Collaged Memory Box
In this collage project inspired by Romare Bearden’s Evening of the Gray Cat, you can create an artistic Collaged Memory Box to celebrate a special person, place, or journey. Cut, paste, and collage your story on the lid, and keep favorite mementos inside the box.
As a child, Romare Bearden traveled to Charlotte each summer to visit his great-grandparents. Many years later, he created a series of art called “Mecklenburg Memories,” inspired by his recollections of North Carolina in the early decades of the 1900’s.
Can you find the gray cat in this scene?
“A work of art can always keep growing. You can always add something to it each time you see it.”
About the Artist:
Romare Bearden was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1911. At a young age, he moved with his parents to Harlem, in New York City to seek opportunities that weren’t available to African Americans in the south. As an adult, Bearden became known as one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. Combining images from magazines, prints, and colored and textured papers to create collage “paintings,” his art told many stories about the Black experience, classical literature and art, and cultural history.
• Shoe box, or any box with a lid
• Piece of paper cut the size of the box lid
• Small paintbrush to paint glue onto paper
• Small container for glue (add a drop or two of water)
• Collage material cut from magazines, catalogs, recycled artwork, envelopes, photos, greeting cards etc.
• Optional: White paper and markers or paint to create your own collage paper
To make some of your own hand-painted papers like Bearden did, use markers or paints to create patterned and colorful papers. When they dry, cut them into shapes or add to the background. Check out the other Mint Museum Create at Home projects for some inspiration.
Gather your supplies. Look through the collage materials for images and patterns that appeal to you or bring back a memory. Draw out any elements you would like to add.
Cut out your shapes and elements, and start arranging them onto the box lid, or onto a piece of paper the size of your lid that you’ll glue down to the lid. Layer and overlap the pieces to add more depth to your collage, and play with different placements.
Once you’ve chosen your final arrangement, it’s time to glue. Put some glue in a small container and add a few drops of water to thin it. Using a paintbrush to apply the glue, paint a thin layer of glue to the back of each piece or to the surface, making sure to secure the edges.
When you’re finished gluing, look at your collage and think about the images you chose and how they relate to your memories. What feelings come up? This gray cat feels proud that his picture made it into our collage!
Option: Write a note, short story, or poem about your project inspiration and drop it in the box. Our project was inspired by fun memories of traveling with a good friend.
Challenge: Fill the background with a grid of horizontal and vertical rectangles of different sizes and colors, then build your collage on top of it.
Simplify: Instead of a box, collage onto a colorful piece of paper. This makes it easier to fill your space.
Learn More: There are so many great resources about Romare Bearden! Below are a few. As you view his art, look for some of these themes:
Trains, large hands, birds, musicians, windows, cats, roosters, the sun, the moon
• YouTube Video: Trains, Snakes, and Guitars- The Art of Romare Bearden
The Mint Museum From Home is Presented By Chase.
Celebration photos of our reopening
Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph re-opened to the public with a celebratory weekend of music and free admission. Look back at photos captured during the celebration.
Photos by Alex Cason. All weekend celebration activities were sponsored by Chase.
The Mint Museum presents new and never-before-seen objects from its collection in the exhibition New Days, New Works
Charlotte, N.C. When The Mint Museum is once again able to open its doors, we welcome visitors to experience a dynamic exhibition New Days, New Works that features more than 80 works of art from the Mint’s permanent collection. Many of the works of art were recently acquired or have never been on view at the Mint before.
The exhibition, on view through January 3, 2021 in the Level 4 Brand Galleries at Mint Museum Uptown, is a collaboration between all of the Mint’s curators, featuring works from the American, contemporary, craft, design and fashion and decorative arts collections. New Days, New Works is a striking juxtaposition of color, material, time and place, and the exhibition design showcases the broad diversity of pieces that define the Mint.
Mere feet from African textiles made from bark by Bakuba weavers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a sprawling abstract sofa by Brazilian brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana. A stunning collection of 19th-century British ceramics are installed around the corner from a striking suite of black-and-white photographs from a collaboration between artists Carolyn DeMeritt and Pinky/MM Bass. And Pilar Albarracín’s Ceilings for Offerings, a large-scale installation made up of hundreds of colorful flamenco dresses, echoes the bright hues of Brooklyn-based artist Summer Wheat’s contemporary acrylic painting With Side With Shoulder that greets guests upon entering the exhibition.
“A harmony, not dissonance, resonates amongst all these disparate and different objects, and that speaks to the commonality we all have as human beings,” says Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, the Mint’s chief curator and curator of contemporary art. “No matter the human condition, people want to find a way to live their best life, with beauty and security, and no matter the technological innovations we may invent, human beings are always intrinsically tethered to the natural world.”
Each object in New Days, New Works celebrates the relationships with individual donors, corporations, foundations and support groups that are all part of The Mint Museum community.
