The Mack Bass House
Broad Kenan Historic District
Saved and Restored!
This Colonial Revival house was built in 1913. It is a large two-story home with four bedrooms and two full baths upstairs and downstairs includes a living room, den, study, bath, modern kitchen and a sun porch off the kitchen. The front porch has one of the best views in Wilson. It is directly across the street from the newly constructed Paul Berry Hickory Grove Park, complete with green space, beautiful landscaping, brick work, a cascading fountain and public art from world renowned artist, the late Vollis Simpson, with five of his famous Whirligigs surrounding the area. To your right is a former historic high school which has been converted into The Golden Leaf Apartments. To your left is a view of the BB&T Towers, twin seven story buildings that are fully occupied and supporting the bank that began in Wilson, NC at the turn of the century. Just up the street is the home to the Wilson Visitors Center all located in the Broad-Kenan Historic District.
1913 Endangered Property Sold
This historic house is like many that are sold. Often the first owners are either overwhelmed with the reality of a restoration project or they are looking to resell for a quick investment. Preservation of Wilson marketed the property and sold it in 2009. Six months later it was sold once again. In 2011 Preservation of Wilson found another buyer that would welcome the challenge of a total renovation project.
Photojournalist Jerome De Perlinghi came to Wilson by way of Preservation of Wilson, the local historic preservation group. Their family was currently living in Chicago when they discovered Wilson through the Preservation of Wilson website. Rosa and Jerome De Perlinghi have not only purchased and restored the house,but they have become an important part of the preservation movement in Wilson.
A Warm Welcome
Jerome has traveled all over the country and world shooting photography, but when the time came for the Belgium native and his family to find a place to call home, they chose Wilson. “We were looking for a change of pace,” says Jerome, who was previously based in Chicago. Not only do they appreciate the warmer weather and shorter commutes, but the De Perlinghis have discovered a community where they feel like they belong. “In the few years, we have made more friends here than we did after 11 years of living in Chicago,” Jerome says.
Where Art and Preservation Create Inspiration for Artists
Jerome and Rosa are another family to add to Wilson’s growing list of artists that find Wilson to be a nice place to call home.
A roving photographer inspired to put down roots. An author who discovered her muse. A photojournalist who found the home he had been seeking. These are just a few of the nationally and internationally recognized artists who are moving to Wilson, North Carolina.
Known for his celebrity portraits, De Perlinghi turned his camera on the people of Wilson and captured them in the same light reserved for his movie star subjects. The exhibit by Jerome De Perlinghi titled, The Wilson Project, showcases portraits of citizens in the Wilson community with a collection of 90 photographs. The exhibit was located in the Annie D. Boykin Gallery, Wilson Arts Council in Historic Downtown Wilson from January 16 through March 1, 2014.
The creation of the Wlson Project was during construction of the house. Jerome found himself eager to find a break and work with his camera. He set a portable backdrop up at random downtown locations during a three year period. Jerome’s goal was to use black and white film to photograph the faces of people from every area of the community. The only requirement was that when their picture was taken, they could not smile.
The birth of Eyes on Main Street: A Crossroad of Cultures
Jerome did not stop at his own photography on the storefronts – he created Eyes on Main Street. The third edition of Eyes on Main Street, Wilson International Outdoor Photo Festival opens April 8, 2017 in Historic Downtown Wilson. Nash Street, the main street of Wilson, will be transformed into a vibrant gallery of large-scale photographs. For 100 days, 100 photographs will be displayed on 100 storefront windows, spanning six city blocks. The exhibit will take visitors across the railroad tracks linking east and west Wilson into one shared community.
The inaugural 2015 exhibit garnered international publicity and earned the 2015 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Preservation North Carolina.
Focusing on the theme of “Main Street: a Crossroad of Cultures,” the exhibition curated by Jerome De Perlinghi and co-curated by Catherine Coulter Lloyd and Régina Monfort, features the work of 100 photographers from 31 countries with an equal number of men and women. This year’s edition includes a number of award-winning photojournalists from around the world, among them, Olivia Arthur, Eugene Richards, Ruth Orkin, Martin Parr and James Nachtwey.
The Eyes on Main Street festival will launch on April 8th with a street party at the corner of Nash and Douglas Streets. The exhibit will remain in place until July 16, 2017. Over the 100 days, a number of events will be held to celebrate Wilson’s commitment to the arts including a set of lectures during opening weekend with photographer, writer, and filmmaker, Eugene Richards; master photographer, Carol Johnson; and Jo Ann Walters with her long list of photography accomplishments, presentations and exhibits.
This third edition of Eyes on Main Street will add three new exhibits: The Kids Gallery, Before Facebook Exhibit, and a large scale indoor exhibit, Eyes on Taiwan.
Small town living: with big advantages
Wilson’s ideal location is approximately 40 minutes to Raleigh, an hour to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, two hours to the Atlantic Ocean, five hours to the mountains, midway between New York and Miami via I-95, and with Amtrak’s passenger rail service there is direct travel to East Coast cities like Washington, D.C. and New York. Wilson offers ultra-high-speed broadband from city-owned telecom provider Greenlight which is North Carolina’s only Gigabit City. Its arts and cultural scene flourishes with museums, art galleries, performance venues, the Barton College symphony, an active Arts Council, a downtown experiencing an increase in private investment, and the largest collection of Whirligigs in the world!