Let me introduce you.

For those who don't know about her....Pollyanna is a best-selling classic novel from 1913 about a young girl with a sunny personality and robust optimism. Pollyanna is an orphan child who goes to live with Aunt Polly. Unfortunately, Aunt Polly is too concerned with appearances, propriety, and local politics to appreciate her effervescent niece and her ideas. 

This story is much deeper and profound than 'that', so maybe you should pick up a copy or share/read it with your children. (she too, was even paralyzed and had to learn to re walk again)

Pollyanna created a 'gladness game'. (fast forward 100 years...think 'The Power Of Positive Thinking', etc...) 

I think some of us in Charlotte, or the state of NC, or even our country should be required to play at least 15 minutes a day. Just like your cross fit, or yoga, or running fix. Or your vodka tonic. 

Have a glad fix. Change your outlook. Change your perspective.

At Sozo we want to spice up our community and outlook on art. It's not about looking out for numero uno. It's about us. Community. Teamwork. We're pulling out our finest Pollyanna attitudes and playing the gladness game with our uptown art community.

Urban Mystique 60x36 Curt Butler

Urban Mystique 60x36 Curt Butler

Debbie downers and spinster Aunt Pollys you are invited too. 

Along with a great team including Charlotte Center City Partners, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum Gift Shop, Levine Museum of New South, McColl Center, UNCC Center City Gallery, Goodyear Artists, New Gallery of Modern Art and Sozo we're introducing to Charlotte the Uptown Crawl. 4th Thursday of every month. 6-9pm. Explore many different cultural venues uptown.  

It's time for our uptown art community to shine.

Pollyanna style.

Something In The Water

Hello heat wave! Here at Sozo we’re hoping you and your family have been able to escape the summer heat and enjoy the serene beauty and rest of our local mountains and beaches. Camps. Beach time. Restorative summertime rest. 

Recently our family packed up and sold our lake home that has been in our family for over 53 years. That was my childhood ‘camp’. Swimming, skiing, boating, sailing (or capsizing), family BBQs, and the whispers at night of whip-or-whils and bull frogs. No cell phones, no internet. Just friends, family and nature. 

And the water. 

Written In The Water, Windy O'Connor

Written In The Water, Windy O'Connor

There is truly something in the water there. We've experienced something deeper and more powerful than the regular Sunday church ‘by boat’ and ‘river' baptisms we’d witness, or catfish the size of your smallest child, or the occasional stumps you avoid when skiing.

Truly something in the water. 

Reflective peace. Strength.

Sozo is thrilled to announce the solo exhibition of friend and artist Windy O'Connor. Windy and I go ‘way back’. Church friends, raising children the same age, lake trips, beach trips, laughs, introducing and selling her artworks through the Carolina Art Soiree for GBS/CIDP | Facebook (and my hubs thinks she looks and sings like Carrie Underwood and in my opinion her legs come in pretty darn close too) 

Come join us Friday August 12th and see Windy's newest art inspired by water. We’ll help you find the perfect piece to reflect on your happy place. Every time you study Windy's work you’ll discover a connection to stillness and internal peace. 

 Find it daily through your art. Reflective peace through your home surroundings. 

“Live every day, give it all that I have. Trust in someone bigger than me. There must be something in the water."

Drink it up.

Photographer: Ari Clare

Photographer: Ari Clare

Too Subtle for Words

Pain is a pesky part of being human, I’ve learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can’t be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.
— C. JoyBell C.

There have been so many unexplained tragedies and horrific deaths recently in our country. Our hearts at Sozo hurt and pray for all the families and communities that are heart broken and questioning. This week's show couldn't have be more 'timely'. We will be showing the works of BJ Weeks. BJ has suffered and is coming out on the other side via her faith journey and through her art. Her bountiful colors and elegant brushstrokes will pull you in...asking for more. When I study her art I feel music (and a cold glass of Pinot Grigio). 

Art won't erase our pain but it's been proven to offer comfort and open up space for conversation.

Please join us for a lunch and lecture featuring BJ and Dr. Dianne Collard. Dianne chose to forgive the unforgivable, the unthinkable. I Choose to Forgive: An Intimate Journey with God: Dianne B. Collard ... 

