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Block Gallery

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Current Exhibitions Gallery History

Located on the first and second floors of the Raleigh Municipal Building, Block Gallery offers five to six exhibitions each year featuring works by artists who live or work in Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Orange, or Wake County. Exhibitions are scheduled through a call for artists, juried by a selection panel of visual arts professionals, Raleigh Arts Commissioners, and City staff.



Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Open until 8 p.m. for receptions.

Stacy Bloom Rexrode
Curator of Exhibitions and Collections


Raleigh Municipal Building
222 W. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC 27601



Current Exhibitions

Written:Erased, an installation of repurposed garments and donated books by Jan-Ru Wan

Jan-Ru Wan, Written: Erased, 2020.

Written: Erased
Jan-Ru Wan

Jan. 22 to April 24, 2020
Artist Reception Feb. 7, 2020, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“History is written by the victors”
— Winston Churchill

This quote has become even more relevant in our current political climate. It provokes questions about what is true and what isn’t regarding tradition and identity and brings to light the baggage or privilege each one of us carries with us. 

Jan-Ru Wan uses different garment forms to reflect the human condition in society. The fragment of garments is the implication of the human body, and how we carry materials in both metaphorically and literally ways.

In the work, Written: Erased Wan uses rigid shirts to reflect the way individuals try their best to make a mark in history only to be shaped and controlled by others more powerful encouraging conformity. They are stifled by the weight of history and the hierarchy, unable to take flight or change their prospective path.  Notions of this fight to write and not be erased are woven throughout the entire piece, from the sweeping curves of the shirts ending in rigid uniformity to the stacks of books that firmly hold them in place. 

In a society that privileges certain individuals over others, Wan’s installation work strives to represent the forgotten, misrepresented or those potentially erased from history. Her use of everyday materials that are often cast off as debris, has associations to these groups and even examines the use of more traditionally accepted art media and the associations that are connected to them. Through her material choices, the erased are represented and elevated for discussion and recognition.

Wan’s Taoist beliefs have taught her to respect the cycles of life and to understand that all of life’s shifts and upheavals are just part of a natural phenomenon. This view is reflected in her suspension installations, which are not meant to pass judgment but rather serve to present the state of the situation. 

About the Artist

Jan-Ru Wan |

For more than two decades, Jan-Ru Wan has been reinventing found objects in her sculpture and installation work, especially those discarded from industrial factories. Her unique way of incorporating wildly diverse materials with layers of repetition, while creating immersive spaces and environments are signatures of her installation works.

Throughout Wan’s career, she has participated in 28 solo exhibitions and 44 group exhibitions including the 1st International Biennial of Casablanca at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Art in Taiwan; the Yango-Biennial in Kinshasa, Congo and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC. Her work has been featured in Surface Design Magazine and Sculpture Magazine. The National Art Education Association Anthology: Globalization, Art, and Education devoted an entire chapter to her work. In 2006, The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee honored Wan with the GOLD award, recognizing her as the Graduate of the Last Decade. Wan is also the recipient of North Carolina’s 2008 Visual Art Fellowship and has also been awarded artist residencies in Taiwan, Thailand, Morocco, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States. 

6x12=72 Jewelry Challenge

Jan. 31 to April 24, 2020
Artist Reception Feb 7., 2020, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The 6x12=72 Jewelry Challenge included 6 jewelry artists each committed to making twelve pieces based on a singular idea or concept for each month of 2019. The concept or singular theme could be technique, inspiration, or material used. The challenge was a great way to follow an idea through its progression, experiment with new ideas as well as create a new body of work. Please join Suzanne Krill, Sarah West, Kathryn Osgood, Cole+Cole, Lisa LeMair, and Betty McKim in celebrating this body of work which is on display at Block Gallery.


Gallery History

Block Gallery was designed to serve as one of the City's premier exhibition spaces. Managed by the Office of Raleigh Arts, the gallery has introduced nearly 200 artists to area residents and visitors since its inception in 1984. Dedicated in 2006 to honor community leader Miriam Preston Block, its marble walls and impressive staircase provide an ideal setting for art.

In accordance with the mission "to connect local artists to community through ongoing exhibitions and public outreach," Block Gallery fosters great artists and great art.
See the full list of past exhibited artists.