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The Upcoming Peter Oliver Pavilion Gallery

The Winston-Salem City Council passed a resolution to set aside land for the upcoming Peter Oliver Pavilion Gallery, a public outdoor space honoring a former enslaved man.

June 24, 2024

The Upcoming Peter Oliver Pavilion Gallery
Rendering courtesy of Creative Corridors Coalition

What is the Peter Oliver Pavilion Gallery?

The Peter Oliver Pavilion Gallery will be a public outdoor space honoring the history of African-American culture in Winston-Salem by telling Peter Oliver’s story and his impact on the city.

  • Why it matters: The Pavilion Gallery will be the first public space in Winston-Salem to tell the story of one person’s journey from enslavement to freedom.

 

Who Was Peter Oliver?

Peter Oliver was an enslaved man who was sold to the Moravians in 1786. He became a skilled potter and worked with the Moravian Church in Salem to win his freedom in 1800. Afterward, he returned to Salem, raised a family, and farmed a four-acre plot of land until his death in 1810 at the age of 44.

  • Historical Significance: He was the last known African-American Moravian to be buried in God’s Acre – the graveyard for members of the Moravian Church – before burials were segregated.

 

Who Is Behind the Project?

Creative Corridors Coalition, the nonprofit organization spearheading the gallery’s construction, hopes to begin construction in 2025. However, the organization has not released information about how long the project will take to complete.

The Pavilion Gallery was designed by Walter Hood, a world-renowned African-American designer. He has won numerous awards and is the designer behind the Strollway Bridge in Winston-Salem.

Hood and the Creative Corridors Coalition spent five years developing the vision for the pavilion gallery, talking with community members, government officials, and even Peter Oliver’s descendants.

 

What Will Be In the Peter Oliver Pavilion Gallery?

The upcoming Peter Oliver Pavilion Gallery will feature a display case of pottery from Peter’s era and an ancestral wall telling his story and that of his descendants. The physical structure will consist of an oval walkway with an open wood canopy and a green space in the middle.

  • The location: The Pavilion Gallery will be constructed on the land farmed by Peter Oliver. The property sits at the end of the Strollway Bridge and is adjacent to MUSE Winston-Salem.

 

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