Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

What to see: William Christenberry


Chris and I visited Reynolda House in Winston-Salem, N.C., recently.

Although I enjoyed the tour through the house and roaming the grounds, I think I enjoyed the current art exhibit the best.

The Reynolda House Museum of American Art is featuring photos from William Christenberry’s collection.

The exhibit features pictures, snapped between 1961 and 2005, of landscapes, buildings and graveyards from the Deep South. Some of my favorite shots showed abandoned stores or homes grown over with trees and kudzu and rabbits in a wire hutch.

One set of photos displayed the deterioration that one store underwent over a series of years. It was amazing to see how quickly a building left sitting would quickly give way to trees, vines and the weather.

Information on the artist explained that Christenberry annually went to his home state of Alabama, to take photos of various places, usually the same spots.

Although I felt silly, I couldn’t help but let a smile creep up my face and a tear gather in the corner of my eye. There’s just something about old, rural buildings that fill my soul with a feeling of love and home.

I’ve always been fascinated with abandoned, old barns, outhouses and family home places. Besides water, those are some things I really enjoy catching in photos.

There’s something about it that makes me feel a connection to ancestors and a traditional Southern way of life.

The picture with the bunnies stretched out in a long hutch made of chicken wire and wood spoke to me as well.

I think a lot of this deep connection comes from memories of my grandparents’ mini farm, as I like to call it. They raise chickens, turkeys, ducks and goats. At one time they used to also have peacocks, quail, doves and pigeons and rabbits.

Around their property is several wooden shelters with chicken wire to hold in all the fowl and there are also rabbit hutches that once held several gray rabbits. I guess that’s where I gained my love for old home places and wooden structures.

The exhibit will be at the Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing Gallery of Reynolda House Museum of American Art through June 27.

From the Blue Ridge Parkway, head south of U.. 52 from Milepost 199.5 in Fancy Gap. Follow U.S. 52 to Winston-Salem and take Exit 114/Gemanton Road. Turn right and turn right onto Polo Road. Then turn left onto Reynolda Road. See the directions here.

From the east or west, take I-40 to Winston-Salem and take the Silas Creek Parkway Exit. Turn right onto Reynolda Road. Get directions here.

Know of any businesses, interesting people or places near the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway? If so, post a comment below or send me information for future feature possibilities.

2 thoughts on “What to see: William Christenberry

  1. So glad you enjoyed the exhibition! Come back March 23 at 5:30 to hear William Christenberry himself talk about the photographs.

    Hope to meet you then!

    Sarah Smith
    Reynolda House

  2. Oh, Sarah! I just checked my schedule and I'll be on vaca with the hubby. We won't be anywhere near Winston on the 23rd. 😦

    I'm pretty disappointed in that. I would have loved to come (and meet you too!).

    Thank you for sharing!