Art rescued her...and gave her soul a big shake up. You'll never 'see' abstract art the same again.

Join us either Thursday June 23rd 12-1 and/or June 24th 6-830pm.

The summer winds will escort you in to Sozo and of course you'll find the Pinot chilled. We're always open to hearing your stories of suffering, of loss and how art has helped you heal. 

Breathing Space

It's been a while since we've blogged, but yesterday's installation was such a pivotal moment for me personally.  Blog worthy indeed. 

Breathing Space is a dual artist show of Scott Gardner and Laura McCarthy's works.

Scott's work is from The Finding Silence Project , focusing on the significant importance of silence, and prayer and meditation.  Scott and I have a beautiful love story. True brotherly/sisterly love. It's beyond coincidental that he was brought into my life shortly after my father died...through Johnna Smith - Charlotte, my beautiful yoga mentor and teacher. More than his sheepish humble blue eyes, the fingers that twist the back of his hair when he's 'thinking', and his scruffy beard...I'm in awe of the layers of soulful giving and thoughtfulness Scott has taught me through his lens, his creativity...his heart. 

Thu Nanda Theit Hti, 16x24, Scott Gardner

Thu Nanda Theit Hti, 16x24, Scott Gardner

Laura, is the founder of and artist. Yesterday, she explained my most favorite painting. Possibly ever.

Stories. They are magic that Sozo wants to see by connecting your heart to the actual work.  Scenes From The Land of Yomi is about a Japanese narrative and was passionately produced after Laura lost her father. Grief. Alchemy. The stirring of emotions. This triptych creation is an internal landscape of her heart. Or yours. Or mine. 

And ohhh yes, I cried through the installation yesterday. (with Laura) 

Scenes from the Land of Yomi, Triptych, Laura McCarthy 

Scenes from the Land of Yomi, Triptych, Laura McCarthy 

You'll notice the vertical movements of the tar and paint representing the heartbeat....and then the slow and steady decline...and then a peaceful passing. Into Death. A transformational experience silenced with shimmers of gold. One last breath.

And quiet. Peace. 

And silence. 

Join us Friday May 20th 6-830 to hear more about Scott and Laura's works.

Join me in slowing down and catching our peace, our breath. 

I just threw up the white flag to crazy Maycember and booked a room in Charleston. Tonight. Solo. Going to gather some peace and quiet and reflective rest. 

We can't wait to hear your interpretations and personal stories when you view this show. 


No, I'm not referring to missing your yoga for 3 days in a row, or your daily Starbucks, or even losing out on a huge business deal. I don't want to bring us all 'down' with this post...but sufferings exist amongst all of us and they don't come easy.

At all.

They sting and force you to have that 'I'm so tired of sobbing and dizzy feeling that I may throw up at any moment' feeling. One of my favorite scriptures from Corinthians, reminds us that when we suffer and endure hardships, we are better equipped to encourage and support others through their hardships. So if we don't let that grief and those hurtful times swallow us up or push us into a dark corner...then we march on.  And we slap on a bandaid (with hot meals delivered by good friends for weeks), and cry big tears and wipe off snot (into the armpits of tremendous friends and neighbors), we learn who our real supporters are, we deepen our hope, and we heal. 

We heal. And we support. And the cycle continues.

So here 'we' go...


Meet Madison Licare. Madison is one of Myers Park High School's best and brightest artist they've seen in a very long time. Madison is inspired by the Renaissance and Dada periods and aspires to be one of best selling artist in our country. Take my word for it. She is beyond bravo, and yes sweet Madison has suffered. 

Her mother became pregnant with Madison when she was a high school student, and unfortunately abandoned Madison. Her mother suffers from schizophrenia. Her father abandoned Madison as well. Madison's grandmother has raised her, but not without difficulty. Guidance counselors have had to enter the home and plead to city officials in order to have water/heat turned back on.

She's petite, soft spoken, and timid in nature.. .but once you discuss art... her dark brown eyes beam fire and she quickly chimes in on the imagination and force that nature and art has brought to her life. This child has suffered beyond what most of us could comprehend, and she has magnificent artistic talent and true composition. She lacks a small amount of money and has been accepted into one of our countries most prestigious art schools, Pratt Institute in New York City. 

