Hannah Blanton is owner and director of Sozo Gallery. The Winnsboro, S.C., native is a mom of three and previously worked as a registered nurse in the pediatric ICU at Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital. Blanton co-founded AboutFace CLT, a nonprofit that uses storytelling to “enable human connection,” and founded Grier’s Gallery at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital. She is also a yoga teacher at Veritas, a treatment center for youth with eating disorders.
Home is my favorite place, now that we have two in college and they are constantly revolving through the doors. When I have all my chickens home and we’re casual and all together, laughing and messing up and hugging and just doing life — that is when Mama’s heart is the happiest. Home is having all the other best friends on the street and their children just walk in and out of my back door, knowing they can grab a snack or a drink out of the “extra fridge.”
My husband, Charles, and I were married at Covenant Presbyterian Church, and our three children were baptized there. There’s a joke in town that if you get really sick or a crisis happens in your family, join Covenant. We are a church that rallies behind members and loves them deeply when they are hurting. … One of my all-time favorite secrets in Charlotte is The Sacred Garden at Avondale Presbyterian Church on Park Road. I discovered it when one of our children had a basketball game here. After losing my father, it was interesting to me how much more I craved places like this. Sometime I’ll just be in the area, and I’ll park and walk the labyrinth or under the wind chimes. I feel so closely connected to God and myself when I am in this beautiful space.
I went to College of Charleston and Medical University and lived in Charleston, S.C., for six years. There is nothing that can take the place of crossing over those bridges and breathing in those paper mills. It feels like freedom and youth and culture and good food, all to me. … We’ve got two in college in Chapel Hill, so we like going to games and visiting here as much as we can. … I love visiting Blowing Rock with some of my best friends at one of their homes. Always good hikes, rest and great time together. … Charles and I just went to Bermuda to celebrate my 50th, and it’s where we honeymooned — I loved visiting art studios there as well.
Even though I grew up in South Carolina, I have to agree hands down that North Carolina has South Carolina beat when it comes to barbecue. When we visit family in High Point, we always have to stop at Lexington BBQ and bring home our stash. … I love the concepts behind Community Matters Cafe and the community members they employ and train and provide tools for a successful future — I love their black-eyed pea salad. … Luceis my Sozo uptown next-door neighbor, and it’s like family when I walk in the door. Even though I desperately want Augusto to switch up all the artwork (smile), there is no better service, greeting or pan-seared halibut in town!
Y2 Yoga and Trifecta Athletics are in my current workout regime and family of trainers who challenge me and meet me where I am in life. At Y2, I love Johnna Smith and Dorie Joy classes — their style of teaching is exactly what I crave right now. Yoga is my escape and where I hear God speak the loudest. … Trifecta is the most diverse and down-to-earth gym. I feel lifted, and endorphins are flowing every time I leave here. It’s a great community. Loud music. Cardio. Weights. Boxing. Laughing. … At VIBE5, these are some of my favorite people in the world and women business owners I respect — Ansley Melnik, a friend since our kids’ preschool days, and Edith McDonnell, a neighbor I adore.
OMG! Adrienne Davis Design’s rugs are phenomenal. They add a punch that makes my heart so happy. … I love shopping at Found Collection and the unique one-of-a-kind finds they get from all over the world. There is so much power behind supporting other women-owned businesses. … I love shopping vintage clothing when traveling with my daughter, Virginia. We also love going to JT Posh and EDIT consignment sales. I love wearing recycled clothing and hope that I am carrying over good juju from another owner. … Bess at Sloanis always saving me at the last minute and pulls things for me that flatter me. She finds things I would never have picked out.
TAKE A WALK
Life is busy, and we all need more connection. There is nothing better than taking my golden doodle Blue for a walk and catching up with good friends. We solve a lot of life’s problems in a good 45-minute walk. If it’s not a walk, then we search for our Friday night wine-and-porch time. Three of us are faithful La Crema gals, the other is a Meiomi Pinot.
No one is better than Marquetia Jones with Blue Ocean Massage. Her hands are like warm healing electric blankets. … Donald Case at Donald & Company Salon does my hair and hears a lot from me. He and Vanessa cover my gray often, and we laugh a lot! … Molly Grimm at Novant Health Rehabilitation Center on Kings Drive is an angel from heaven. As we age, we get injuries, and she can fix just about anything. Amazing how you fall deeply in love with people who heal you. … MeckFuse is a housing program under Urban Ministries, and I’ve spent a lot of time with them this past year. We’ve worked together closely with a friend of mine who I deeply care about. I have great respect for the work and for the respect they give their clients.
The folks at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff on Remount Road are the best. They are so kind and have even delivered art supplies to some of my homeless artist friends. That is service with heart. … Local artist studios: I love the conversations we have in someone’s garage, basement or small studio room off their house. Being in someone’s personal studio is where you can see all the products and messes and truth of the making. We need to continue to lift and support our local artists — and all artists. This is where and how we connect. SP
compiled by Whitley Adkins Hamlin
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