Seagrove Potters Helps Put Focus on the Arts

Seagrove Potters Helps Put Focus on the Arts
CBC Serves as Gold Sponsor of United Arts Premiere Fundraising Event

Peggy Fain & Ben Owen III
Event chair Peggy Fain (left) honors Ben Owen III for his dedication to the arts and his willingness to share that passion.

Several CBC’ers got a chance to see art at its finest along with some very fine dining. The Marquee Dinner for the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” fundraiser for United Arts took place on Wednesday, October 18, 2006, at 7pm at the State Capitol Building in downtown Raleigh.

United Arts launched “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” last fall.  Patrons purchase tickets to dinners at some of Wake County’s most impressive private homes.  The key?  A mystery artist attends the event, sharing the secrets of his craft and spending personal time with the guests. 

This year Capitol Broadcasting Company is serving as a Gold Sponsor for the entire event, along with Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

“The arts have helped me learn patience.  I have to wait to see what comes out of the kiln. Being left to the mercy of the fire keeps you humble in what you’re doing.”
–Ben Owen III

The Marquee Dinner kicked off the 2006 “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?”  For the four days after the marquee event, twenty dinners will take place, including approximately 450 guests in the Triangle.  Artists from musician and singer Caitlin Cary to sculptor Thomas Sayre to actress Sharon Lawrence will join guests for an evening celebrating the arts.

Ben Owen III Pottery
Ben Owen III brought some of his work to share.
Cindy & George Habel
CS’ George Habel (right) toasts to the arts with his wife, Cindy.

The Marquee Dinner at the State Capitol featured artist Ben Owen III, a traditional potter from Seagrove, NC.  Owen comes from a long line of potters and first sat down at the wheel at age 8.  He has perfected his craft in learning from his elders and then expanding his knowledge of what he did know at East Carolina University. 

“There are many fine institutions in our state to learn about arts and crafts,” he said.

Owen showed examples of his work and talked about his many influences, drawing a line between the functional pottery of ancient times which developed into art.  He talked about how his grandmother, a schoolteacher, used to bring her students to the Owen studio, teaching them the science of what makes clay, the history of pottery and much more.  So to Owen art affects much more than simply art.

Guests dine in luxury with a lavish meal prepared by Mitchell’s Catering.
CBC Presentation
United Arts Board Chair Sheldon Fox (center) thanks CBC for its Gold Sponsorship. CS’ George Habel (left) & Rhonda Carlile accept the honor.
Ben Owen III
Ben Owen III, the special guest artist for the Marquee Dinner, shares his philosophy of art.

“The kiln needs constant attention; you can’t neglect it,” Owen said of the firing process.  “The same is true for kids learning.”

The dinners give guests the opportunity to see inside the artist, what motivates them, and bring the artists forward.  Dinner guests were lucky enough to get two for the price of one at the Marquee event.  Owen brought another noted Seagrove potter, Fred Johnston, with him to the dinner. Both Owen and Johnston have studios in Seagrove, NC.

“Sometimes mistakes can make a breakthrough.”
–Fred Johnston, on his pottery

United Arts builds better communities through support and advocacy of the arts.  Many people are affected by their work.

“For me the arts are a very important part of why the Triangle is a great place to live,” said United Arts Board Chairman Sheldon Fox.

Rhonda & Ron Carlile
CS’ Rhonda Carlile (left), also a Board Member of United Arts, is joined by her husband, Ron, at the kick-off event.
The State Capitol provides the perfect elegant backdrop for the event.
Rhonda Carlile
CS’ Rhonda Carlile is pleased that CBC could sponsor the dinner series.

For more about the work of Ben Owen III and Fred Johnston, as well as the “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” and United Arts, visit the links below:

“Two potters with the same clay
will make something completely different.”
–Ben Owen III

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