The Mint Museum renames its planned giving program The Dwelle-McBryde Society in honor of longtime supporter Neill McBryde’s commitment to the museum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Charlotte, North Carolina (July 20, 2021) — The Mint Museum’s planned giving program, The Dwelle Society, is being renamed The Dwelle-McBryde Society in honor of Charlotte attorney Neill McBryde’s steadfast support of the museum.
McBryde was recognized as one of the top 45 estate planning lawyers in the U.S. by Town & Country magazine in the course of his career, and was named in Best Lawyers in America, Trusts and Estates, 1983-2021; Litigation & Controversy – Tax, 1983-2021; Tax Law 1983-2021. He also was a leader in the Charlotte-based Moore & Van Allen law firm for decades. A champion of legacy giving, he understands the value of planned giving programs for the long-term sustainability of institutions and nonprofits, whether The Mint Museum or his beloved Myers Park Presbyterian Church and its outreach ministries. This honor also marks the occasion of McBryde’s retirement from the practice of law at the end of 2021, after many years of dedicated service to his clients, the firm, and the community.
McBryde was a driving force behind the establishment of the Mint’s Dwelle Society in 1996. In 2010, he was a founding member of the Mint’s Crown Society, an annual giving circle comprised of museum patrons contributing $1,200 or more to The Mint Museum’s Annual Fund. He also served on the Mint’s board of trustees for multiple terms, once as board chair, as well as on numerous committees, and is now a member of The Mint Museum’s advisory board. In addition, his wife Peggy McBryde served as the publicity committee chair for the 1997 Antiques Show and co-chaired the Antiques Show committee in 1998, and has held multiple committee leadership roles with the Mint Museum Auxiliary.
The Mint Museum’s planned giving program was originally named for Mary Myers Dwelle, who in 1933 began to raise funds to relocate the Charlotte Mint building to house the first art museum in North Carolina. Her pioneering efforts inspired the establishment of the Dwelle Society, now the Dwelle-McBryde Society, which recognizes the generosity of donors who make a planned gift or bequest to The Mint Museum.
“This renaming and the generous gifts in honor of Neill McBryde have invigorated our planned giving program at the Mint,” says Todd A. Herman, PhD, president and CEO at The Mint Museum. “We are optimistic that Neill’s stature in the community and commitment to lifelong giving will serve as a catalyst for growth.”
Moore & Van Allen has been a longtime corporate supporter of The Mint Museum and has sponsored many exhibitions, ranging from Portals to the Past: British Ceramics 1675-1825 (currently on view at Mint Museum Randolph) to The Glamour & Romance of Oscar de la Renta in 2018, and most recently Classic Black: The Basalt Sculpture of Wedgwood and His Contemporaries in 2020.
The Mint Museum
Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.
Moore & Van Allen
Moore & Van Allen PLLC (www.mvalaw.com), founded in 1950, has more than 330 attorneys serving clients in over 60 areas of focus. The attorneys at Moore & Van Allen provide sophisticated legal services within nationally recognized Litigation, Corporate, Financial Services, Intellectual Property, Bankruptcy, Wealth, Trust and Estate, and Commercial Real Estate law practices for international banks and financial services companies, domestic and global manufacturers, retailers, individuals, and healthcare and technology organizations. The firm is ranked in the prestigious “Am Law 200” list, and U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers have recognized Moore & Van Allen in their 2021 “Best Law Firms” rankings, both regionally and nationally.
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Local artists and artist collectives are expanding opportunities to create and experience art in Charlotte
By Liz Rothaus Bertrand
The Mint Museum’s exhibition It Takes a Village: Charlotte Artist Collectives puts local artists and the organizations that nurture them in the spotlight. Opening June 12 at Mint Museum Randolph, the exhibition will feature individual and collaborative pieces by artists who are part of three of Charlotte’s innovative artist collectives: BlkMrktClt, Brand the Moth, and Goodyear Arts.
