'Community Chords' is a juried group exhibition coming to SECCA's Community Gallery, July 10 through September 5.

SECCA is seeking artist submissions to participate in Community Chords, a juried group exhibition inspired by the work of Freeman Vines, a NC–based artist, luthier, and one-time blues musician who makes contemporary art sculptures and guitars. 

SECCA's Community Gallery connects community-based organizations with working artists. SECCA is hosting the traveling exhibition Hanging Tree Guitars in its Main Gallery from June 10 – September 12, 2021.

Entry Fee: None

Important Dates

  • Exhibition Dates: July 10th - Sept 5th
  • Entry Deadline for digital submission: Sunday June 20th, 2021
  • Acceptance Notification: On or before June 22nd
  • Deadline for delivery of accepted work: July 2nd
  • Opening Reception: Saturday, July 10th, 1p – 4p
  • Pick up artwork: Monday, September 6th – Friday, September 10th
  • Staff Operating Hours: Mon - Fri 10a – 5p


This exhibition is open to artists inspired by Freeman Vines and working in any media. Any artist from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia, and Virginia may apply. All artists must be residents of these states from at least the time of application until the closing of the exhibition and return of artwork. Artists can be any age. Artists may submit up to 2 works for consideration. All work must be original and completed within the past 3 years. All pieces must fit through a standard sized door. Work must be available for the entire exhibition. Video or multimedia entries are accepted, but special equipment must be provided. Work must be "ready to hang" or will not be eligible.

Drop off and pick up:

– Accepted work must be hand delivered during museum hours or received by June 25th. All accepted work must be labeled with title and artist at time of delivery.

– Shipped work must include a prepaid mailing label for return. If shipped, the work must be received by June 25th.

– All artwork should have installation directions (if required).

– Work that is shipped will be sent back starting September 10th.

SECCA is not responsible for the shipping of any artwork.

Jurors for Community Chords:

Ashley Johnson: Writer and multidisciplinary creative entrepreneur living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Johnson uses mixed media via photography, textile, live floral, and woven and braided masks to navigate intra-racial conflict, identity evolution, Southern woman and girlhood, and studies of relative time as it relates to African-American/feminine beauty practice.

Leo Rucker: Winston-Salem, North Carolina artist began his love for art at the early age of 5 yrs old. After receiving many awards in high school, Leo continued his pursuit for art at Rutledge College in commercial art in Winston-Salem, N.C., receiving his degree in 1983 and an outstanding artist award. Leo presently works as the Lead historic interpreter at Old Salem Museum and Gardens at the St. Philip's African Moravian Heritage site.

Sherri Esquivel-Peterson: Winston-Salem, N.C., native and Navy veteran. She received her BFA from East Carolina University and MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in painting and drawing. Presently she works for the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art as the gallery manager.


– 1St place $200

– 2nd Place $100

– 3rd Place $50

This exhibition will be on display in SECCA's Community gallery, in the lobby of the McChesney Scott Dunn Auditorium on SECCA's campus at 750 Marguerite Drive.

Contact: Sherri Esquivel-Peterson, communitychords21@gmail.com

Entries must be a single PDF that includes the following: 1-2 clear and detailed images of works of art for consideration; checklist with title, date, dimension, media and description, artist name and contact information. PDFs should include a paragraph describing how the artwork was inspired by Freeman Vines.

Questions and completed applications can be emailed to: communitychords21@gmail.com


The Community Gallery connects community-based organizations with working artists. It fosters outreach and access to resources. Each exhibition helps raise and awareness and funds for the organization while providing artists with stipends and/or access to sales revenue.

Community Chords will raise awareness and funds for Music Maker Relief Foundation, organizers of the Hanging Tree Guitars exhibition.

The Music Maker Relief Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs that build knowledge and appreciation of America's musical traditions.


"To meet Freeman Vines is to meet America itself. An artist, a luthier, and a spiritual philosopher, Vines' life is a roadmap of the truths and contradictions of the American South. He remembers the hidden histories of the eastern North Carolina land on which his family has lived since enslavement. For over 50 years, Vines has transformed materials culled from a forgotten landscape in his relentless pursuit of building a guitar capable of producing a singular tone that has haunted his dreams. From tobacco barns, mule troughs, and radio parts, he has created hand-carved guitars, each instrument seasoned down to the grain by the echoes of its past life. In 2015, Vines befriended photographer Timothy Duffy, and the two begin to document the guitars, setting off a mutual outpouring of the creative spirit. But when Vines acquired a mysterious stack of wood from the site of a lynching, Vines and Duffy found themselves each grappling with the spiritual unrest and the psychic toll of racial violence living in the very grain of America." – Zoe Van Buren

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