Please join us on Thursday, June 4th from 530-830pm. Meet Madison, see her work and be a bigger part of her dream. See her passion and her hope in those big beautiful brown eyes. 100% of Madison's sales will go directly to her college fund. A percentage of Sozo's sales will support Madison's college fund as well. 

And lastly, I'd like to dedicate this post to my loving Daddy. He suffered. I suffered watching him. And God knows how my heart hurts. But we heal...and we continue the cycle. Thank you all for your comfort and support these past two weeks.  He truly lived out his favorite scripture... a man who 'acted justly, loved and promoted mercy and kindness, and walked humbly with our God' (Micah 6:8) 

 Let's surround this incredibly talented young artist with our support and help her fund her dreams.  Come spread your mercy, your love and your kindness. 

If you are unable to attend but would like to donate toward Madison’s education, you may do so at this link to the MPHS Foundation - Please earmark your donation for Madison Licare.   Donate via PayPal or google “MPHS Foundation" and click on "CONTRIBUTE"


We'll Figure it Out

Parked, waiting by the train tracks in a field for my friend and her dog. I wait. I breathe my deep yoga breaths and I pray. Some call it Dharma. I call it Jesus and Yoga. It's basically connecting and compassion. (the root of dharma)

I see her figure in the distance, hobbling along with her two walking canes and her sidekick and trusty dog companion. My mouth curls up into a smile and I exhale some relief. She's safe. She's here, and today we get to just be and enjoy our passion together.


We got our own private tour of Matisse's works at  The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. She's 5'5, thin and in her oversized plaid shirt, dirty apron, scarf and hat-- her hands covered in old paint and she carries the aroma of earth. Me- 5'8 and curvy, dressed 'down' for comfort, palpating heart, anxious and hopeful that today we'll laugh some more, learn together and most importantly build trust.


We studied Matisse's works, enamored with the love he had (like my friend has) with poetry, read poetry, and savored his use of figures and introduction of modernism to our world.

He created most of these works from his later years in his wheelchair. I noticed the tilt in her head and how her eyes light up when we discover this. This was a period of intense suffering for Matisse. His artistic cut-outs were created while confined to a bed or wheelchair, hiring assistants to help him and using a long stick to draw and point. Despite the physical agony Matisse endured during the works' creation, they appear as boundless and carefree as freed animals in a colorful field.  

Tears filled my eyes and my stomach had that heart wrenching gut pang. I cannot even explain the deep correlation here. If you don't get it, please repeat college Psych 101. 

After she selected a book on Matisse's art, I bought it and told her we'll share it and study more of his works and his figures.



Trust and friendship.  I'm sure we'll figure it out.  

While we're on the topic of FIGURES. New York City's claim to fame, Inslee Fariss' figurative drawings are on display starting March 27th. Bold figures with brilliant bright ink designs. Elegantly full of heart and emotion. Please join us and meet our darling new artist Inslee at her artist reception on Friday, March 27th from 530-830. These figures will fly out the door.

No doubt Henri himself would have been impressed with Inslee's figures.

I'm also betting money he would have joined our laughter and conversations today at the museum while reviewing his works and would have been the type of artist to roll up alongside my artist friend and relate. And paint. 


Gift Giving

Christmas morning circa 1975. Santa delivered a 3 story barbie dream house, WITH an elevator. Hands down the BEST.GIFT.EVER.  

My bff and next door neighbor Abby and I would spend countless hours playing with that dream house.  As we grew up we moved on to performing 'live' shows on our swing sets for the entire neighborhood (and yes we sold tickets), Wonder Woman, Lost In Space in our tree fort, and then acting out Charlie's Angels (while we fought over 'The Six Million Dollar Man'). Sweet childhood memories. ...and why ask?! Of course I always got to be Farrah! We waded through the streams in our hood (and found a missing 2 year old boy/that's another blog) rode bikes uptown without helmets, and spied on neighbors.

Abby and I spent hours in the kitchen making magic healing potions of oil, flour, salt, and sugar for our friend Bozi (our sweet 70-something year old neighbor) who was dying of cancer and actually allowed us to spread magic 'potions' on his skin.

