Reboot Charlotte: Discovering the Arts
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Along with NASCAR, big banks and barbecue, Charlotte has an under-the-radar strength that DNC and closer-to-home visitors can discover – the arts.
From Ballantyne to light-rail stations, on university campuses and at the corner of Trade and Tryon, take your pick of styles. And now, there’s an uptown addition. From the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture to the Mint Museum, from the Knight Theater to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Levine Center for the Arts has reinvigorated South Tryon Street.
“The beauty of the arts and cultural community is, these are public spaces that are for you as a community member,” says Scott Provancher, president of the Arts and Science Council.
John Boyer, president and CEO of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, says the museum’s sculpture terrace is “one of the most delightful aspects in really an extraordinary building by Mario Botta, the Swiss architect, and this is only the second commission that Mario has accepted here in the United States.”
“Here, now, finally, Charlotte has its own collection of great works of the 20th century,” says Boyer. It’s work that through program and discounts is shared with the under-served, the unemployed and the young.
“We do a series of family days,” says Boyer, “because we’re absolutely committed to having everybody enjoy this collection the same way the Bechtler family children did when they were just knee-high right up to their 30’s and 40’s today.”
The families gathered just steps away on The Green agree. ”I didn’t even know it was down here,” says Roderick Gee. “And you can see Miles Davis blowing the horn there,” he adds, referring to a brightly colored piece by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. He was happy the experience gave his children Trevor, Kyle and Sydney their own ideas. “You could sculpt things, because you were inspired from these things. You could paint things,” says Trevor.
At the Gantt Center, a native son is featured. “September 2, we’ll be opening the Romare Bearden exhibition, which will be a part of the 100-year celebration of his birthday,” says David Taylor, president and CEO. “He’s one of the most important artists of our time.”
“It’s about culture for us,” says Taylor, referring to film, workshops and African dance class offered at the museum. “People of all ages come in.”
Describing family activities at the Mint, president and CEO Kathleen Jameson says: “You can literally come straight in … park the strollers, go in and allow the children to just be loud, run free … and then come up and see the rest of the museum.” Jameson says, “We have from paintings to pottery, from North Carolina crafts to African art, and we can tell the story of human creativity from across the world and across time.”
It all adds up to a Charlotte arts scene that welcomes the DNC and families looking for fun.
Harvey Gantt Center Information: www.ganttcenter.org
Bechtler Museum Information: www.bechtler.org
Mint Museum Information: www.mintmuseum.org
Blumenthal Performing Arts: www.blumenthalarts.org