From basalt to charcoal: don’t miss this gallery-sketching time lapse inside the Mint’s ‘Classic Black’ exhibition Read More
5 podcasts that make us excited about art, even if we can’t see it
Love any and all museums? Museum Confidential gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of your favorite museums. From an interview with Killer Mike, High Museum Board Member, to chatting about visitor data with Colleen Dilenschneider, this one goes out to all the proud museum nerds out there. Listen on NPR
True Crime, rivals, and shock value? No, this isn’t the next Netflix docu-series. It’s ArtCurious, an art history podcast hosted by Jennifer Dasal that is sure to delight and awe like no school art history class ever could. Listen on the ArtCurious website or via Apple podcasts
Brought to you by Hyperallergic, an art forum and website created in 2009, Art Movements podcast brings you all the up-to-date happenings from across the art world. Hosted by Hrag Vartanian, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Hyperallergic, Art Movements talks about everything from what artists need to know about taxes, to art history, to arts pop culture and everything in between. Listen on the Hyperallergic website.
These documentaries will help you get your art fix from home
Movies are one sure-fire way to pass the time in our new don’t-leave-the-house era. And because our passion for art doesn’t fade away in a crisis, here are a few art and design documentaries to help you get your art fix until we are able to open our doors once again.
Craft in America
The Peabody Award-winning series on PBS explores America’s creative spirit through the language and traditions of the handmade. The series takes viewers on a journey to the artists, origins and techniques of American craft. Two artists in our collection, Diego Romero and Cristina Cordova, are featured on the episode “Identity.”
Where it’s streaming: PBS. https://www.craftinamerica.org/episodes
Exit Through The Gift Shop
Talk a stroll through the ever-evolving world of street art. This documentary follows Thierry Guetta, a French native living in Los Angeles as he explores his own work, and the work of famous street artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey (whose work was featured in the Mint’s Under Construction exhibition). Street art also plays a huge role in our special exhibition Classic Black, which combines the work of local mural artist Owl with the basalt sculptures of Josiah Wedgwood.
Where it’s streaming: Amazon Prime, Google Play and digital rental services.
Abstract: The Art of Design
A look beyond blueprints and computers into the art and science of design, showcasing great designers from every discipline whose work shapes our world.
Where it’s streaming: Netflix.
Out of the Fire: The Art and Science of Ceramics
Join Dr. Alexis G. Clare, professor of glass science at the New York State College, Alfred University, on a journey of ceramics from past to present.
Where it’s streaming: PBS.
14 more books to delve into while staying in during COVID-19
Inspiration for great reads keeps coming from the Mint staff. Following are 14 more books to help fill the void and curiosity while you are at home. Order print copies from local bookseller Park Road Books for curbside pickup, or find digital copies on Audible, Hoopla, and Overdrive.
Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures by Cynthia Saltzman
“This book answers the question: How did big American art museums acquire so much European art? Wealthy Gilded Age American entrepreneurs jostled with one another to collect and bring known works of art across the Atlantic — Rembrandts, Raphaels, etc.
—Joel Smeltzer, Head of School and Gallery Programs
The Popes of Avignon: A Century in Exile by Edwin Mullins
As an Italian Renaissance scholar, I have usually looked at this period in the history of the Catholic Church from the Italian perspective and not the French. Well written and a good read.
—Todd Herman, President and CEO
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m spending lots of time reading to my kids these days. This week we started reading “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien to my eldest daughter. She may be a bit young for some of the material, but our family has been enjoying reading a “big girl book” nightly. It provides us all a chance to escape, and have an adventure without leaving our house — something that is becoming more challenging everyday. This copy actually belonged to my mother when she was a child, and she read it to me when I was young, so it has been well loved.
—Rebecca O’Malley, Exhibition Coordinator
The Hundred Story Home by Kathy Izard
I saw Kathy Izard speak and was so inspired by her story that I bought her book. I started reading it this week and was reminded of how helping others changes us. Her work with homelessness in the Charlotte area led to the city-wide effort to build Moore Place. This book has reminded me of the importance of listening to your inner voice. It’s helpful for us, especially now, to find ways to practice compassion – even if we have to do it with a mask on.
—Maggie Burgan, Public Programs Coordinator
Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher by Kerry Greenwood
The adventures of a sassy flapper in 1920s Australia who just happens to be a private detective. She’s daring, independent, and smarter than all the men around her. What’s not to like?
—Ellen Show, Archivist
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake is from the same author as A Handmaid’s Tale, and is centered around a man living in the post-apocalyptic ruins of a world he helped create, after humanity is near-entirely killed off by a bio-engineered plague. It’s the first book in the MaddAddam trilogy, and was a very good read.