Curated by the Mint’s chief curator and curator of contemporary art, Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, sees the exhibition as a wonderful way to showcase the collaboration of local artists who are producing intriguing and inspired works of art. “One of the things I’ve found really wonderful about this city is the number of collectives that were created for artists to support each other. I rarely have encountered that in the other places I’ve lived.”
Building artist communities
Collectives build something special for artists, says Todd Stewart, a member of the artist-led residency program Goodyear Arts. “There’s a reciprocal relationship within an art community, creating and seeing things,” he says. “Personally, I feel like I get more than I give.”
For Stewart, a trained sculptor who also explores painting in his mixed-media creations, working as an artist can be lonely. He says collectives really help to push past the feeling of isolation, even if you’re not actively collaborating with the artists around you. “That to me is just a huge boost of energy … seeing what these folks are up to really propels me forward,” he says.
The wide spectrum of artists—visual, performing and literary—and creative work at Goodyear Arts helps draw diverse audiences to events, most of which are free and offered in an accessible location. This expands relationships and exposure for other artists, too.
Having the opportunity to show their work in a museum the caliber of the Mint is an exciting for collective members, Stewart says, with the potential to reach people who don’t yet know them and what they contribute to the community.
People often think of art coming from “meccas” like Los Angeles, New York, or London, Stewart says, “but Charlotte is building this creative capital, too. It’s rewarding putting your buckets down where you’re at and creating where you are,” he says.
Artists collectives depend on public and private support to continue their work. Goodyear Arts, for example, turns donated space into art galleries and studios. This kind of partnership is key to building opportunities for artists to create.
The fruits of such collaborations can already be seen around Charlotte through various public art initiatives.
What public art brings to the city
Besides beautifying and enriching the city’s landscape, public art like murals serve important social functions. Art inspires conversation and brings different communities together, says painter Sam Guzzie, partner and director of programming for Brand the Moth.
Last summer, Brand the Moth and BlKMrktClt were two of the key groups leading local artists in creating the Black Lives Matter mural on Tryon Street. The iconic project involved 20 different artists, who were each able to put their own distinctive mark on this collaboration.
Bringing community members into the creative process is important, too. For example, Brand the Moth’s 16th Street Bridge Mural was directly inspired by conversations with homeless residents at the nearby Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, who then volunteered side-by-side with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department officers, and others to revitalize the area. Such efforts help create community dialogue over the paintbrush, says Hannah Fairweather, partner and director of curation at Brand the Moth.
Another unique collaboration took place at the McGill Rose Garden, where the Brand the Moth created a mural with UMAR, a nonprofit that promotes community inclusion for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Efforts like these strengthen community bonds and allow people all over the city to experience the arts. For some people, seeing or participating in a public art initiative may be the only chance they have to experience art. “Often public art is the gateway into that world for them,” Fairweather says.
Visitors to The Mint Museum can gain an appreciation for the role artist collectives play in our community through this exhibition. “It’s really something to be proud of and to invest in,” Sudul Edwards says.
Liz Rothaus Bertrand is a Charlotte-based freelance writer who has a love of the arts in all its forms.
This story was originally published in the January, 2021 issue of Inspired, the Mint’s biannual member magazine.
A curated selection of items from the Mint Museum Store that celebrate women’s stories, art, and artists
A charmingly illustrated and inspiring book, Women in Art by Rachel Ignotofskyt highlights the achievements and stories of 50 notable women in the arts, from well-known figures like painters Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe to lesser-known names like 19th-century African American quilter Harriet Powers and Hopi-Tewa ceramic artist Nampeyo. $16.99
This cozy cotton and acrylic throw blanket, made in the USA, celebrates females, chicas, women, ladies, girls and mamas. $130.
These dolls are handcrafted using natural fibers and eco-friendly resources by talented artisans in Kyrgyzstan, and make a great bookend while reminding us all who blazed a path before us. All details are hand stitched and embroidered. $36.
This mug commemorates some of the most influential women artists who have made their stamp. If there’s one thing to say about the accomplishments of women, it’s this: Girlfriends, we’ve come far! $26.
