CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s no easy task when you're working to put on a show. 

“You want to do it because it's fun, and you love people loving your work … you love showing your work,” Jerry Taliaferro said. 


What You Need To Know

The Hal Marshall building was a Sears building taken over by Mecklenburg County in the 1980s for its employees to use

The building sat empty for years until VAPA took over it in September

VAPA stands for Visual and Performaing Arts


Taliaferro is a photographer. He snapped photos across the United States to create his traveling exhibit, "Black Women As Muse."

He began taking pictures while serving in the Army and transitioned into commercial photography when he got out. 

“I was used to shooting pictures for specs or pictures for advertising, hair care, skin care-type of stuff,” he said. 

Taliaferro’s focus is now on fine art photography, which has led him to a unique space — the former Hal Marshall Building in Uptown Charlotte.

“Compared to what it was — this was full of cubicles,” property manager Arthur Rogers said. 

Rogers has worked to transform the building into the VAPA Center

“Every other major city in the country has figured out how to create this subsidized artist community for the artists in their city, and Charlotte just couldn’t get it done,” he said. “The county came to us and approached us to do it and here we are.”

Eleven arts organizations came together to create VAPA.

“A space like this is super rare,” Taliaferro said. 

Most of this 150,000-square-foot space will be home to those organizations and other artists from this community. 

“I’ve been trying to work on something like this on a personal level for over 10 years," Rogers said, "and to have this opportunity now, it’s beyond gratifying." 

The hope is that this space will transform into a place artists and the community will enjoy, and Taliaferro can’t wait for others to see it. 

“How can you exist without art?” he said. “So hopefully this will be a source for that.”

Rogers says VAPA officially took over the building in early September. 

There are three dozen spaces left, with more than 120 people on the wait list. 

If you are an artist looking to request a space in this building, you can sign up here.