—Benjamin Elrod, Graphic Designer
A Little History of The World by E.H. Gombrich
I keep this book on my nightstand. It was recommended to me by one of my favorite art history professors. It’s not filled with names and dates, but is a collection of 40 short chapters about human experience and achievement — a fairy tale-like history of the world. Perfect for young readers and fun to read aloud to smaller children.
—Maggie Burgan, Public Programs Coordinator
Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard
This enchanting book uses a mouthwatering metaphor to unlock the magic in interior spaces. The chapters delve into the hidden life of the house, rooms, nests, shells, attics and cellars. Adult readers will enjoy sharing excerpts and helpIng their family to find and savor familiar spaces. Miniatures and shells are some of my favorite chapters. (Free download available.)
—Cynthia Moreno, Director of Learning and Engagement
On Looking by Alexandria Horowitz
A walker’s guide to the art of observation. I am enjoying it because Horowitz shows is how much more there is to see if we only take the time to look.
—Diane Lowry, Guest Services Associate
My 25 Years in Provence-Reflections of Then and Now by Peter Mayle
Easy, fun read that breaks up the more academic books. Wonderfully written.
—Todd Herman, President & CEO
Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith
I always try to have one book of poetry going for when I need an escape from reality, but I only have five minutes to make the trip. Tracy K. Smith’s books have been in rotation for a while, but her Life on Mars collection is a favorite because it not only plays off her love for David Bowie, but the title is my favorite Bowie song. Also, rereading it, I’m surprised by how much it captures the hope in the bleak unpredictability of every day. Take the end of her poem, Sci-Fi:
. . . Weightless, unhinged,
Eons from even our own moon, we’ll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once
And for all, scrutable and safe.
—Jen S. Edwards, PhD, Chief Curator and Curator or Contemporary Arts
Powership: Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal, and Achieve Any Outcome by Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank
I have followed Daymond’s career and wanted to hear his advice on taking control of your destiny. So far it’s been lots of good tips and advice on how to make connections. It’s good listening while we work from home.
—Thesha Woodley, Associate Director of Visitor Experience and Membership
Just for Fun
The Dangerous Book for Dogs by Rex & Sparky
We have four legged “kids,” so just for fun we are reading The Dangerous Book for Dogs by Rex & Sparky.
—Lori Rogers, Visitor Experience and Membership Coordinator
I’ve not really been able to concentrate on a book, but I am loving magazines for a bit of respite from the surreal week we’ve had. The colorful and inspiring pages of House Beautiful, Artist magazine and Traveler from AAA have been a feast to the eye.
—Angela Lubincky, Guest Services Associate
12 Books Mint Staffers Are Reading During These Crazy COVID-19 Times
We all need some inspiration for how to make the most of the time while home. From artful reads to novels and nonfiction, here’s what the Mint staff is reading. And though we know a run to the library is out, check out Audible, Hoopla, and Overdrive for digital versions.
Of Cats and Men: Profiles of History’s Great Cat-Loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers, and Statesmen by Sam Kalda
My niece sent me this book, assuming I would enjoy it because No. 1, I’m a man, and No. 2, I have six cats. She was right! This small, but completely delightful book profiles 30 famous and talented men — Mark Twain, Romare Bearden, Freddie Mercury, and Sir Isaac Newton, to name a few — and their love for their cats. Sam Kalda’s breezy, anecdote-laden write-ups, and wonderful color illustrations make this the purr-fect publication to pick up this reader’s mood every time he opens it.
—Brian Gallagher, Curator of Decorative Arts
Vincent Van Gogh: Letters from Provence by Martin Bailey
An important moment in the history of this region of France. I always think it’s very important to hear the firsthand accounts from historical figures whenever possible. You get to know them better and often gain insights into their daily lives that never make it into biographies.
—Todd A Herman, PhD, President and CEO
Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel
I first began this book because of my love and curiosity for the Abstract Expressionist and the movement that changed the art world with swirls of color, often rooted in emotion rather than subject matter. But more specifically, I dove head first in this book because it features five of the women that passionately threw themselves into the middle of this movement. These artists, against all odds, used art to understand the chaos that surrounded them during a time when the world was changing drastically. When I first started reading it, we were not yet in the midst of a pandemic, but now as I read, it gives me hope that on the other side of our current situation there will be a lot of beautiful creativity… Who knows, maybe even a new art movement.
—HannaH Crowell, Exhibition Designer
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
This book is about girls who applied radium to wash their faces before it was known how dangerous it was. Great lesson in history.