Perfect for storing pencils, cosmetics, art and school supplies, or organizing the resistance. 100% Made in the USA, including the fabric. $18.
These dolls are handcrafted using natural fibers and eco-friendly resources by talented artisans in Kyrgyzstan. All details are hand stitched and embroidered. $24.
This puzzle features seven beloved women poets and lyricists spanning centuries and continents whose wisdom and words continue to influence the world, including Sappho, Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Miriam Makeba, Kamala Das, Li Qingzhao, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in a lush, heavenly floral garden. Illustrated by Jennifer Orkin Lewis. $24
Just part of the story: A chat with Constellation CLT artist de’Angelo Dia
By Rubie R. Britt-Height, Director of Community Relations at The Mint Museum
In September 2008, after 20 years away from Charlotte, I was drawn back to the Queen City and its art scene by what felt like a magnetic force and wide-open door. I was coming from the prestigious Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as its community affairs director. I had worked with numerous amazing statewide artists, yet the springing up of talented Charlotte artists was nothing I had experienced. Charlotte and the Carolinas were rich with young, creative, thoughtful minds, and The Mint Museum was where I saw myself. At that time, it was showcasing a Charlotte-born, renowned artist whose work I loved—Romare Bearden. At the same time, the Mint was presenting an exhibition called A Contemporary Look at the Black Male Image. Two wows! I was impressed.
As I settled in the City once again, in summer of 2009, I was invited by God City artist-educator John R. Hairston, Jr. to the opening night of a NoDa art show that he and artist de’Angelo Dia had put together to debut their latest works. The atmosphere, the creative works, and the vibe of North Davidson were soulful, and light. I knew Hairston as this hip surrealist artist, and he introduced me to Dia. We chatted, he showed me his work, and we discussed his artistic views, society, and what he envisioned. It was a great show.
After that, I engaged the God City art collective members, including Dia, to engage with the Mint’s Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program as enlightened artist-educators that our students could engage with, and who were young, cool, and looked like them. God City connected with the students like a magnet, and Dia’s sessions brought out the best in the students’ abilities to be critical thinkers. They talked about current events, what they would do if they were the mayor, and how they could change their community by changing how they viewed themselves and “Griertown.” He was a newer member of the God City, and art, education, and social activism seemed his platform too, especially with young minds.
As an instructor at Trinity Episcopal School and through the Mint’s Grier Heights art program, Dia challenged his students and they enjoyed his teaching style and socially-conscious poetry. I also invited Dia to the Mint to present on his service projects, where youth were introduced to the concept of being more spiritual, with introspection, and of giving back to the community, and learning to delve deeper within to discover their own style and individuality.
Over a short time, Dia branched into several modes of art exploration, including photography, poetry, creative writing, oral presentations, and painting. Interestingly, he also was drawn into religious studies and received a Master of Divinity degree. He intertwined his growth as a young radical artist and theologian with his desire to be a social activist through his works of art and his engagement with youth in the Black church. He currently serves as the minister of social justice at St. Paul Baptist Church in Charlotte where he is known as Reverend de’Angelo Dia.
Dia’s Constellation CLT installation is on view at Mint Museum Uptown through March 7. I had a chance to recently chat with Dia and see where he was with creating this body of work on exhibition at Mint Museum Uptown, his art projects, his religion, his thinking, and his latest vibe.
RBH: What was your inspiration in creating these works featured in Constellation CLT?
Dia: Works featured in Constellation CLT are part of an on-going passion project. At this point, I have created 70 large-scale pastel drawings exploring representation and the celebration of creating cultures within a culture. The works of Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein inspired this collection. The book Where the Wild Things Are was the Holy Grail for me as a kid, however, I couldn’t identify with the main character Max, so I decided to place my cultural embodiment into Max and the Wild Things and create a pantheon of original characters. Each drawing was created at Goodyear Arts while listening to the works of assorted jazz artists (Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ghost Tree). Each drawing has a poem reflective of what I was theologically and culturally processing at the time.
RBH: In relation to your installation and viewing today’s America amid a divide, at what phase do you see African American art and culture as social commentary/activism?