We wanted to heal him. And we believed we could.

Sozo's heart was stirred up a bit this fall (I like to claim the Holy Spirit) and decided to move forward with an idea and do a little gift gifting ourselves. 10% of all our sales this month will go to Cookies For Kids Cancer where 100% of funds go to research in finding cures for pediatric cancers. 

Carmella Jarvi is an outstanding fine art glass artist and former art teacher who has been working incredibly hard on her masterpieces. You won't find glass with outstanding colorful layers and detail anywhere else in NC. She's even prepped some works with extra orange layers honoring our special friend Grier Christenbury and CFKC.

Carmella Jarvi fine art glass details

Carmella Jarvi fine art glass details

We don't have magic potions for sale or salves that claim to cure cancer, but we have created something (along with one of our new favorite peoples Trish Rohr and Rohr Rockstars) that we are incredibly proud of. Through faith, visions and a little yoga we're creating grier's gallery at and grier's gallery artist residence program at  Blume Pediatric Hematology & Oncology and at Hemby Presbyterian Children's Hospital.  We want to remember our hero Grier Christenbury, his love of art, and keep his ongoing legacy and spirit alive through this gallery. The awareness of pediatric cancer that he and his family have brought to Charlotte and the Carolinas is unfathomable.

So do come out on Friday, November 14th from 530-830 and find inspiration through this fine art glass made right here in Charlotte.  Help support these programs, do a little Christmas shopping and give one of the best gifts that keeps giving and giving.

Healing art. (no salves needed)

Controlled Chaos

Today I cried in a cycle class and I couldn’t stop. I know, right? Not during a movie or a massage or savasana … but a high energy cycle class. A Jay Z remix is blasting and I'm sobbing. The huffing man beside me was probably like ‘it’s okay lady - you can turn down the torq … '

It started when my friend Jenny saw me walk in and asked, "are you okay?" That’s all it took. You know that feeling - your throat gets all tight and eyes swell with tears. I’m so thankful to have friends that know me so well … and just by peering into my eyes.

I know I’m not alone. This seems to happen about every mid-August to many mamas I know. Or who knows maybe we can blame it on the Supermoon or menopause?

Regardless, most of us are overloaded and overcommitted with back to classroom shopping, sending kids off to college for the first time, forms, physicals, school sign ups, football games, soccer games, carpool arrangements, committee commitments, "will you be a sunday school teacher?" And the list goes on.

On top of which, I'm watching my Daddy die a slow death thanks to alzheimers, a Mother in pain who’s ‘lost’ her husband of 61 years, a sister who has drifted away from me, a daughter learning to drive, boys that freely ‘fight’ and wrestle on the floor fighting over the remote and an art gallery that is taking off bigger than I ever dreamed.

I encourage all of you to surround yourself with those who lift you up - your yoga community, Red Hots Tennis team, bible study, prayer group, book club. Make a point to connect with those who will comfort you or call you out when needed.

When life is messy I remind myself to keep my eyes on the one who created me and my heart open to His plans for me. It’s the only place I’ve found that offers refueling when I’ve got nothing left in my tank. Oh, and of course … my realist rockstar husband who knows how to listen with his heart - and embrace me with his ‘I’ll protect you forever hug,' or even wipe the snot from my face. 

Controlled Chaos. That’s my target.

So with the chaotic end of the summer schedule, I’d like you to highlight stopping by for Claire Desjardins’ reception on Saturday, September 20th. Come meet her! Her bright, soothing colors will engage you and unfold an effervescent energy. And yes, she is ‘THE’ Anthropologie designer you’ve been hearing all about.

If you don’t see any art finds that soothe your soul, I'll meet you at Flywheel. Back right row. Bike #43 and #44.

I'll bring the hugs and tissues. 

Wine Club? Don’t even think about asking me to join.

Go Big or Go Home

For the last two weeks I served as one of the Camp Seafarer nurses and it was a beautiful escape. While boating on the Neuse River (on our time off) with friends we were discussing all the 'dirt on life'-one being how important it is at a summer camp (or anywhere in life honestly) to show up BIG. Whether it's screaming/singing 'Let It Go' at the top of your lungs, assisting in an emergency call to the lake, consoling a homesick child or evacuating 600 plus children for Hurricane Arthur (that's another blog) then for crying out loud- SHOW UP BIG!