—Lyndee Champion Ivey, Executive Assistant
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I am reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. So far the book is about a young boy who lost his mother in a tragic accident at the Met. Theo, the young boy, survives and takes a small painting out of the museum when he escapes. The book is about love and loss, and the different people that come into Theo’s life. This is a book I haven’t been able to put down.
—Martha Snell, Grants Manager
The Girl with the Louding Voice: A Novel by Abi Daré
I just started Abi Daré’s The Girl with the Louding Voice, one of my Book of the Month Club picks. (NOTE: BOTM is perfect for self-quarantined book lovers.) It’s about a 14-year-old Nigerian girl who is first sold into marriage, then into servanthood, but remains determined to find her voice — and her future.
—Caroline Portillo, Director of Marketing
The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
The One Thing takes the position that multitasking is ineffective and that we should concentrate on one goal at a time. The core idea is to determine what single achievement is most important in getting you toward your goals. I began reading this about 10 days ago in response to my ever-growing, unmanageable to-do list. As all of our lives go through rapid change, I’m grateful to have the reminder to slow my brain down and focus on the most important things.
—Katherine Steiner, Chief Registrar
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I started reading I Am Malala last week. It was a gift from my boss, who knows how much I love nonfiction stories, especially about women. Here’s a little summary: “When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. She was shot in the head while riding the bus home from school.
—Kurma Murrain, Community Programs Coordinator
Becoming by Michele Obama
This is the April discussion book for my book club. I have been a member of The No Name Book Club for over 20 years. While wine is an important part of our meetings, this is a serious group of readers. If one is present, it’s understood that you read the book! I consequently make it to about half of the meetings per year.
—Amy Grigg, Manager and Buyer for Retail Operations
The Complete Book of Garlic by Ted Jordan Meredith
I am currently re-reading The Complete Book of Garlic by Ted Jordan Meredith because:
- Garlic is one of the most fascinating crops. What else do you plant in November?
- The photographs alone are worth taking the time to crack this book open.
- It is calming to be gardening and reading about gardening during these stressful times.
—Eric Speer, Associate Registrar
FOR THE KIDS
Poe Won’t Go by Kelly DiPucchio
Poe is a friendly elephant, but when he decides to just stop moving in the middle of the town, everyone is in an uproar about how to get him moving along. After lots of silly attempts by well-meaning grown-ups, one kind girl takes the time to talk with Poe and discovers the very reason he won’t go. A story of kindness and friendship, and favorite of my 4-year-old.
—Michele Huggins, Media Relations and Communications Project Manager
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle
A recommendation from my 21-month-old son, Jacob. It’s a tale about a truck who heads to the big city and encounters lots of traffic and me-first personalities. Chaos ensues, and our protagonist has to use his country sensibilities to effect change. Jacob’s passion for “beep beep” is indefatigable. Mine? Well …
—Caroline Portillo, Director of Marketing
The Mint Museum’s history is women’s history
By Ellen Show
When the Mint Museum opened its doors on Oct. 22, 1936, it was thanks to the efforts of a passionate sisterhood devoted to bringing art to the Charlotte community. At the helm was the Mint’s fairy godmother Mary Myers Dwelle. Hailing from a family who made it their mission to advance culture in Charlotte, it was fitting that she was the driving force behind the creation of the first art museum in North Carolina. As Charlotte Woman’s Club art department chair, Dwelle organized art exhibitions and lectures that were eagerly attended.
Recognizing the need to give the arts a permanent Charlotte home, sights were set on the historic-but-condemned U.S. Mint building on Tryon Street. The task of transforming the Mint into an art museum was daunting until a passionate speech for saving the U.S. Mint building was presented in February 1933 at a luncheon hosted by Dwelle. The speech inspired a spontaneous donation, and a significant sum was given toward the purchase of the building—that was already in demolition—for rebuilding on another site. The generosity was contagious. Within two days, the required funds were raised and paid to the demolition contractor.
A developer donated the Eastover neighborhood land on which Mint Museum Randolph sits today. Dwelle continued with her determination to establish the art museum. She tirelessly wrote letters to government aid agencies from Raleigh to Washington, D.C. lobbying for reconstruction funds. In her Mint Museum Association leadership roles, she coordinated the rebuilding process, built relationships with other arts organizations and garnered public support. She also courted art acquisitions, including the now iconic portrait of Queen Charlotte donated by Jane Hall Liddell Battle. The Mint Museum opened its doors three years later with an inaugural gala. Dwelle’s determined efforts made what seemed impossible, possible, and her devotion to the arts is the perfect way to celebrate Women’s History Month this March.
This story first appeared in Spring 2020 issue of Inspired, the Mint Museum’s member magazine.