Greensboro street art

Looking for something fun to do around town? How about pictures? All around downtown Greensboro, there are murals popping up everywhere. These murals are being drawn by artists from all over – some local and some inter- national.

Kotis Street Art is the name of the company that made it all happen. Kotis has been actively incorporating art into their projects since 2010 but started focusing on street art efforts in 2017. They now have over 100 murals around the city of Greensboro.

One day recently a friend and I were looking for COVID-friendly plans for the upcoming weekend. I had remembered the graffiti I had been seeing and suggested we check out a camera from the Global Communication Center here on campus. And we were off to take pictures. We walked to the first location, and started our adventure of exploring the street art. (Click here for an interactive map with all of the street art locations in and around Greensboro).

The murals are cool because they can work as a really good background in a photo from an outing with friends. We got some great shots of art done by so many of the artists who have been sponsored and supported through Kotis. We got a picture of artwork by Nils (the mural of the lady with the flowers in her hair), and Jeks (the bus with graffiti on the inside and out), as well as many more.

Spartan/Pride Open Pantry helps students in need

Spartan Open Pantry started at College Place United Methodist Church in 2012, after a short time of being run from the office of Director of Wesley-Luther, Andrew Mails.

The Pantry is open to all Greensboro College and UNCG students and has meals on Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 6 to 9 p.m.

Kellie Thomas, a senior at UNCG, has been working at Spartan Open Pantry since September 2019. Thomas had been with the pantry only a few months when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“COVID-19 has significantly changed the function of the SOP,” Thomas said. “We, like many organizations, had to adapt quickly in order to adopt new health and safety measures to protect our communities. This involved a little bit of trial and error. For a few weeks early in the pandemic, we distributed prepackaged bags to our neighbors from outside of the building in order to allow for social distancing and minimize surface contamination. However, we quickly realized that distributing food this way was both unsustainable and was not meeting our neighbors’ needs, so we moved back inside and began enforcing a mask requirement, social distancing protocols, and increased cleaning so that we could keep everyone safe while still getting students what they need.”

Spartan/Pride Open Pantry is always accepting both food and clothing donations and is located at College Place United Methodist Church at 509 Tate Street.

“If you want to support the food pantry, drop off nonperishable food items in the blue boxes around campus,” said Greensboro College Chaplain Robert Brewer

The pantry is open year-round for students and faculty of Greensboro College and UNCG who are dealing with food insecurity.

by George Knight

COVID-19 and the classroom

It is a bleak reality that COVID-19 has taken a toll on society as we know it. With changes in our everyday lives such as masks, how we shop for groceries and even how we go to work. But with all of these changes, how are children managing to continue their education and social development through a pandemic?
Steven Davis, a 22-year-old k-12 education major and Greensboro College student, has been teaching the Northwest Guilford High School jazz, concert and marching band and has also been observing how COVID-19 has affected the school system.

“The aspect being most affected is definitely teacher and student morale,” Davis said. “Teachers are asked to teach in person and online simultaneously. The teachers are juggling lesson plans and instructional strategies for three groups of students, and the students are exhausted from adapting to constantly changing instructional setup. As they begin to establish their pace for the week, their instructional arrangement inverts due to cohort scheduling.”
Students and teachers alike are being put into a compromising situation while trying to achieve the goal of student success. Due to COVID-19, both teachers and students are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, leading to a decrease in success rates in the virtual and in-person classroom.

Although schools are tak- ing precautions such as masks, one-way stairwells and cohort groups for in-person students, it has become increasingly apparent that trying to be completely COVID-safe is almost impossible. With a mass of stu- dents traveling the same halls, it is not possible to ensure that there is adequate social distancing between students.

Trying to be safe is becoming more and more difficult as things in our community and in our classrooms continue to change. The battle to find balance between prioritizing safety and education is a thin line that the school system walks and continues to try to conquer.

By Ashley Hawkes

Greensboro chosen for federal pilot program of community vaccination centers

On Wednesday March 10, what used to be a Dillard’s department store at the Four Seasons Town Centre in Greensboro opened its doors as a community vaccination center where thousands of people got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Greensboro was strategically chosen by the Biden administration to be a part of the federal pilot program for community vaccination centers. This program comes at great timing as criti- cism was erupting from several N.C. hospital systems. These hospital systems were facing a shortage of vaccines as North Carolina’s weekly vaccine allotment from the Centers for Disease Control was being sent to mass vaccination sites in Charlotte, reducing or eliminating their supply and resulting in thousands of vaccine appointment cancellations. The State Department argued that CDC vaccine allotments had to be moved to mass vaccination centers to speed up vaccinations, but local officials criticized this move arguing it was poorly communicated and inequitable.