Show up smiling. Put your best foot forward. Stop complaining. Bring it. It's contagious.

All duds need not apply.

Sozo's next brightest star is the incredibly talented Taylor Thomas. Taylor is our featured local artist until the end of August. 

This chick is no dud.

She is showing up with abstracts created with big brushstrokes, big color and an unveiling story behind each amazing work. When Taylor describes her creative process you will capture a glimpse of her grace, humility and her devotion of showing up 100% while still humbly crediting others for her talented gifts.

'Courage' by Taylor Thomas

'Courage' by Taylor Thomas

This gal has passion, purpose and is stepping out with some bold courage. Taylor's not settling.  

She has shown up big people. Taylor has arrived. And she's not going anywhere. (but up)

Laughter - world's best medicine

Everyone needs a friend that makes you laugh so hard you spew wine out your nose or have to cross your legs and pray your not going to pee in your pants. That's Melissa for me.

Tennis brought us together and I can't imagine my life without her.

We're down a set 4-3 on the tennis courts and losing to a woman easily 100 pounds overweight and has a knee brace and a limp. Melissa smirks to me 'They are laughing at you!' She knows how to make you laugh and how to 'light your fire'.

Imagine a white Madea. That's Melissa.

She doesn't even need to be drinking to come up with this stuff.

Melissa had an irregular heartbeat for 13 years and recently had to have a cardiac pacemaker placed. She had 2 uncles pass away at a young age from heart conditions. Cardiac specialist recommended the pacemaker for preventive measures and because of Melissa's recent EKG changes.  

Melissa is educated. Melissa has 'connections'. Melissa knows how to advocate for herself. Melissa has a supportive sister and husband that won't take 'no' for an answer. Melissa is fortunate. She has this effervescent energy and love that I want to keep around forever. 

This month Sozo is giving back a percentage of sales to a local non-profit Heartbright provides education for the community in healthy lifestyles and funds preventive cardiology programs in economically disadvantaged communities. We want to support this local foundation for those unlike Melissa, who don't have support/transportation/education and resources.

Join us on Thursday, May 29th 530-8. Bonterra is providing food and wine.

I'm thinking I should sell tickets just to let you have conversation with Melissa.

Kegels recommended.

Emotional Rescue

Emotional Rescue.

Song gets me moving every time. 

How in God's name do Mick's toothpick legs move that way? And who are those delirious women that think he's so hot. Seriously?

Rolling Stones. 1989. Yep, we saw them live in Jacksonville, Flordia with a car full. Sleeping bags, Doritos, fat free fig newtons, brown bags from the Piggly Wiggly on Meeting street, my boyfriend, roommates, laughing sorority sisters, and a few extras. Those were 'the days'. Ahhh.

Not better my dear hubs, just fun. Carefree.

This spring we'll have 8 incredibly talented local artist showcase their works at Sozo. Abstracts, children playing on the beach, harbor scenes, trees…. Beautiful colors and texture weaving stories to take you away and serve your imagination. Maybe take you back to carefree days?

On May 8th we'll have our opening of Partners artists at Sozo. One of the local foundations we'll be supporting and giving money back to is Hospice and Palliative Care of Charlotte. Having a father with Alzheimer's, I've seen firsthand support, love, and encouragement that Hospice provides. Their services to families and individuals is invaluable. 

Tears, denial, questioning our own decisions, pain, rescuing our loved ones that are suffering, doubt, anger, and fear.

Emotional Rescue. They are this, and more.

Come join us on Thursday, May 8th at Sozo. 

We might even play some Stones.

Crack The Door and Leave The Light On

For as long as I remember him speaking, our youngest son Brown tells me every single night, "Cwack the door and leave the bathroom light on please." Two nights ago he had a sleep over and after I tucked the boys in he shouted out in his super K-o-o-L 9 year old voice, 'Mooom, crack the door please'…um um…but no leave the light on? 