Dia: African American art and culture has always been a mirror to America, exposing its hypocrisy and systemic oppression. The work of AfriCOBRA, Emory Douglas, Elizabeth Catlett, Gordon Parks and so many others exemplify this. However, I want to be clear, African American art and culture are not a monolith. Through this body of work, I am attempting to balance the tension of processing our daily reality of being Black in America, to highlight our resilience and tenacity, and to celebrate our inherent ability to thrive amidst a divisive social and political climate. The childlike elements of these drawings are my attempt to reclaim my own sense of Black Boy Joy with the understanding that joy is an act of resistance. These drawings are reminiscent of my drawing style in the second and third grade before any teacher attempted to socialize a “standard of quality art,” which often hinders the creative spirit.
RBH: Art is a catalyst for change. How do you view that perspective, and how can artists and art today bring about positive change in America?
Dia: Again, this goes back to representation for me. Representation in creatives, and creations and experiences inspire and ignite social movements that supersede any of my academic training.
RBH: Does poetry and theology impact your approach to your visual works of art? If so, in what way?
Dia: Absolutely. Poetry and visual art coexist as theological outlets for me. Every drawing is preceded with a writing prompt intended to help me gain a better understanding of self, others, the communities I navigate and negotiate with. Writing is my primary outlet and my area of academic training, and yet I cannot separate the literary from the visual. This body of work was always intended for me. They are my mind maps, holistic outlet, visual journals. For example, Epiphany, which is on display in this collection, was my template for a poem titled shallow words. With deep investigation, the viewer can find the words “what if I was your child” throughout the drawing. This is in reference to the biblical children of Israel, Isaac, one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites, and in a contemporary context every Black and Brown child of God killed as a result of power and authority. “What if” is also a reference to a Marvel comics anthology series of alternate reality stories titled What If?
RBH: You noted being a comic book scholar? What does that entail and how did you arrive there?
Dia: I earned a master’s in literature from UNC Charlotte. My thesis project was “Black Images in Comics: An examination of what does 200 years of cartoon images depicting Black people tell us about ourselves.” The images displayed for Constellation CLT are a continuation of this study. While the comics scholar in me values and appreciates the impressive archeology of images that present Black history, this work is a visceral reminder of the barrage of racist depictions intentionally created to oppress us. Currently, I am working on my doctorate with a proposed dissertation topic of theopoetics, an interdisciplinary field of study that combines elements of poetics, narrative theology, and postmodern philosophy. My comic passion was sparked by Milestone Media, a comic company created by three Black men with the intent to provide a diverse spectrum of representation in comics. Comics have always been one of the mediums intended for theological analysis (i.e. God is Disappointed in You, 2013, Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler).
RBH: With thoughts of the fantastical and your love for comic books, who are your most celebrated superheroes/sheroes? If you could create one, what attributes would he/she possess?
Dia: I love this question and it is a tough question because there are so many amazing characters to select from. Shaft (Richard Roundtree) was my gateway to superheroes. His Blackness was and is his superpower. I recommend Shaft written by David F. Walker (Dynamite Entertainment). Luke Cage (written and drawn by Genndy Tartakovsky) and Misty Knight (Marvel Knights), who deserves her own comic series, are two street-level characters presenting a slice of Black life that is relatable. Two series I recommend are Excellence and Bitter Root both produced by Image Comics, written and drawn by creatives of color. If there was a comic character I would love to write about, it would be Doctor Voodoo (Marvel Comics with art created by artist Wolly McNair and Marcus Kiser, inked by Reco Renzi. This would be a dream project. If I could create a character, the attributes would be resilience, tenacity, creativity, and the superpower would be superspeed. Often, there is never enough time in a day to accomplish all I desire to do.
RBH: Which world or American leaders and artists have most impacted your life and works of art?
• Poet, professor, Jericho Brown (The Tradition) for his narrative transparency.
• Poet, professor, Gary Jackson (Missing You, Metropolis) for his beautiful work that is a hybrid of introspection and comic mythology.
