6 common misconceptions about visiting The Mint Museum — and what to know instead
By Rubie Britt-Height and Michele Huggins
An art museum is a building that houses artworks, but moreover it’s a place for anyone in the community who enjoys viewing art to visit. Following are a few misconceptions debunked about visiting The Mint Museum.
Misconception: I have to dress up to visit The Mint Museum
Truth: Come as you are! Just like art is not one size fits all, neither is individual style. From casual T-shirts, jeans and sneakers to suits and ties, skirts or sweatshirts, it’s all good at the Mint.
Misconception: I have to know about art to visit the museum
Truth: You don’t have to know anything about art to visit the Mint. While learning about abstract paintings, fashion, ceramic art, furniture or hand-blown glass, we simply want guests to enjoy exploring the collections and galleries. Thanks to AVO Insights and the Arts & Science Council, we recently unrolled augmented reality into the museum galleries. By hovering your phone over select works of art, a video about the artwork appears. Until you can experience it in person, check out the videos by following @themintmuseum on Instagram.
Misconception: The Mint Museum is only uptown
Truth: The Mint Museum Uptown celebrates 10 years in October 2020 at Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street, but Mint Museum Randolph is the original Mint Museum location, opening its doors 1936. Located at 2730 Randolph Road, Mint Museum Randolph houses Native American, Fashion, Decorative Arts, and Art of the Ancient Americas collections, in addition to the most recent exhibition Classic Black: The Basalt Sculptures of Josiah Wedgwood and His Contemporaries on view through Jan. 3, 2021. Modern and Contemporary Art, American Art, European Art, and Craft+Design collections fill the galleries at Mint Museum Uptown.
Misconception: All the art at The Mint Museum is old and stuffy
Truth: Collections at the Mint are diverse and recognize the talent of artists of all ages and backgrounds. Constellation CLT showcases artists throughout the city and region with installations rotating three times per year in four places at Mint Museum Uptown: in the entrance; at the foot of the atrium escalator; and on the landings of the Mezzanine and Level 4.
Misconception: There’s nothing for my young children to do at the Mint
Truth: Through self-guided ARTventures scavenger hunts, and interactive play opportunities at the Lewis Family Gallery*, there’s something for the young ones at the Mint. Stroller tours are available for parents that want to enjoy art with little ones in tow. Plus there is a specially designated room for nursing mothers. At Mint Museum Randolph, children can run and play in the outdoor park, or plan a picnic under a giant shade tree near the rose garden before touring the galleries.
*Due to many touch points, the Lewis Family Gallery will remain closed after the museum re-opens while we implement safety precautions during COVID-19.
Misconception: You have to be a member to visit
Truth: Single-day admission tickets are available, and museum admission is free Wednesday from 5-9 p.m. at each museum location. Live at the Mint events are free to the public and feature local musicians and performing artists, as well as artist discussions. Check the calendar for the event schedule. Membership does, however, have benefits. From special events to discounts on programming, see if a membership is right for you.
Connecting communities through cultural initiatives
By Rubie Britt-Height, director of community relations
From free, live events to educational engagement with youth, the Mint strives to make art accessible for all community members. Following are just a few of the programs dedicated to welcoming community to explore collections at The Mint Museum.
Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program
The Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program guides youth grades 4-12 via art education and artist-led projects in a weekly after school program in the Grier Heights community located across from Mint Museum Randolph. To date over 500 youth have engaged in Grier Height’s unique and intriguing art activities that encourage self-esteem, respect, wise decision-making, critical thinking, and learning that greatness is measured by service. Participants are mentored by a team of community leaders and accomplished artists-educators.
Participants express themselves through art modules on writing, drawing, quilting, and portraiture as they learn about etiquette, financial and cultural literacy, dental and personal hygiene. Participants also visit both Mint locations to view the Mint’s collection and exhibitions, engage in art activities, attend theatrical and music productions at the Blumenthal and the Mint, take spring break trips to the State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, and State Buildings, and visit city parks and highlights.
Programs attract both the Latin American community and everyone interested in Latin culture take place at the Mint all year around. Programs like Mint to Move, Bilingual Stories and Music, and Con a de Arte welcome a host of audiences including families, young adults, professionals, adults, and artists.
Mint to Move Cultural Dance Night
One of the hottest events in town held on one of the best dance floors in Charlotte, Mint to Move Cultural Dance Night invites participants to put on their dancing shoes and experience Latin, African and Caribbean music and dance. Based on the artwork May I Have This Dance by Sheila Hicks, the cultural program unites the community on the dance floor with veteran DJ Carols Lebron mixing a repertoire of international music, including Afro-House, Afro-Cuban, and Latin-American dance rhythms. Guests enjoy free dance lessons from local dance companies like Oneaka Dance Company, and Rumbao Dance Company, and samba, salsa, bachata, cha cha, line dance, and step to other dance forms relative to various global communities.
Bilingual Stories and Music
Children age 6 and younger and their families enjoy coming to Mint Randolph for bilingual stories in Spanish and English. And it’s all free! Bilingual Stories and Music allows kids and their caregivers to learn Spanish with musical instruments, puppets, toys and games and songs featuring the musical team, Criss Cross Mango Sauce.
Mint Musica’ and Poesia
Mint Música and Poesía Café is a bi-annual program that features talented poets, dancers, and musicians from Charlotte’s Latin community. The program celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with performing artists like Alma de la Luna and the NC Brazilian Dancers. It also ties in with the Latin American artwork in the collection and special exhibitions.
ArtSí – Con A de Arte (A is for Art)
Through a close relationship with the local Latino arts community, The Mint Museum provides support for the Con A de Arte (A is for Art) event as part of a partnership with ArtSí Charlotte.
Con A de Arte is an annual event that aims to showcase the work of local artists from the Latin American community in the Charlotte area through presentations modeled after the TED Conferences, which include visual art presentations, and performances by musicians, dancers, poets, and actors.
Implementing live recordings of community programs has opened a new audience for the Mint. Record viewership has given access to the Mint as it continues to reach more diverse audiences. Live presentations shown on the Mint website include:
- Requiem for Mother Emanuel: From Tragedy to Triumph with Dr. Leo Twiggs
- African Dancing and Drumming with the Oneaka Dance Company
- Pre-Charlotte Jazz Festival: Jazzin’ on the Terrace with The Juke Joint, featuring Vocalist Nicci Canada, Spoken Word Artist Quentin Talley, and Visual Artist & Live Painter Curtis King