Station Square exhibit to feature local artist


Katrina Parker stands with her art work on Sept 14, 2017, at Braswell Memorial Library.


Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A local artist’s paintings will be featured during an upcoming social event in downtown Rocky Mount.

As part of its grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony, Station Square will host its first ever “Downtown at Station Square Art Exhibit” from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday on South Church Street in downtown Rocky Mount. The event will serve refreshments and craft beer from Hopfly Brewing Co., a start-up brewery located at the Rocky Mount Mills Brewery Incubator.

The art exhibition will showcase paintings by Katrina Parker Williams, a self-taught local artist, whose paintings of 23 downtown Rocky Mount business owners will be unveiled during the open house reception event, said Brent Braddock, co-owner of Station Square. The paintings that will be on display on the first floor of Station Square will also include landscape paintings of Station Square.

Braddock said part of the reinvention of Station Square is that it has renovated and changed the lighting in its 3,000-square-foot hallway in an effort to show off local art work and host local artists to display their work. Braddock added Station Square had been searching for the first artist to display their work in that space and he was able to get connected with Williams.

Previously, Williams has had two exhibitions at Braswell Memorial Libary, showcasing portraits of celebrities and Rocky Mount business owners. She had an exhibition of 40 paintings at the Mims Gallery at N.C. Wesleyan College and won best Rocky Mount Artist in the Maria V. Howard Juried Art Exhibition in 2017 at the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences. 

The paintings will be up for the rest of the month so people can go by and view them if they don’t make the artist reception, Braddock said.

“Katrina is extremely talented and this was her idea and an awesome idea to highlight downtown business owners,” he said. “We feel like this event is a perfect blend because we want to highlight as many downtown businesses and business owners as we redevelop and revitalize downtown Rocky Mount.”

Williams, a graduate from East Carolina University with a master’s degree in English education, was an English instructor at Wilson Community College for 22 years, before having to retire because of a medical condition. Williams was diagnosed with kidney failure in 1997 and currently goes through dialysis treatment. 

Williams said she started painting the portraits of downtown business owners last summer.

“I’m so excited about this opportunity,” she said. “It was so wonderful to go around and do these paintings because it was something they were interested in doing. It was an opportunity for me to have different subjects to paint, and some are a little more challenging than others. This is in my way a way to get the word out about what’s going on in downtown Rocky Mount. I want to be the portrait artist for Rocky Mount, and this event is kind of my debut about that.”

In addition to showcasing local artists, Station Square has partnered with the N.C. Wesleyan College’s Eastern North Carolina Center for Business & Entrepreneurship to launch a shared meeting and conference room space this year for businesses in the community. Braddock said organizations like the Rocky Mount Area Home Builders Association and Triangle Real Estate Investor Association have been using the space for their monthly meetings and Preservation Rocky Mount recently started using the space for their board meetings as well.

Braddock added the new Trax Coffee Bar is halfway done and the expectation is for it to open in mid-April, occupying roughly 900 square feet in Station Square. The owner and operator of the new coffee shop will be Sam Brothers, a retired police lieutenant from Missouri, who runs the Tarboro Coffee House in downtown Tarboro.