Winston-Salem’s Personality: “Phil Hanes” - Elevated Generosity to an Art

Winston-Salem’s Personality: “Phil Hanes” - Elevated Generosity to an Art

For more than 50 years, Hanes cultivated Winston-Salem’s downtown cultural renewal, helping it become the City of Arts & Innovation through tireless promotion, organization and investment.


When he died on Jan. 16, 2011, Hanes was honored for not simply talking about dreams but living out his conviction that embracing the arts improves all of life.

Hanes and his wife, Charlotte, were patrons of their namesake gallery at Wake Forest University, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art and UNC School of the Arts, to name but a few.

Hanes graduated from Yale University in 1949 then returned to his hometown to work at his family’s Hanes Dye and Finishing Company. Just before his 50th birthday, he resigned as president to focus on the “fun job” of deciding which causes to support.

One friend called him a champion of “the little guys, entrepreneurs and young people” who “always said that the little things add up to big things.”

Hanes’ impact can be felt most in the revitalized downtown that was his longtime vision. There he could often be found walking, chatting and eating—symbolic of a man always in motion as an unstoppable force in the Winston-Salem’s renaissance.

For nearly five decades, Phil Hanes dedicated himself to artistic and community improvement endeavors in the Winston-Salem area. Fittingly, his ashes are interred in the statue “Conversations” on the UNC School of the Arts campus.

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