Richard Turbin’s decades-long dream has finally been captured. You can find it hanging from the atrium inside Windwalker Underground Gallery. Windwalker
The 16-foot dreamcatcher crafted from steel, leather and $10,000 worth of glass donated by internationally renowned artist Craig Mitchell Smith, represents everything Turbin envisioned as he tirelessly worked to establish a haven for creation inside his historic three-story building. For years he dreamed of a community of artists living, creating and inspiring each other in the heart of downtown Charlotte.
The sculpture, Charlotte’s newest public piece, will be unveiled during Windwalker Underground Gallery’s inaugural fundraiser set for Saturday, April 1 beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the gallery, located at 125 S. Cochran Avenue in downtown Charlotte or online at
The sculpture began with a gift and a simple request. Mitchell Smith, who has known Turbin for more than 20 years, had decided to donate several unique glass pieces in hopes they could be transformed into something greater. His only stipulation was that the artists taking up residence at Windwalker had to collaborate on a project utilizing his donation.
“The greatest gift an artist can give another artist is the gift of collaboration,” Mitchell Smith said.
Without any further instruction, the artists at Windwalker were overwhelmed by the idea of creating something worthy of the donation, said Kalli Dempsey, member of the Windwalker Underground Gallery board of directors.
“It took a really long time to come up with a concept,” Dempsey said.
Resident nocturnal photographer Vincent Brady first envisioned a giant jellyfish suspended in the atrium. They had a giant steel circle that could serve as the body and the glass would serve as the tentacles. Playing with the idea using his virtual reality system, Brady found by turning the circle on its side and bending the pieces of steel, it could create a dreamcatcher.
“I put it in the virtual reality machine and lobbied for the idea,” Brady said. “Everyone was on board pretty quick.”
Dempsey said the dreamcatcher fit the building perfectly.
“If you want big dreams, you have to have a big dream catcher,” Mitchell Smith said. “It’s nice to see something I’ve done, turned into something bigger and better.”
Turbin, Dempsey, Brady, Brandon McCoy, Matt Allumi and Tim Miller all collaborated to create the enormous piece.
“Many times working together as artists can be difficult because ego gets in the way,” Mitchell Smith said. “When you’re working together toward a common goal, that ego tends to fall away.”
The unveiling will feature live music by the Tia Imani Hanna Project, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Special VIP tickets include an hour reception with the artist and musicians, beginning at 6 p.m.