Winston-Salem is known to be North Carolina’s most happening art scene. The city created the first arts council in the U.S., which is an organization that’s sole purpose is to promote art by funding local artists, awarding prizes, and organizing events. There are dozens of galleries and workshops in the city’s Arts District. The University or North Carolina School of the Arts, Piedmont Opera Theatre, Winston-Salem Theater Alliance, and Twin City Stage are among the many local art schools and attractions in the heart of the city. Winston-Salem is also the birthplace of the Art-o-mat, which is a retired cigarette vending machine that was converted to sell art. These machines are now open to artists in the community. As you can see, this is a pretty colorful city.
If you’re an artist living in downtown or an art collector, you’re probably looking for a safe place to store your art. Winston-Salem has ten storage facilities in which you can rent a unit. However, storing artwork can be a little tricky so we are going to explain to you how it’s done best so you can keep your art safe and intact.
The first thing you should do is find a drive up unit so you’re not carrying art around for long periods of time, making it susceptible to accidents. Next, make sure your unit has climate control. When you’re storing something as delicate as artwork, and given how humid Winston-Salem is, you have to keep the temperature at 70 degrees. This also helps to reduce humidity, but you might want to look for a facility that offers humidity control on top of climate control. Humidity and moisture can cause expansion and contraction of materials, which can lead to yellowing of paper, growth of mold, and fading of colors. You should also make sure you check the pest and rodent control policy that the facility has. Heat and humidity not only breed mold and mildew, but also attract pests, none of which you want around your precious artwork!
Once you have found a unit with these amenities, clean your artwork before you store it. You can use a microfiber cloth to remove any dust, wipe the metal with a little oil to reduce risk of rust, and spray polish on wood to add a layer of protection. Be sure to wrap your artwork in protective coverings so things like bugs can’t get to them. The best way to do this is to wrap it in brown paper, than bubble wrap it, put cardboard corners on all corners of the frame, and place the wrapped artwork in a box. Unframed artwork is a bit easier to take care of because it can be stored in plastic sleeves. Once the art is wrapped and in the box, add cardboard to each side of the painting and fill the box with paper so the piece doesn't move in the box during transportation. Lastly, remember that framed artwork should never be stored flat because it can collapse under its own weight.
After going through all of this, you should definitely get your belongings insured—you can’t put a price on art but something is better than nothing.
Insurance policies vary in coverage, so first talk to a facility manager to see what kind of damage is likely to occur. Some things to consider are: water, debris, accidents, natural disasters, and fires. This way you’ll know what your stuff is up against.
You can’t always rely on homeowners and renters insurance, which generally cover theft and natural disasters, but don’t cover flooding, earthquakes. In Winston-Salem, the biggest threats to your belongings are mold and mildew because of the weather, and theft if you’re storing something valuable, especially rare pieces of art.
If you don’t have renters insurance, don’t stress. Most storage facilities offer insurance or can at least tell you where to get it. However, homeowners and renters insurance does offer better coverage so we would recommend going through them.
Once you have decided where to go for insurance and have gotten a policy, get an inventory of the items you put in storage and take pictures of everything. Write down estimated costs of everything, especially for things like art and antiques. You might want to get these things valued by a professional so it’s not hard to make insurance claims if some unforeseen damage or loss occurs.
Traffic in Winston-Salem is not bad unless there’s an accident, construction going on, or an event, which there aren’t too many of. You can usually drive the speed limit even during rush hour, which is pretty much unheard of.
One of the biggest events, and probably the biggest cause of traffic in the city is the Heavy Rebel Weekender music festival. The festival lasts three days and features 70 bands, tattoo artists, vendors, contests, and a car show. The event takes place on the first weekend of July and is downtown, so traffic increases in the area for the week leading up to the event and the weekend of. If you just pretend that Trade Street in downtown Winston-Salem doesn’t exist for that week, you shouldn’t have any problems.