Waterworks Visual Arts Center

Providing diverse opportunities in the arts for all people through exhibitions, education, & outreach programs.

Meet the Artists of IMAGINE

Coming to a Farm Near You

A humorous, political cartoonist in Baghdad, Iraq before moving to the United States, Ráed Al-Rawi has lived in Charlotte, NC for more than 30 years. He creates surrealist art, and is an art instructor at Carolina Piedmont Community College. Al-Ráwi’s works are published in a wide range of magazines, children’s educational publications, and have been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Inspired by his Iranian heritage, a deepening sense of history, and his imagination, Coming to a Farm Near You is a delightful, fanciful and humorous view of life, which can be enjoyed in the Norvell Gallery.


Eye Am Witness - Paintings for Children

The oldest of five by her working-class Puerto Rican and Cuban parents, Natacha Sochat was born in New York City, and currently resides in Raleigh, NC. Sochat’s education is an interesting juxtaposition of medicine and art, leading her to a career in emergency medicine, while also painting full time and raising a family! Sochat says she “views a painting as a part of public health, so she paints for the viewer to have a positive experience even if there are underlying serious elements to the work [she is presenting].” Eye Am Witness – Paintings for Children, “deals with the shared experience we have in our culture,” says Sochat. Her works will be presented in the Stanback Gallery Hall and YPG Gallery.


Two Dream Careers: Illustrator to Cartoonist

Lexington, North Carolina-born Marcus Hamilton has been illustrating the nationally-syndicated daily Dennis the Menace cartoon panel from his studio in Mint Hill, for the past 27 years. The story of how he went from a Norman Rockwell-inspired illustrator to dedicated artist behind the beloved Dennis the Menace daily cartoon is the basis of Two Dream Careers: Illustrator to Cartoonist, a life’s collection of work in the Osborne and Woodson Galleries.

Originally created by cartoonist Hank Ketchum, Dennis the Menace just celebrated 70 years in March. While Dennis’ precocious antics are both predictable and surprising at the same time, perfect timing was never the five-and-a half-year-old character’s claim to fame. For Marcus Hamilton, however, perfect timing paired with a lot of nerve was key to attaining this second dream career in a lifetime. Hamilton’s first job out of college was with the WBTV art department in Charlotte. Experience gained working locally built his portfolio, which he took to New York City one weekend and made cold-calls to well-known magazine art directors. His efforts paid off with regular freelance assignments for the likes of The Saturday Evening Post and Golf Digest, until he was able to make illustration his full-time occupation -- that is, until digital art production all but replaced the demand for hand-drawn illustrations.