• Poet, educator, and should be the Poet Laureate of Wakanda, Nikki Giovanni for the diversity and scope of her work.
• Artist Brain Stelfreeze for his incredible art and more than that, his compassion and willingness to take time to talk with emerging artists.
• TJ Reddy (August 1945-March 2019) for constantly reminding me that creativity and sleep are acts of defiance.
• My parents, Betty and Charlie Jessup, for providing me with creative outlets for artistic expression, introducing me to the music of Parliament Funkadelic, and affirming Black Boy Joy.
• Growing up I thought Shel Silverstein was Black, so I am going to give him honorable mention.
RBH: What is your preferred art medium and why?
Dia: I love drawing, it is a basic instinct. I have a passion for photography, and it is perhaps the best medium to consistently document our collective narratives. However, writing is in my primal nature. I will always find comfort with writing. It was the first artistic outlet that made me feel at home.
RBH: How do you hope your works of art will impact the viewer?
Dia: I hope viewers see them as a reflection of childhood, joy, and solidarity.
RBH: What’s next for you with respect to art projects, works, inspirations?
Dia: I had work recently published in the anthology 2020: The Year that Changed America edited by Kevin Powell. I am currently working on a chapbook that will be part of my doctoral dissertation, which will include poetry and drawings. I am contributing to a performance titled Codex with performance arts members of the Goodyear Arts Collective. I am also working on a performance inspired by the life and music of Marvin Gaye. This is a collaboration with sound artist Dylan Gilbert.
Three works of art that remind us to revere Native American culture and craft
By Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design & Fashion, and Rebecca Elliot, Assistant Curator of Craft, Design & Fashion
Native American Heritage Day is celebrated the last Friday of November. Designated by President George W. Bush in 2008, it celebrates and recognizes the importance of Native Americans and their cultural heritage to our past, present, and future. Works of art by Native American artists encapsulate tradition, rich artistry, and stories that are passed down through generations. The Mint Museum’s Native Americas collection showcases works from Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala, from the nineteenth century to today. Objects from the Native Americas collection are on view at Mint Museum Randolph, as well as the Craft+Design galleries at Mint Museum Uptown. Following are three works of art by Native American artists that chronicle their roots, relationships, and environments.
This bowl is part of an ongoing series of ceramics and prints by Diego Romero that chronicles the adventures of the Chongo Brothers, named for a characteristic hairstyle of Navajo and Pueblo people, a bun gathered at the nape of the neck, the chongo. Romero’s ceramics are impeccably hand built with local clays from the hills of Northern New Mexico.
The strong graphic design is a combination of geometric motifs related to ancient Mimbres pottery, pop art and comic-strip aesthetics. Chronicling the societal injustice rampant on and off the reservation, Diego Romero sometimes softens these difficult narratives with his cartoonish style.
Trained at UCLA, his work is included in museums and private collections in the US and Europe. In 2019 Diego Romero received the Native Treasures Living Treasures Award, given to artists who have made outstanding contributions to indigenous arts and culture.
Diego Romero’s bowl is on view at Mint Museum Randolph, in an installation featuring Pueblo ceramics from the Grice Collection. Experience more of Romero’s work through a virtual tour of his current solo exhibition at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, New Mexico, Diego Romero vs. The End of Art
The round shape of Salmon Spawning Run is based on Susan Point’s well-established spindle whorl motif, which represents the Coast Salish, a First Nations tribe. For thousands of years salmon have sustained the Coast Salish people as the primary food source. As such, salmon are highly honored and respected. Symbolizing abundance, prosperity, renewal, and fertility, the fish and their eggs are depicted here in a composition that reminds us of the importance of clean water other sustainable resources to protect our natural environment. cedar from a tree trunk found on communal land, and painted the carved wood with natural pigments.
One of a group of artists responsible for the resurgence of Coast Salish art and culture, her public art projects include works at Vancouver International Airport and the Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, D.C. She has received numerous awards including the Order of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and a British Columbia Lifetime Achievement Award.
