The Mint Museum celebrates the life of Dr. Francis Robicsek, a pioneering heart surgeon, art collector and Renaissance man

The Mint Museum celebrates the life of Dr. Francis Robicsek, a pioneering heart surgeon, art collector and Renaissance man

It is with heavy—yet grateful—hearts that The Mint Museum recognizes and celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Francis Robicsek, who passed away peacefully at his Charlotte home on April 3, at the age of 94.

Robicsek was best known for being a world-renowned heart surgeon who performed some of Charlotte’s first open-heart operations. Over his 64-year career, he performed the city’s first heart transplant, founded the Sanger Clinic (now Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute), and was known for his steady hand — and improvisation — in some extraordinary situations. (Consider this: On New Year’s Eve in 1964, when a fellow doctor’s heart stopped on a hospital elevator, Robicsek proceeded to cut the man’s chest open with suture scissors, massage the heart, and then shock it back into rhythm with the cord from a table lamp.)

But the doctor who fled Soviet control in his native country of Hungary in 1956 with his six-months-pregnant wife, Lilly, was also a student of the world. Robicsek saw beauty in the old and was an avid art collector who generously helped establish, grow and develop the Mint’s pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, and European painting collections. Many of the works of art are on display in Mint Museum Randolph’s Lilly and Francis Robicsek Galleries.

“I only had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Robicsek once, but he was a figure who had an aura of well-deserved respect, almost reverence,” says Mint President and CEO Todd. A Herman, PhD. “And if you paid attention, he had a sense of humor that those willing to see past the aura would appreciate—with a twinkle in his eye and a slight rise to the edges of his mouth.”

Robicsek became interested in archaeology in the 1960s. “I have never enjoyed a vacation where you just go and sit around, and I have never enjoyed walking around a golf course,” Robicsek wrote in the 2008 book Pioneers of Cardiac Surgery, by Dr. William S. Stoney. “I have always needed an excuse or a reason for going from A to B.”

So it was auspicious when Robicsek saw an ad in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery for a hospital in Honduras that needed a surgeon with experience in tuberculosis surgery. Robicsek began spending summer vacations there. And when the hospital could only handle one thoracotomy per day, he spent his downtime “prowling around the ruins.”

For decades, Robicsek worked to expand healthcare facilities and operations in Central American countries, including Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Belize and El Salvador. He helped build pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, and he raised money to take pieces of equipment deemed obsolete by U.S. standards and have them refurbished and shipped to Central America, where he’d also train staff how to use them. Then, whenever possible, Robicsek would change out of his scrubs, pull out his camera, and go exploring.

Of course, he couldn’t have done it without Lilly. A medical doctor herself—she did two residencies in pathology and pediatrics—Lilly retired from medicine to help raise the four children and afford her husband the opportunity to work, study and travel around the world, often with Lilly by his side.

Dorie Reents-Budet, PhD—a former visiting curator for native art of the Americas at the Mint—spent years working with Robicsek and exploring his vast collection. But they first met in 1982 when Robicsek attended the Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop at the University of Texas at Austin. Reents-Budet was a graduate student at the time and was helping put on the workshop

The crowd was an insular group of art history and anthropology scholars from the U.S. and Canada. Reents-Budet, eager to make sure all attendees felt welcome, offered to drive Robicsek to all of the after-hours workshop cocktail parties, to introduce him to her professors. “It was memorable getting him to fold up those long legs so he could fit in my 1967 Nova,” she says.

Robicsek authored five books on Mayan culture and art, and just as he was a pioneer in the medical field, he was also an early adopter in the field of art history. He was publishing books on pre-Columbian art long before the National Gallery of Art even recognized it as art and not just a facet of anthropology, says Reents-Budet.

To Robicsek, she adds, these works were equally as poignant as any Grecian ceramic, Egyptian artifact, or Renaissance painting.

Michael Tarwater, formerly the president and CEO of Carolinas Healthcare System, first met Robicsek in June 1981. Tarwater was a vice president at the time and part of his purview included overseeing the hospital’s cath lab, where doctors studied the heart. He and Robicsek became fast friends, and for a period of about 15 years, Tarwater and his wife, Ann, would travel the world with Robicsek and Lilly—from Romania, where the ancient monasteries are painted with exquisite Biblical scenes, to Antigua, Guatemala, home of the world’s largest Easter celebration.

“To the very end, he had this beautiful youthful curiosity about life that you just wanted to tap into,” says Ann Tarwater, one of the Mint’s Board of Trustees. “He wanted to show you the world.”