Using the Four Seasons mall in Greensboro will help combat this inequity. Greensboro was chosen because of its ability to reach historically mar- ginalized and underserved communities. The federally-supported vaccine center will administer 3,000 doses daily for eight weeks and also support mobile clinics in surrounding areas to help reach more people in marginalized communities. The 3,000 doses come in addition to the CDC vaccines allotted to N.C. health systems. During the first six weeks, the Pfizer vaccine will be given and there are plans for the last two weeks to administer the new single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Appointments are required to receive a vaccine at the Four Seasons center, where people can choose to either walk inside for a vaccine or go through a drive through. If the walk-in clinic is chosen, patients must go through the mall to the old Dillard’s location to check in for their appointment. At the location, members from the Air Force and National Guard guide and run the process. First, one must sign in at the entrance. Then, there is a second checkpoint to confirm the name and date of birth written on the official vaccination card. After everything is confirmed, people are led to an open space with several socially-distanced chairs to receive the vaccine. The entire procedure only takes about 20-30 minutes and after receiving the first dose, an appointment for the second dose is automatically scheduled.

As of March 10, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 18.1 percent of the state has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This number will grow in the next weeks as more vaccines are administered and made available.

Greensboro small business impact

Many small businesses across the country have been impacted by COVID-19 and its effects—even right on Greensboro College’s doorstep. John Hitchcock, owner of Parts Unknown Comics, has operated his store since 1989 on Spring Garden Street, near the intersection with Mendenhall Street, less than a mile from Greensboro College.

“Business has been pretty strong. We have had to change our hours,” Hitchcock said. “Originally, the governor made us close for seven weeks, then when we reopened, I kept people up to date on Facebook. And then when we reopened in May, people came in. Matter of a fact, we’re probably doing good or better than we did before COVID.

“I’m really surprised. So many businesses have closed, but if you really cannot go to a movie, play or sporting events, you can always go and read a book.”

Hitchcock also expressed concern for fellow Greensboro business owners, “My heart goes out to people who run bars.” Hitchcock then talked about the bar next door to his shop “He was closed for seven months and the landlord did not give him a break.”

Hitchcock also brought up the closing of Jack’s Corner, a restaurant at the corner of Josephine Boyd and Spring Garden Streets. Jack’s Corner had been open for roughly 15 years.

“The question is, are there going to be other people who will pick up that mantle and make new places. Now, some of those places cannot be replaced. Locally owned, and landmarks that people are used to. I was lucky,” Hitchcock said.

By George Knight

Furniture market returns to High Point

High Point Furniture Market returned to High Point this month, attracting professionals and celebrities alike to the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World.”

First held in 1909, the biannual event is the largest home furnishings showcase in the world, covering around a square kilometer and approximately 180 buildings, featuring around 2,000 exhibitors. The event takes place once in April and again in October. The High Point Furniture Market is not open to the public, and serves as a way for members of the trade to get a peek at the next big things in interior design.

People gather from all over the world for the furniture showcase, generating a great deal of business for High Point. As showcase viewers travel to the city, restaurants and hotels benefit from the tourism. According to a 2013 study by Duke University, the market contributes about 5.4 billion dollars a year to the economy of the area. Because of High Point’s ability to bring in so many different people from numerous places despite its size, it has been labeled as a “niche city,” or a city that creates a global centrality by stimulating a certain part of the economy globally. By hosting the world’s largest furniture showcase, High Point is essentially the furniture capital of the world and heavily stimulates the economy of the furniture business.

Former Collegian co-editor, Adelaide Elliott, is now a journalist working with home furnishings publications Furniture Today, Casual Living and Designers Today. She creates written content for print for these publications daily, while maintaining their websites and social media, creating video content and travelling to trade shows, including High Point Market.

“Attending market is just my regular job on steroids,” Elliott always tells people. “Instead of just emailing contacts, making phone calls, writing stories in our office and seeing pictures online like we would most often do on the average day, members of the press spend markets writing while running back and forth between manufacturer showrooms meeting with as many people and seeing as much product as possible over just a few days.”

