WindwalkerThe vision has never been the problem. It was the path that Richard Turbin couldn’t quite find. That’s all changing as a cast of creators has come together to illuminate a trail that is slowly bringing Turbin’s 24-year dream to life.
These artists, each with unique ability and strengths, have developed a community at Windwalker Underground Gallery and are providing the structure and focus to open that community up to the public.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to see the vision I started out with becoming a reality,” Richard said. “To know that a group of people have bought into the same concept, that it’s not just Rick and I doing this alone, is incredible.”
The transformation from antique shop to art gallery to a creative community space has been an arduous one. Turbin has never been shy about his intentions, but the slow pace in which the transformation has moved to this point, may have made the community skeptical.
That too, however, is starting to change.
“We want the community to be aware and involved,” Richard said. “Things have transcended over the years.”
“It’s an infinite evolution taking place here,” added Rick Turbin, Richard’s son and resident artist.
Windwalker Underground Gallery officially became a 501(c)3 non-profit at the end of 2015. Its board of directors is currently putting together the vision for the venue that is dedicated to provide a place for artists to create, live, exhibit, perform and sell their work. Windwalker is also meant to provide a venue for community collaboration and networking opportunities.
“We’re just starting to establish the foundation of what that really looks like here,” said Kalli Dempsey, secretary of the Windwalker Board of Directors. “There’s been a lot of work trying to narrow that focus down.”
The venue is starting to gain local attention through its weekly open mic nights, which are held Fridays from 7 to 10 p.m. The stage that resides in the main room on the first floor has started to attract local musicians, comedians, and those seeking a venue to create.
The stage is open to anyone who wants to perform. Open mic night at Windwalker is symbolic of Turbin’s policy — an open door to the community.
“All you have to do is walk through the front door,” Richard said. “It’s very rewarding seeing people use the space to create and enjoy.”
It’s also been rewarding to see resident artists blossom. Photographer Vincent Brady has garnered national attention for his time-lapse and 360-degree photography. Brady has taken an interest in seeing Windwalker become the open place for expression Richard always dreamed it could be. He has teamed with friend and musician Brandon McCoy and DJ Bryan to make open mic nights a quality production.
Brady and McCoy are also collaborating on a special Kickstarter Kickoff celebration at Windwalker on Friday, Feb. 19, from 6 to 10 p.m. Brady will give a photo lecture at 8 p.m., followed by an acoustic guitar show by McCoy. The Kickstarter campaign is looking to raise $5,500 to help secure equipment for McCoy to record his first CD of acoustic guitar instrumentals.
“Some of these songs I’ve been working on and playing since I picked up a guitar,” McCoy said. “I’m literally giving this everything I’ve got.”
A portion of the money raised through the Kickstarter campaign will go towards the purchase of a custom-made Rich Tone guitar, made locally by luthier Richard Butman. McCoy also has to secure more recording equipment to produce what he says will be a 10 to 13 song CD.
“Having the tools and the space for something like this is exactly why the non-profit was created,” Dempsey said. “We are able to host events like this that can support an artist in their dream. We want to get the community excited about local talent, so that someone else can come along and do the same thing.”
Windwalker Underground Gallery is located at 125 S. Cochran Avenue in downtown Charlotte. For more information or to check out past open mic night performances, visit