“New Days, New Works is an opportunity for us to show some of the new works that have come into the collection in the last few years, as well as to highlight those donors who have generously shared their treasures with the Charlotte community by donating them to the Mint,” says Todd A Herman, PhD, President and CEO of The Mint Museum. “The work is diverse and demonstrates the many areas of interest among our supporters. We also hope that by reading about the various collectors, it will inspire others to begin their own collections, which can start at a wide range of price points, styles and materials.”
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.
Unique art prints made from bubble wrap
Who doesn’t love bubble wrap? Here is a simple printmaking activity using just bubble wrap markers, and paper. Children of all ages can color designs onto any type of bubble packaging and make prints. The prints can then be used to make cards, wrapping paper or displayed as art! The possibilities for creativity are endless. If you can keep yourself from popping the bubbles, you can rinse them off and use them again and again!
This project was inspired by Bubble Wrap by Courtney Starrett, on view at Mint Museum Uptown.
- Copy paper or construction paper
- Bubble wrap in assorted textures/sizes, cut into pieces or shapes
- Assorted colored markers
Begin by choosing a piece of bubble wrap. You can compare the different types and sizes and talk about the properties of air in the bubbles and how they provide cushioning. Children can draw and color on the bubble wrap to create a color pattern or something more abstract. Notice how the ink from the marker does not get absorbed into the plastic. Don’t wait too long to make your print or the ink will dry.
Flip your bubble wrap over and press it firmly onto the paper to create your print! There might be enough ink to make another print and each one will be totally different. Experiment with the different bubble wrap types if you have them. Older children can draw designs onto big bubble packaging.
Any image will be printed in reverse so lettering would need to be drawn backwards.
You can extend this activity by looking for shapes and patterns in your prints and drawing in details to turn them into faces, animals, and more. Now you can pop a few bubbles for fun! Seamus the cat was very helpful until… POP!
The Mint Museum From Home is Presented By Chase.
Career Chat with Mint Staff
Get a sneak peek of our newest exhibition New Days, New Works
Latin Music @ the Mint
HB2 Squirrels shake up expectations of social norms, shine spotlight on LGBTQIA+ issues
HB2 Squirrels, a pair of gender-symbol-wielding squirrels covered in multicolored war paint greet visitors in the main entryway of Mint Museum Uptown. The squirrels, part of The Mint Museum collection, pose a striking opposition to expectations of social norms and what one expects to be met with in a museum.
The HB2 Squirrels were inspired by North Carolina’s House Bill 2, commonly referred to as the “bathroom bill.” HB2 required residents to use the bathroom in public facilities that matched the gender on their birth certificate, launching a national outcry over civil liberties. The bill was criticized for impeding the rights of transgender people and other people in the LGBTQIA+ community who do not identify strictly within the gender binary, and was later repealed by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper.
Artist Michelle Erickson, outraged, took to her potter’s wheel. The result: two salt-glazed stoneware squirrels, grasping the gender symbols—one drenched in the colors of the American flag, the other in the colors of the LGBTQIA+ rainbow flag. “Congressional acts are temporary,” she says “but art is forever.”
The composition of the squirrels also was crucial. The squirrels face each other, seemingly holding their assigned gender symbols as weapons used to fight one another. The female symbol, a circle with a cross stemming down, is inverted and held by the squirrel to mirror the way the male symbol is held. Erickson said inverting the symbol was a call to uprooting the traditional view of women as a shield.
The color of the squirrels is also indicative of the message being sent. Both have rainbow colored lines covering their face and body. Erickson said she wanted to use the rainbow motif instead of the colors of the transgender flag, to place a gentle reminder that transgender individuals are included as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The squirrels also have different base bodies. The choice to make one black and one white was a conscious decision to ground it in societal tensions involving race, and to highlight the different viewpoints that stem from race within the LGBTQIA+ community.
When working with a new piece Erickson says she “allows the work to take [her.]” She starts with a design, but as the piece of clay is being shaped, it gradually takes on a new form. The overall product is as much a reflection of the process as it is the original idea.
HB2 Squirrels are a part of the past and present, she says, representing the processes of the Moravian potters, as well as speaking to the heightened political atmosphere surrounding LGBTQIA+ issues, and specifically the HB2 bill that was introduced in North Carolina in 2016. The resulting work of art challenged norms through revitalizing old processes and questioning societal implications.
The idea that became the HB2 Squirrels began as a study of a set of figural bottles from the 18th or 19th century. Erickson says the bottles originally intrigued her due to their lack of clear function and their unique construction. The bottles’ unglazed interior and overall shape indicated that they were made using a cast or mold. During her artist residency at STARworks, Erickson began using traditional techniques with salt-glazed stoneware to see if she could create a similar design. The original designs of the squirrels were modified to be reflective of the modern era.