High Point Furniture Market is used to names like Martha Stewart and Paula Deen attending, and the presence of celebrities cements the magnetic nature of how the market brings in people from all over. Actress Diane Keaton of “Annie Hall” and “Marvin’s Room” fame was seen at the High Point Furniture Market this month. Interior designer and “Queer Eye” personality Bobby Berk was also present, as well as several other popular designers. The market continues to be an event that puts High Point on the economic map.

Former Collegian editor Adelaide Elliott (far right) stands with “Queer Eye” star Boby Berk (middle) and Casual Living colleague Alex Milstein. Photo Courtesy of Adelaide Elliott.

By Amos “Z-train” Brady

Video game store celebrates eight years

A hidden gem of a small business lies at 1701 Spring Garden St. While you will not need a strategy guide to get there, you could certainly pick one up when you visit. Lost Ark Video Games opened its doors Aug. 27, 2011, and is cel- ebrating eight years of business this month. Not just your run-of-the-mill gaming store, Lost Ark sells retro and modern games and has a flat rate admission arcade full of imported Japanese cabinets loaded with hours’ worth of games to play.

Daniel McMillan, owner and founder of the store, was working on a Ph.D. in English literature at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) when he decided to step away from academics in pursuit of his passion.

“Academia became very tiresome for me,” McMillan said. “When I decided to step away, I started working at McKay’s and sort of dipped my toes in the video game market. I had been collecting arcade equipment and inventory for some time and when I saw there was interest and room for a game store in the market, I decided to take the jump.”

McMillan recalled an early interest in gaming and Japanese media.

“I was born in 1979. My first console was an Atari 2600 and the early Nintendo era was huge for me, as well as anime,” he said. “It was surreal and dark and was very much everything American animation was not at the time. It was hard to get a hold of, but it was worth it.”

Lost Ark Video Games is in a strategic location for its market, as it is only blocks away from Greensboro College and UNCG, but that is not to say that the shop’s main audience is entirely young adults and college students.

I moved here for UNCG,” McMillan stated, “but our audience is varied among all sorts of demographics.” Collecting has become popular as retro games become older, and many gamers seek preservation of those old titles that are becoming harder and harder to come by.

Lost Ark is unique in its ability to provide gamers of all ages old and new experiences, and the community aspect of a local arcade is attractive to many gamers.

When asked about the future of the store, McMillan only had a few words.

“Who can say? I think we provide something unique to the community, and we strive to continue to do that.”

During September, wearing a Lost Ark Video Games T-shirt to the store got you free arcade admission. With charismatic and kind staff, a great arcade and a swath of great consoles and games, Lost Ark has a bright future ahead of it.

Arcade goers enjoying classic fighting games.

By Amos “Z-Train” Brady

Greensboro Pride returns downtown

Greensboro Pride returned to Downtown Greensboro this month, and brought a day of acceptance, love and fun. Those in attendance were from all walks of life, including those a part of the LGBTQ+ community and not. Greensboro Pride celebrates lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) people, as well as their allies, the many people, organizations, businesses and groups that support them.

Vendors of all types lined South Elm Street.

“Equality NC is the oldest LGBTQ [foundation] in the nation and just celebrated their 40th anniversary on Sept. 14,” said Sterling Bentley of the Equality NC Foundation, one such booth.

Equality NC is dedicated to securing rights and protections for the LGBTQ community.

The ladies of Moms Demand Action, a group of moms against gun violence, were also in attendance. While their focus is gun control, they also held up signs that said “Free Mom Hugs” specifically for members of the LGBTQ community who were not accepted by their parents.

According to Greensboro resident and Pride attendee Kayla Cruse, Pride is a way of uniting people of all creeds while allowing individuals to freely express their true selves, even in the South where the atmosphere can be less inclusive.

“I’ve gone back home [to] Chicago’s Pride and it’s such a huge beautiful thing and I just wanted to come down to Greensboro and compare the atmosphere of how pride is in the South,” Cruse said on what brought her to Greensboro Pride. “It’s a little bit more conservative here but [laughs] everyone here is friendly and beautiful.

“Sometimes in the South you don’t expect so many people to be proud of who they are. Down here so it’s just wonderful to see everyone come together and show out. It’s just an amazing atmosphere. I love it!”

By Sarah Justice and Jackie Treadway