That sense of curiosity didn’t wane after Robicsek retired in 1998. If anything, it picked up. “He was an inventor, an innovator, a scientist, a scholar, a humanitarian,” says Michael Tarwater. “And,” he added, “a prankster.”

In the mid-1980s, Carolinas Medical Center experienced a few power failures, which always caused a scramble, Tarwater said. A few days after one, the hospital administration announced to staff that they’d found the problem and resolved it. Afterward, Robicsek stopped by Tarwater’s office for a quick chat.

Minutes after Robicsek left, Tarwater saw the power go out yet again. “The first thing you think about are all the people in the operating room, all the things we rely on, all the people on ventilators,” he said.

Frantic, Tarwater raced out of his office. That’s when he realized that the power outage was isolated. The mischievous Robicsek had found the circuit breaker for just the administrative offices and flipped the switch.

Francis and Lilly Robicsek took every opportunity to travel with their children—Steven, Susanne, John and Frances—and later with their five grandchildren. They instilled a love of art, music and culture in all of them.

Robicsek’s daughter Frances Furr, the youngest of the four children, studied art history in college and went on to be an art teacher, a member of the Delhom Service League, and a docent at the Mint.

Furr recalls the time when, as a lover of North Carolina ceramics, she took her father to Seagrove to view the pottery. “In that thick Hungarian accent, he said, ‘There aren’t any cracks in it. I don’t like it,’” Furr recalls, laughing.

He later recanted, she says, but his premise remained: There was beauty and value in old things. Whether traveling the world with family and friends or simply browsing a flea market or art gallery with his children, Robicsek espoused the power of learning about the past, of finding beauty in artifacts.

Two weeks before her wedding day, 27 years ago, Robicsek took Furr to the jungles of Mexico, where he was on a mission to photograph Mayan ruins. There were no hot showers, they slept in hammocks, and she remembers looking out the back of a truck and realizing they weren’t on a road. But then they arrived at the most amazing old mounds in the middle of nowhere.

“I love how he taught me to see life through the lens of culture and art,” says Furr. “And that I’m very grateful for.”

We at the Mint are also grateful to Robicsek and his family for sharing the life and legacy of the remarkable doctor, buried in his scrubs, who saved lives and championed art in equal measure.

Sincerely,

Todd A. Herman, PhD
President & CEO

Remembering Dr. David C. Driskell, a pioneering artist and scholar

 

The Mint remembers Dr. David C. Driskell, a pioneering artist and scholar

We are losing many great minds and kind hearts in these spring months and while we may not be able to recognize all, we will try to celebrate the lives of artists, collectors and patrons who have had direct impact on the museum and our community. One such man of national and international acclaim is artist and scholar Dr. David C. Driskell, who passed away of coronavirus on April 1, 2020 in Washington D.C. at the age of 88. His touring exhibition Narratives of African American Art and Identity was on view at The Mint Museum in 2002.

Driskell was born on June 7, 1931 in Eatonton, Ga. His paternal Gullah lineage was from the Georgia Sea Islands. His family moved to Hollis in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina when he was a child. His parents were both  “makers”—his father, a blacksmith and Baptist preacher; his mother, a basket weaver and quilter. Educated in a small segregated school house, his teachers recognized his intellect and passion for art and encouraged him to attend college.  He tells the story, with great humor, of traveling to Washington, D.C.,  enthusiastically arriving at Howard University totally unaware of admission procedures, determined to “attend” college.  He sat in on classes until someone helped him officially enroll. His passion, his determination to learn, create, and teach never faulted.

Like his parents, Dr. Driskell also remained a maker. A figurative painter, his work had the loose brushwork and bold colors of the abstract expressionist painters who dominated the galleries in his youth. He became nationally recognized and lauded as early as 1956 with his modern day Pietà, Behold Thy Son, a memorial for the brutally murdered Emmett Till. The painting now hangs near Dr. Driskell’s Washington D.C. home, at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Covid-19 virus abruptly ended his life; however, his legacy—his indelible contribution to the canon of American art history—will live on through his art and through his many publications, scholarly dissertations, lectures, and the generations of art historians that he spawned.

Driskell modeled himself after his mentor, Dr. James A. Porter, who established the art department at Howard University and pioneered the field of African American Art History. As heir to Porter’s groundbreaking work in the field, Driskell pursued his study, achieving his Bachelor of Arts from Howard University in 1955 and an MFA from Catholic University in 1962. He also studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1953 and Art History at The Hague, Netherlands in 1964.