Salmon Spawning Run is a part of Project Ten Ten Ten and is a site-specific work on view in the Craft & Design galleries at Mint Museum Uptown.
Tara Locklear’s jewelry is inspired by urban environments and includes repurposed elements such as pieces of wooden skateboards. She made this necklace as a tribute to her jewelry professor and mentor, Robert Ebendorf, after his retirement from East Carolina University (ECU). Its materials range from ones she explored as a student there to ones she focuses on in her current practice. Locklear earned a BFA in Small Metals and Jewelry Design from ECU in 2012. She lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina and is a member of the Lumbee Tribe.
Add more merry at home with artful holiday decor
Whether it’s glamor and dazzle, or comfort and cozy you seek, bring holiday cheer home with these locally-sourced and inspired items available at the Mint Museum Store. From art-inspired decor to gifts for all ages and styles, there’s something for everyone on your gift list.
This year, Museum Store Sunday is extended to a full week. Save 29% on all regular-priced items in the store November 29-December 6. Just mention Museum Store Sunday at check out.
Mint curator Annie Carlano presents studios talks with artists Danny Lane, Tom Joyce, and Kate Malone at inaugural Intersect Chicago art fair
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Project Ten Ten Ten, The Mint Museum is presenting studio talks with three featured artists: Tom Joyce, Danny Lane, and Kate Malone. In conversation with Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design & Fashion at The Mint Museum, the artists will discuss the impact of The Mint Museum commissions on their work, as well current and future projects as part of Intersect Chicago.
More than 100 exhibitors are part of the Intersect Art and Design roster for the inaugural edition of Intersect Chicago, the virtual art fair replacing SOFA Chicago for the 2020 edition due to COVID-19. Intersect Chicago will be online from November 6-12, 2020.
The fair is the evolution of SOFA – Sculpture Objects Functional Art. It is the intersection of art, design, and objects, including daily highlights on glass, contemporary art, design, ceramic and craft, outsider art, fiber, and public art/sculpture. Intersect Chicago will feature institutions from around the globe, including The Mint Museum, with dedicated programming and a selection of galleries showcasing work of these disciplines. Cultural partners of Intersect Chicago will be featured on different days of the fair with special programming, talks, virtual tours, and more. See the full schedule.
Visit the Fair on Artsy
Intersect Chicago has partnered with Artsy, the global marketplace for discovering and collecting art. In addition to accessing the fair through IntersectChicago.com, visitors may also visit the fair through Artsy. As Intersect Chicago’s Main Marketplace Partner, Artsy provides a unique opportunity for exhibiting galleries to promote their virtual booths to Artsy’s global audience. Collectors can experience Intersect Chicago on Artsy to discover artists, save favorite works, view works on their home walls through Artsy’s AR mobile tool and directly purchase work from galleries.
The Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture recognize frontline workers and their families by offering free admission
Charlotte, NC — As a thank you to essential and frontline workers during the pandemic, The Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture are offering complimentary admission to health care providers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, custodial staff, transit workers, grocery store and restaurant employees, and their immediate family members through Dec. 31, 2020.
“Throughout the pandemic, frontline workers have helped to sustain health and well-being for our community. We want to recognize these efforts by offering an opportunity for these workers and their families to come and enjoy exploring art at our museums free of charge,” says Todd A. Herman, PhD, president and CEO at The Mint Museum.
Each museum has safety and capacity protocols in place to keep within COVID-19 guidelines. Visitors are encouraged to reserve tickets online in advance of their visit to support a low-touch environment. Tickets may be reserved on each of the museums’ websites. Walk-in visitors are welcome if space permits at that time. Guests are required to wear masks at each museum.
“The Bechtler enthusiastically joins the Mint and the Gantt in supporting our frontline essential workers in the Charlotte community,” says Todd D. Smith, executive director at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. “We hope this move allows more people to enjoy the restorative powers of the visual arts and museums in this time of crisis.”
