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Winston-Salem Native E.C. Hanes Stands At Crossroads Of Art And Politics

E.C. "Redge" Hanes
Lloyd Aaron


E.C. "Redge" Hanes grew up in Winston-Salem steeped in North Carolina business, politics and art.

He was born into the family that created the Hanes clothing company.

His father and uncle served in the North Carolina General Assembly, and they were generous supporters of projects like the North Carolina Symphony and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

 The Hanes family actively supported politics and had strong ties to the Democratic Party.

Hanes started his own manufacturing business in the 1970s, while joining a group that lobbied Congress on behalf of the arts community. When a controversial photography exhibit made national headlines in 1988, Hanes met with Sen. Jesse Helms to try to save public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

The photo in question has again sparked controversy in recent years, more than two decades after it was taken.

"Art is simply how we communicate as human beings. We do it well sometimes and we do it very badly sometimes." - E.C. "Redge" Hanes

Hanes' debut novel, Billy Bowater (John F. Blair/2014), mirrors much of his lobbying experience. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with E.C. Hanes about the book and his time behind the scenes of North Carolina politics.

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Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.