Yesterday one of my favorite yoga instructors, Jenn Decurtins led me and about 60 other yogis in an awesome class. Our focus was centered around a great read she had just discovered and  that it's okay to be vulnerable and to accept our imperfections. Our intention during those 75 minutes was to forget those imperfections and focus on the light within our hearts and the light that surrounds us.

Yes, know me. I'm going somewhere with this. Chill.

Every single Wednesday at 7:50 am it's my middle school carpool day. I'm entertained while driving 6 hormonal, raging teens to school. We are basically 4 families that live 6 houses apart…actually we are ONE big family. And yes, crazy Mama Hannah has made it the habit of praying at a stoplight. My hope is that when these teens reach adulthood they can remember (even at the stoplights) to pause and be grateful, pray for others in need, or show thanksgiving for all the blessings we are given. Each time I drive I ask the kids what's 'going on' or heavy on their hearts and I pray out loud for each child in the car, and their personal requests of a sick friend, an ill prepared pre-algebra test they are about to take, a cold-hearted teacher, or sometimes even a snotty sibling or friend. Regardless where our prayers lead us, I always always end with...

'and may these children reach out to someone lonely or sad today and let the joy and light that lives in their hearts be reflected today.'

Yep, Runnymede and Sharon Roads. Our light.

In 3 weeks Sozo will introduce a new featured artist, Laura Liberatore Szweda. Her works are all focused on LIGHT. Her inspiration of light has evolved since she's moved to the low country. Laura's works are layers and layers of rich color and texture. Sultry. Elegant. Radiant light. She'll pull you in with different color combinations that soothe your soul. The paintings draw you directly to the light each and every time.

Light represents truth, peace, serenity, calmness, warmth, peace and purity.

Come see Laura's works.

The lights are always on at Sozo.

We'll even leave the door cracked open for you.

It Takes 2 To Tango

Juan Francisco Adaro…Juan Francisco Adaro…Juan Francisco Adaro…..

Drop your southern accent, throw in a little latino flavor, say his name over and over and BAM!….you will instantly fall in love with him. Besides the fact that he's (sort of) tall, dark, crest white teeth and ultra handsome….he's one heck of an artist. Born and raised in Argentina.

He's Sozo's vintage artist with a unique flair of modernism. His works are charismatic with life and big energy. The three dimentional touches are the extra bonus that bring his babies to life. It's like the toy in the box of cracker jacks or the prize in the bottom of the cereal box. (what happened with that?) Wooden wine boxes. Juan Francisco's wife Brooke is a sommelier and has a plethora of them. By carving the boxes with just the right curves and touches, Juan Francisco magically adds these to his canvases and TADA! the works come to life!

To top that- he's adopted a mantra that he sings while he paints. Even better, (settle down ladies) it's an Argentina tango love song. Poorly translated into english it's basically….

'First you suffer, then here you learn to truly love, next you learn how to let go, and finally you can just 'be'.' (and yes, I shared this in a yoga class I taught)

Most of his works have these soulful words around the edges written in his fluid spanish handwriting. You can truly feel his paintings and each one tells a different story.

Wooden boxes bringing canvases to life. Ying and Yang. Peanut butter and jelly.

Art collectors, REJOICE!

Tango anyone?

Juan Francisco Adaro: Dec 4 - Feb 28

Opening Reception: December 12, 2013

  • cider + cookies: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
  • wine + cheese: 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Exhibition continues through February 28, 2014.

Juan Francisco Adaro is an Argentina-born painter living in Florida.  We are thrilled to exhibit his multi-media works in Charlotte.  Please join us for one of our opening reception gatherings! 

Learn more about Adaro here.
Find and share this event via Facebook here.

Robert Langford: Oct 17 - Nov 27, 2013

Opening Reception: October 17, 2013, 5:30-9:00 pm
Exhibition continues through November 27, 2013

We are thrilled to open Sozo with the work of one of our favorite artists, Robert Langford. Langford works from a studio in Charlotte's Southpark area and is works hang in many public and private collections.  He has exhibited his contemporary works at Red Dot Art Fair in New York (during Armory Art Week) and in Miami (during Art Basel) , as well as in numerous solo and group shows throughout the country.