Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art
SECCA has no permanent collection but offers exhibitions of works by artists with regional, national, and international recognition. Although founded as a private institution, it became an operating entity of the North Carolina Museum of Art under the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources in 2007. Admission is free.
SECCA was founded in 1956 as The Winston-Salem Gallery of Fine Arts in Old Salem. James Gordon Hanes of the locally prominent Hanes family, who died in 1972, bequeathed his 1929 Norman Revival home and grounds to the gallery. The home was augmented with purpose-built exhibition space, and SECCA moved to the new location in 1977 under its current name. In 1990 the facility expanded again.
SECCA was the subject of national political and media notoriety in 1989 when 23 U.S. Senators signed a letter challenging its involvement, along with the National Endowment for the Arts, with a $15,000 arts prize awarded to controversial photographer Andres Serrano. Former U.S. Senators Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) denounced SECCA in speeches on the floor of the Senate, taking particular issue with what has become Serrano's most famous work, "Piss Christ," a photograph of a crucifix submerged in the artists's urine.
Financial difficulties that began in 2003 forced SECCA to convey its property and operations to the state.
SECCA has three exhibition rooms with 9,000 square feet (840 m2) of space and a 300-seat auditorium. In addition, portions of the Hanes house and grounds are available for viewing and functions. The complex reopened in 2010 after an extensive renovation.