The Mint Museum also is recognizing frontline and essential workers with the digital installation Messages for the City displayed on the Wells Fargo screen along Levine Avenue of the Arts and on the Legacy Union screen at 620 S. Tryon St. Artist-made images and animations recognize and celebrate the commitment of these workers during the COVID pandemic. The images play continuously, as part of the general video displays on both screens. The project originated with Times Squares Arts in partnership with For Freedoms, Poster House, and PRINT magazine and was first shown in Times Square last spring.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to our frontline workers for their selfless dedication during the pandemic. Being able to show our appreciation collectively as a museum community is the least that we can do in honor of their service,” says David Taylor, president and CEO of Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture.
For more information about safety protocols at each museum and hours, visit each museum website.
About The Mint Museum
Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations—Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street—the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.
Contact: Michele Huggins, media relations and communications project manager
Women’s artistry shines as Charlotte Symphony Orchestra concertos inaugurate Mint Museum Uptown’s newly installed Foragers
By Michael Solender
Charlotte Symphony Orchestra violinist Jenny Topilow could barely contain her enthusiasm when she learned she’d be performing in a special filmed concerto in the Mint Museum’s Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium uptown earlier this fall.
Topilow, along with three of her symphony colleagues, were part of a unique celebration showcasing the space and the brilliant newly installed 96-panel “stained glass” installation, Foragers, by contemporary American artist Summer Wheat.
“The beauty of great art is of importance to all of us,” Topilow says, “I love spending time at the Mint, go there often, and am excited to be part of this collaboration between two of Charlotte’s favorite cultural institutions.”
Bringing people together to enjoy beautiful artistry is at the core of the museum’s mission. As part of the Mint Museum’s 10th anniversary year uptown and in recognition of the challenges many in our community face getting out of their homes during the time of Covid, the Mint partnered with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in creating a short film featuring a pair of duets performed by symphony musicians.
The collaboration came at invitation of the Wells Fargo Foundation, longtime supporters of both cultural institutions. “Our foundation uses different mediums to help tell the story of impact and reach into the communities we serve,” says Jay Everette, Wells Fargo’s senior vice president of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. “The film represents a celebration of the power of women in art presented at the intersection of architecture, art and music. The film will ultimately be made available at no charge to the entire community.”
Each duet is performed under the backdrop of Summer Wheat’s transformative atrium window installation. Bathed in glowing jewel-toned light, the compelling musical performances are elevated by the sublimity of the space. Topilow and CSO harpist Andrea Mumm Trammell paired to play contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Part’s Fratres, an enthusiastic set of frenetic activity juxtaposed against contemplative stillness. Charlotte Symphony Orchestra players, cellist Sarah Markle and violaist Alaina Rea, teamed for the contemplative and reflecting duet Limestone and Felt, by contemporary North Carolina composer and Pulitzer Prize for music recipient Caroline Shaw.
“During this time of COVID, we want to provide content that is uplifting, hopeful, positive, and optimistic,” says Hillary Cooper, Chief Advancement Officer for The Mint Museum. “It’s a gift to our donors and partners and comes with a promise of a brighter future.”
Foragers was realized through the generous support of the Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artists Fund, a special fund developed to support broader representation of women artists in museum collections. The work showcases Wheat’s commitment to telling the stories of women as laborers and makers. She redefines historic artistic gender representation in ways that make her work resonate loudly today.
“We asked our musicians to find inspiration in Foragers, and to select music that would complement it,” says David Fisk, president, and CEO of Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. “To continue our focus on the impact of women in the arts, we feature two duets by female musicians, and one work by a contemporary female composer. I am pleased to highlight musicians from the Charlotte Symphony here at The Mint Museum for a performance that is at once classical and contemporary.”
For Topilow, the performance is a joyful experience at a happy junction of art and music.
“Everything right now, during Covid, has unique aspect,” Topilow says, “We wanted to create a large amount of powerful music with a small number of players and the result is truly special.”
Michael J. Solender is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, American City Business Journals, Metropolis Magazine, Business North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer, and others. He develops custom content and communications for businesses and organizations.