In addition to celebrating Winston-Salem natives that have moved on to do significant things outside of Winston, this blog will also celebrate local people who make a difference currently in Winston-Salem. Endia Beal (www.endiabeal.com) is a woman on the move both literally and figuratively. When I met with her at Camino’s, she had just returned from trips to Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, and Delaware. Beal is the current director of the Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University. Her photography has taken off and has been featured nationwide. She recently was awarded a Magnum Foundation grant (website link) for her current project, Am I What You’re Looking For? “There is a lack of diversity in art, specifically in photography,” said Beal. “As an artist and director, my work and exhibitions reflect issues that are happening right now. I travel a lot to talk about the Diggs Gallery and my photography.” Click on these links for articles about Beal in National Geographic and the New York Times.
Self Portrait of Endia Beal
Beal is just one of nineteen photographers that was awarded the Emergency fund, a program that supports independent photographers to produce in-depth and creative stories on under-reported issues. She is focusing on, “young African American women transitioning from the academic world to the corporate setting, capturing their struggles and uncertainties on how to best present themselves in the professional workplace.” She is the middle of three rather tall daughters. Beal is 5’10.5 (she wanted to make sure I put the half in there), which is shorter than her older sister, Tiffanie, and younger sister, Courtney. Her dad is from Winston and worked for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, and her mom transplanted from Durham and currently runs a five-star in-home daycare, Cuddling Cuties.It took a tragedy for Beal to really turn her attention to art and photography. Her sophomore year of high school, her first love, Shawn Carter, was shot and killed. She used art and writing to relieve her stress from the loss.After Beal graduated from high school at Reynolds (the best high school in the state), she went to N.C. State for two years and wanted to major in graphic design. She took photography over the summer and realized that she wanted to switch her focus to art and photography. Tiffanie had instilled a love for the University of North Carolina to the family, and Beal transferred there for her junior year, and was later followed as a Tar Heel by Courtney.
After she graduated from UNC, Beal lived in Washington, D.C. and worked at the Luther Brady Gallery through a fellowship with Art Table. She was only one of five women throughout the country selected for the fellowship. After her time in D.C., she came back home to Winston to work for the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) as a program administration assistant for two years. During this time she had her first gallery at White Space, when Marlon Hubbard and Chevara Orrin displayed photographs she took while studying abroad in Italy. In 2011, Beal left SECCA to attend graduate school in New Haven, CT at Yale for fine arts and photography. “I was the only person of color in my graduate program, and one of only six of sixty four in the entire department at Yale,” said Beal. In 2013, she did a residency after graduation in Woodstock, NY at The Center for Photography at Woodstock.She moved back home in 2014 and worked for Mullen ad agency as a strategic planner, before she was hired for her current position as the Director of The Diggs Gallery and assistant professor of art at WSSU. She said, “It is important that art reaches a larger audience of people that would never go to a gallery before, but now they will.”Below, she answers questions about her favorite parts of growing up in Winston below: Winston-Salem Questions:What schools did you go to growing up and who were your favorite teachers?I went to Moore for elementary school and I loved all of my teachers, especially Ms. Thomas. Ms. Davis was my favorite teacher during middle school at Wiley. I loved my basketball coach, Mr. Pinnix, at Reynolds. My sisters and I all played basketball there. My dad wanted us to play in the WNBA, but that obviously didn’t work out.
Beal (middle) with sisters, Tiffanie (left) and Courtney (right)
What are your favorite restaurants in Winston? My first choice is my Mamma’s kitchen. My mom, Sheila, is a great cook. I also really love O’Brien’s Deli off of Country Club and Sweet Potatoes on Trade Street.Who is your favorite ACC Team?Without a doubt Carolina, but that game last week hurt!Where is your favorite place in the North Carolina Mountains?In 2009, I did an artist residency in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Spruce Pines near Asheville at the Penland School of Crafts and I loved it there.
Beal and her mom, Sheila
If you ever left Winston again, where would you move? I am a Southern girl. I love the South. I would probably say the Raleigh/Durham area. If I had a second pick, it would definitely be San Diego.What did you miss the most when you were living away from Winston?I missed the Southern hospitality and the humanity of feeling connected to a person like you get when you live in Winston!If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian sugar cake, a Bojangles biscuit, or a Krispy Kreme doughnut?All of them would kill me! I would have to say a Bojangles biscuit, but you would have to throw in grape jelly.Thruway or Hanes Mall? Neither! I am an online shopper.
Beal is the profile for this year’s RiverRun Film Festival
What areas of Winston have you lived in? I have always lived in the Southside.
What is your favorite nickname for our minor league baseball team: Spirits, Warthogs, or Dash? I am a fan of the Warthogs, because that was what they were as I grew up!
Beal speaking at Diggs-Latham Elementary School for Black History Month