Blog

To Be Healed

Our petite art gallery is blessed to call Uptown home. 

We pride ourselves as a splash of creativity in a part of Charlotte known for pristine, bustling streets and shiny windows. But, Sozo is more than that. 

During our three years in Uptown, we've learned to seek and strive to do more than selling 'great art'. 

We are community. We are relationships. We are love. 

That's the Uptown we call home and this is the Uptown compassion we will continue to perpetuate...

Healing Water, 24x24, Wan Marsh

Healing Water, 24x24, Wan Marsh

Gracie, Hillary and I have grown so much from our friendships with many of our fellow small business owners, homeless neighbors, CEO executives, janitors, bank managers, servers, hotel managers, and chefs -- all of different races, ethnicities, and religions. 

All of us are hurting to see our beautiful city in this turmoil. 

We are firm believers in healing. And, that's our prayer. 

In fact, that's our name. 

Sozo in Greek means to be healed by God. In Japanese, it means artistic and creative. Our petite gallery is not only a haven of creativity, but it is also a haven of healing. 

Sozo = healing.

This healing now must start here, in Uptown.

We are committed to using our gallery, and our relationships, to heal our beautiful city-- to heal our home. We hope you join us.

Be creative. Be healing. Share compassion. Share empathy. Share Love.  

'PollyHannah'

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.

Sufferings

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...

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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"

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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.

Art. 

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.

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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.

Together.

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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. 

Together. 

Conversation Heart

What's that perfect gift that keeps giving? You know it.

Art.

We've got works starting at $70! Local glass art, contemporary oils, works on paper, abstract oil hearts on glass, necklaces and more.

Flowers wilt (even though we love our neighbors at The Blossom Shop). And chocolate goes straight to your booty! So make a small investment and give something that promotes conversation and curiosity and lasts a lifetime.

Speaking of conversation and hearts... our hearts here at Sozo have been broken with the arrest and incarceration of one of our most favorite and loved homeless artist friends. She should have been taken to mental assistance, but instead, because of a misinformed and broken system, she sits and waits in jail - without receiving ANY treatment.

"If you don't like something, change it." Right?

So here we go. I love it when my husband 'comforts' me and says 'Honey this is WAY out of your ball park!' Dude...that is FIRE to my soul when you say that!

And I think he knows it. :)

Sozo loves nothing better than some uptown collaborating and creating. Minus the paint and canvas, we're about to help create some freaking amazing bridges. 

We've got former judges, public defenders, attorneys, doctors, jail liaisons, investors, psychologist and one spunky art gallery owner all coming together this week to create some magic. These folks have big hearts and are offering their time and wisdom and love to start the conversation. Conversations to connect, bridge the gaps, and identify resources. 

Besides selling some unbelievable art at Sozo and representing our 'family' of overly talented artist....we have a big heart. Of course we like connecting and selling you that perfecto piece that sings to your soul and says "TADA" when you enter that room. But we also want you to feel, hear and see our results in uptown. 

White collar plus conversation hearts. Dare me to start off our meeting tomorrow at the courthouse with a game? Nothing better than 'breaking down' some new friends, eh?

Have a heart this Valentine's Day, and try stirring up some conversations of your own.

Or better yet, come check out our art at Sozo and tell us what's on your heart.

Yep, Conversation Hearts by the handfuls. On us!

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I know, I know. Rolling Stones again? It seemed pretty fitting considering Christmas is over and by the looks of our children's faces  I should have blasted that song throughout our house Christmas Day.

Brown (10) wanted some hi-tech smart soccer ball that measures how fast it's spinning and it's trajectory, Charles (13) wanted a Go Pro 4, and Virginia (16) all she wanted was a car. I mean 'Like, EVERYONE else gets a car when they turn 16!' Right? Just to clear it all up…Santa brought none of the above. 

I remind them of one of my favorite quotes by Pablo Picasso. "One of the greatest things in life is to find your true GIFT. The purpose of life is to give it away." They roll their eyes and insinuate I've been doing too much yoga and overdoing it with the kombucha consumption. 

All I wanted for Christmas was a hormonal free home with no fighting and everyone to stay out of Mom and Dad's shower and stop using MY towel, no double dipping in the peanut butter jar, and peace and love and harmony. Right?

… But if you try sometimes, you just might find ... you get what you NEED. 

We at Sozo got to enjoy the beauty of the season uptown (not downtown) in Charlotte. Besides 'making the sale' and breathing a sigh that we can still pay a steady salary to our new gallery coordinator, Annemarie Weekley, we got to see and experience some fabulous things uptown and 'got exactly what we needed'. 

We gained new friends-ones that bought and ones that couldn't quite yet. We connected more with our uptown executives, restaurant owners and managers, hotels, and builders. The wait staff and chefs give us the royal treatment when we dine with them.  But even better, we know our security officers and janitors by name. We've purchased hot meals for homeless friends and 'bought art' so they could buy a bus ticket. Our reception bartender is now like our sister and she has a testimony that will blow you away. We've helped start Grier's Gallery at Hemby Children's Hospital and Blume clinic and have seen firsthand the effects of art therapy on children and how creating helps with their suffering. 

We are representing some of the finest and most soulful artist in the US and Canada and have made some tremendous connections all over the world. Nope, I haven't paid off college for our three and still haven't remodeled our 1950's bathrooms, and Annemarie isn't buying her first home yet, however in 2014 we got what 'we need'. 

New friendships, relationships, Gary's gold tooth smile, encouragement, tears of joy, catching a glimpse of a child's toothless grin while creating art after receiving their 14th round of chemo, uptown breezes, and Port City Java's unsweetened apricot iced tea. 

Sure, I'd love to buy our sweet 16 a new car and pay in cash! But, working hard gives us exactly what we need. 

Experiences. LIfe. Messy homes. Too many take out meals. Relationships.

And some pretty good damn art.

Grateful and excited for what 2015 brings and hoping we all 'GET WHAT WE NEED'. 

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.

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.org. 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.