Beauty & Craft: At Home with Marjorie Hodges

This Raleigh arts advocate, collector, and gallery owner fills her home with work found in North Carolina and abroad.
by Ayn-Monique Klahre | photography by Catherine Nguyen

Marjorie Hodges at home. She loves to collect textiles, including these pillows made from traditional Guatemalan huipils.

“I believe passionately in the power of art, the joy of living with art, and the importance of supporting those that create it,” says Marjorie Hodges. “Art keeps me grounded and inspired.”

Hodges is arts and community advocate and co-founder of Artsuite, an online platform that showcases artists and collectors around the globe and provides a curated selection of works for purchase. “Both of my parents instilled in me an appreciation for art — both visual and performing — and nature,” she says. “That was my foundation.” She studied art history and trained as a classical pianist — but majored in marketing and public relations instead, intending to start a more practical career in pharmaceutical sales. And yet she found herself visiting galleries instead of cramming for tests, a hint at her true passion.

After working for Pfizer in her native Florida for a few years, she lived in Park City, Utah, where she had her two children, then moved to Raleigh. Here, she was able to transition her skills into the arts world, first working with Duke Raleigh Hospital to acquire work for patients’ rooms, then working for the former Flanders Gallery. Over the last 15 years, she’s held director positions at the North Carolina Museum of Art and CAM Raleigh, and she also serves on the board of the Dix Park Conservancy.

The earliest pieces Hodges collected were abstracts. “I first started with a color focus, and as I’ve gotten more confident in my taste, I’m more and more attracted to pieces with complicated processes or a strong message or story,” she says. “The more art I see, the more I’m able to glean from each piece.” She’ll pick up pieces on her travels, often simple, handcrafted items, like a bowl with ornate carvings. “Some of these pieces are stunningly beautiful, even though they’re made for utilitarian purposes,” she says.

“Lately I’m especially drawn to textiles — I think because it’s such a global thing, women have been working with their hands to create textiles for centuries.”
In the modernist north Raleigh home in that Hodges shares with partner Carlton Midyette, their art collection merges textiles, pre-Columbian pottery, ceramics, contemporary photography, sculpture, and painting. “Living with art is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Most of the artists in our collection are friends. Each work has special meaning,” says Hodges. “The art brings our home to life and adds character and authenticity.”

The two add pieces little by little, as they find them. “I enjoy traveling to international art fairs like Art Basel, Frieze, and NADA  — these give me a snapshot of the global art market — but I love visiting artists’ studios, artist collectives, and museums, too,” says Hodges. She advises others to follow their instincts and build over time. “Buy what you love and collect whatever you want to collect,” she says. “If you are able to invest in art, have an advisor guide you toward a few anchor pieces.”

Most importantly, display the work you love. “I hope to inspire people to live with art, whatever their taste,” says Hodges. “Art is something you’ll keep the rest of your life — you may change residence or update your furniture, but art is enduring.”

Two mixed-media works by Raleigh artist Tim Lytvinenko have pride of place in the dining room of Marjorie Hodges and Carlton Midyette’s home. Made in gold leaf and a photo transfer process, the images change with the light (the piece on the right occasionally reveals a nude self-portrait). The white terraform sculpture on the console is by Rosalie Midyette, Carlton’s daughter.
In the living area, a ceramic form by North Carolina artist Tom Spleth is mounted on a beam end left over from construction of the home.
A painting by Durham artist Beverly McIver is showcased as you descend the lower level of the home. “Beverly’s skills are remarkable and the soul of her work is palpable,” says Hodges. “She is a dear friend and such a wonderful mentor to artists in our area. It warms my heart to live with this.” At the end of the hallway, a gold bench by North Carolina- and Mexico-based artist Randy Shull sits under a turtle shell found on the Outer Banks and a headdress from Zaire.
In the living area, a 1960s-era painting by Joe Cox, who was a professor at North Carolina State University, hangs above a Stickley cabinet from the early 1900s. On the cabinet are a Mimbres burial bowl in Thunderbird design from approximately 1000 C.E. in the ancient Southwest, as well as a snail bowl from Cajamarca, Peru, which dates from 300 B.C.E. to 300 C.E.
Two glass sculptures by Dean Allison, who was a resident at the Penland School of Craft, are on view in the dining area. “He takes the mundane — in this case a lunch bag — and turns it into something extraordinarily beautiful,” says Hodges. 
In the entryway, a print by Scott Avett sits above an Indonesian console table. Hodges got to know Avett through her friend and his bandmate, Joe Kwon. “Joe encouraged me to visit his studio, and I was absolutely blown away — Scott is an artist in every sense of the word,” says Hodges. She worked with him to present his first solo exhibit at the NCMA, and this piece, Color Wheel in Black, was part of it.
On the screened-in patio, a pebble-shaped mosaic ottoman by Brooklyn artist Summer Wheat is both art and seating. “I hosted a dinner party to celebrate Summer’s show at SOCO Gallery and her installation at the Mint Museum, and she brought some of her work to share with the guests,” says Hodges. “But once I saw it in our home, I couldn’t live without it!” The antlers were found on their property.
Nuanced pieces complement the stonework around the fireplace in the living room. “We didn’t want to detract from the fireplace — that’s really the focal point, especially with a roaring fire,” says Hodges. The woven sculpture on the hearth, titled City of Fear, is by Mexican artist Manuela Garcia. Hodges found it just before the onset of the pandemic, and its title ended up feeling prescient. “It just spoke to me, and as I learned more about it — there’s no metal armature below it, it’s just hand woven — I found it intriguing,” says Hodges. Above the mantel is a rice bowl from Laos, and inside the alcove is a ceramic pot by Tom Spleth. The pillows are a mix of Laotian batik prints and Uzbek weavings. “Living here with Carlton and merging our very different collections has broadened our perspectives as to what constitutes art. It’s been mutually enriching,” says Hodges. Though many of these pieces were found on her travels, we’re particularly lucky here, she says: “From the NCMA to CAM to Anchorlight, Artspace, and so many others, our region is rich with opportunities to view art.”
The carved wooden doorway leading into Hodges’ study is an Indonesian wedding arch. Just beyond is a traditional Japanese Nihonga painting by Yuko Nogami Taylor, which was painted during the pandemic, and a red bench by furniture maker Randy Shull.
A hallway leads from the living area to the master bedroom. Here, wall hangings by Chinese artist Shen Wei move gently as one walks past. They were created during a performance at the American Dance Festival in Durham. “The dancers wore pads dipped in paint on their feet and hands, and the designs from their choreography were transmitted onto these cloths on the dance floor,” Hodges says, noting that Wei was the choreographer of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Inside the office, quieter pieces help Hodges focus. The large photograph is by Texas-born, New York-based artist Allison Hunter, part of her series titled Recent Animals. The smaller work is by Susan Harbage Page, who lives and works in both North Carolina and Italy, featuring gouache over antique Italian book pages.


This article originally appeared in the January 2022 issue of WALTER Magazine