plans are foiled by Hermia’s father who wants her to marry Demetrius. Demetrius is also in love with Hermia, but Hermia is in love with Lysander. And in addition, Helena is in love with Demetrius. Throughout the story, everyone’s plans are a little ruined when Puck, the fairy king, comes and causes trouble with the help of a few love potions. In addition to all of this a small troupe of actors is struggling to put on a decent performance of a show.

“I know they’re going to use the costumes and setting a lot. They showed us the costumes today, and a lot of it’s old timey, 1940’s stuff.” said freshman Caroline Watson, in reference to the 1940’s theme. Some scenes will stay pretty similar, many take place in a forest with the fairies, but many set and costume aspects will be adapted to fit the 1940’s theme, despite the script being the original, Shakespearean version

In addition to the challenges of memorizing lines and blocking that come with any theater production, interpreting a Shakespearean play is no easy feat.

“It’s a very foreign way of speaking, so i sometimes have trouble understanding what things mean” said senior Daniel O’Grady.

Every rehearsal the actors went through the lines and scenes to make sure they knew what was happening in each scene, what all their lines meant, and if they grasped the concept. With a firm understanding, the actors could put the right tone of voice and meaning into the lines, instead of just reading them from the page. Only after all of this was achieved, could the actors begin memorizing lines and working on the blocking

“The translations we’ve been doing are the biggest difference in the rehearsal process.” said senior Thomas Cassidy, noting the difference between A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and previous Carrboro shows. “In the past, we haven’t had to translate other shows. In other shows, we just had to get context, we didn’t have to translate the words, since it was written in modern english.”

With the combination of 1600’s and 1940’s, we asked the cast to say a few words about the show itself. Among their answers were “hectic, magical, fun, complicated, and an altogether crazy and fantastic experience.”

You can see Carrboro High School’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream November 3,4, 5 at 7:30pm and November 6 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults, and free for CHCCS Faculty and Staff. The are available now at seatyourself.biz/jagtheatre

Student Spotlight: Emmanuel Oquaye

Q1: What started your love of sculpting?

A1: In ceramics class freshman year, I was given a sculpting assignment and at first it was just an assignment but I took it so much more seriously.

Q1.5: What was the assignment?
A1.5: An animal sculpture that everyone did. I just gravitated to it a lot more than other people, and they started noticing that and that I was doing a good job that displayed my talent.

Q2: And how long have you been sculpting?
A2: Three years now.

Q3: What do you like so much about sculpting?
A3: You can be more creative than you can be with the wheel.

Q4: Do you also work on the wheel?
A4: Yeah the wheel is always beautiful but I prefer sculpting because it’s so free. Obviously there are advantages to both.

Q5: Where do you plan on going with your sculpting?
A5: I might want to do an art show. I want a studio; that’s the dream

Q5.5: Do you have any extra-curriculars running right now with your sculpting?
A5.5: Yeah, the Empty Bowl Club. We make bowls together, not just Carrboro students, but lots of people from the art center and other things. Basically, with those bowls, we prepare meals and have a sort of community dinner. People pay $30 for the meal and the artwork. All proceeds go to CORA Food Pantry to help feed hungry kids in the area. A lot of people don’t know, but there are kids in the area who are [hungry]. And it doesn’t have to be homeless starving either, just look at the kids who eat reduced or free lunch.

Q6: Anything else you’d like to add?
A6: Ceramics is an awesome class. Ms. Schiavone has helped me grow as a creator, shoutout Ms. Schiavone.

Senior Emmanuel Aquaye.  Photo by Mireille Leone.

Streaming Exclusives: Music

Students at Carrboro have been feeling the isolating effects of music streaming albums lately.

Whereas music used to be available to any dedicated fan willing to spend a few dollars, it now exists in a market in which artists sign off on deals in which only one streaming service can release their music.

The most recent example of this new trend in the music industry is the case of Frank Ocean’s Sophomore full-length album Blond.  An Apple Music Exclusive, Carrboro students who aren’t subscribed are up in arms about the exclusion.

“When Frank Ocean’s album first came out, I was giddy as a kid!” said Declan Sistachs, senior.  “I was thinking to myself ‘here comes Frankie with that soul sound I just need!’  And when I discovered that his album was unavailable to someone who didn’t subscribe to a streamer, just like Kanye’s album, I just felt left out.”  When asked if he would pay the 10 dollars a month, Sistachs said “of course not, that’s ridiculous.  I’m not paying 120 dollars a year just to hear an album.”

Carrboro students are set to become increasingly upset heading into 2017, as more artists are pledging their allegiance to different streaming services.  Whether it be with Kanye West’s Tidal, or Apple Music, or even Spotify, more artists are signing these deals.

When asked if she would consider paying the monthly fees of a streaming service if her favorite artist released an exclusive album, senior Katie Fesperman said “I don’t think so.  I subscribe to spotify, but if my favorite artist became exclusive to Tidal or Apple Music, I don’t think I would pay the money just to hear the artist.  I won’t pay for an artist who’s in it just for the money.”

Whether it means they are in it only for the money or not, it’s undeniable that more artists are signing off on these deals.  As the industry moves even further away from hard cover album sales to online streams, it only makes sense that the artists will set themselves up for a future in which maximum profit is guaranteed.

Streaming Exclusives Challenge Traditional TV

The way we watch TV shows has changed drastically over the years, resulting in more complex narrative structures and an increase in the overall quality of television.

In the past, viewers kept up with shows by tuning every week. Now, online streaming sources like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu dominate TV and remove that agonizing weekly wait for new episodes.

Netflix began as a source for streaming old TV shows and movies released five or ten years prior. In the past few years, Netflix’s angle has completely changed and shifted into releasing original shows, recent seasons of TV and films.

With a positive response from viewers who prefer more options when they watch a show, Hulu and Amazon have followed in Netflix’s footsteps.

“Five years ago I watched TV on the actual TV,”  said junior Margaret Reed, “and now I watch it on my computer via Netflix.”

Reed represents the majority who have switched from TV to streaming. According to a 2014 Adobe study, the number of viewers watching online TV has grown drastically, with rates more than doubling from 2013 to 2014. For many, the convenience of watching on a portable device outweighs the draw of traditional TVs.  

“I can take my laptop anywhere and watch it anytime,” said Reed.

Alongside an increased number of online streaming creators comes the ability to have diverse content that pushes the limits of TV we see today. With a new variety of shows, producers no longer have to restrict their scripts to meet specific guidelines within TV networks. Instead, they are free to let their creators run shows without much interference.

Controversial shows like Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and Amazon’s Transparent are just a few examples showing greater diversity in streaming than broadcast.

Since the age of binging entire series has arrived, the benchmark for what viewers expect has changed. Shows that are exclusively online are taking on more complex plots because viewers are able to watch episodes one after another. Now, TV show creators feel pressured to add layers of complexity and depth to their shows.

In contrast, the plots of traditional TV shows have to be structured around ad breaks. For example, producers of shows like Quantico or Law and Order craft cliffhangers before and after ad breaks to keep viewers intrigued.

The rise of streaming media challenges this longheld practice. Streaming exclusives,  uninterrupted by ads or breaks between episodes, continue to increase in popularity because they provide instant gratification.

For the Eleven fans and Frank Underwood fanatics, traditional television is becoming a remote thing of the past.