Driskell remained an important teacher as well as scholar. He taught at Talladega College in Alabama, Howard University, Fiske University in Tennessee, Bowdoin College in Maine, the University of Michigan, Queens College, and Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, before joining the faculty of the Department of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1977. He remained affiliated with the school through his retirement in 1998. In 2001, the school established the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora. The school reflects its namesake: Terry Gips, Director of The Art Gallery University of Maryland, states, “Driskell evidences his commitment to enhancing the study of art by emphasizing the multicultural contributions made by Native Americans, Black, Asian and European artists.”

Rubie Britt-Height, Director of Community Relations at The Mint Museum, first met Driskell while on staff at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. “Dr. Driskell was often involved with us—sharing, advising, and supporting,” says Britt-Height. “He would lend commentary on a work or an exhibition, and we’d inquisitively seek his wisdom. And of course, he had great ties to Loïs Mailou Jones, his Howard University art instructor.”

Driskell advised esteemed collections, and in 1996, he assisted President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton in their selection of the first work of art by an African-American for the White House permanent collection with the acquisition of Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City.

Driskell directly touched our Charlotte community when his chose to honor his North Carolina roots by ending his national touring exhibition, Narratives of African American Art and Identity at The Mint Museum in 2002. The museum exhibition, along with a solo exhibition of his paintings at Noel Gallery, was facilitated by former Mint Museum trustee B.E. Noel. “The best way we can honor Dr. Driskell is to enfold the work of African-American art into every aspect of the canon and celebrate our common humanity through art,” says Noel.

Todd Herman, the Board of Directors and our Mint staff extend our appreciation to Dr. Driskell and sincere condolences to the Driskell family.

This piece was written by B.E. Noel, a former trustee of The Mint Museum who knew Dr. David Driskell through her role as a gallerist, collector, and scholar.

The Mint Museum’s history is women’s history

The Mint Museum’s history is women’s history 

By Ellen Show

 

A postcard of the founding women of The Mint Museum
L-R: Susie Van Landingham, Katherine Clark Pendleton Arrington, Mary Myers Dwelle, Sadie Burwell, October 1936, unknown photographer. Image courtesy of The Mint Museum Archives.

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. 

Get your glow on at The Mint Museum’s “Light Up the Night” celebration Feb. 14, powered by Duke Energy-Piedmont Natural Gas

 

Get your glow on at The Mint Museum’s “Light Up the Night” celebration Feb. 14, powered by Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas

Charlotte, N.C. (February 6, 2020): The Mint Museum welcomes the community to its free Light Up the Night event, powered by Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas, 6-9 PM Feb. 14 at Mint Museum Uptown. The free Valentine’s Day event features immersive experiences for all ages, including glowing swings on the plaza, live music by DJ Fannie Mae, and pop-up maker spaces inside the museum.

One highlight sure to fill Instagram feeds: five circular glow swings installed on the plaza outside Mint Museum Uptown. The LED-lit hoop-shaped swings are designed for guests to twist and glide. Each swing is suspended on rubber-and-rope cords attached to steel structures. LED lights embedded in the swings rotate through neon candy colors when in motion, gradually dimming to a soft white light when still. 

The event—free and open to the public—is held in conjunction with special exhibition Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint, of which Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas is a corporate sponsor. The exhibition, which showcases the Dutch artist collective, runs through April 26 at Mint Museum Uptown. Spotlight tours take place every half-hour in the galleries on the museums Level 3 and Level 4 galleries.

In addition to the gallery experiences, enjoy light bites and illuminated cocktails at the cash bar, and make creative designs at pop-up maker spaces with glow-in-the-dark art activities.

Fans of Immersed in Light can enjoy a special “Fall in Love With Dutch Design” conversation at 6 PM in the boardroom, presented by the Mint’s Senior Curator of Craft, Design and Fashion Annie Carlano, curator for the exhibition. Carlano will showcase exceptional works by Dutch artists and the hottest Dutch designers of the 21st century. 

 

Want more info?
Contact Michele Huggins, the Mint’s communications and media relations project manager, michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org or at 704-337-2122


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 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.


Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.


Piedmont Natural Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, is an energy services company whose principal business is the distribution of natural gas to more than 1 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company also supplies natural gas to power plants. Piedmont is routinely recognized by J.D. Power for excellent customer satisfaction, and has been named by Cogent Reports as one of the most trusted utility brands in the U.S.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

The first exhibition focused exclusively on black basalt sculpture to open on Feb. 9 at The Mint Museum with striking, contemporary presentation

Charlotte, NC (January 9, 2020): The Mint Museum is pleased to announce its upcoming presentation of Classic Black: The Basalt Sculpture of Wedgwood and His Contemporaries, opening February 9, 2020 at Mint Museum Randolph.

The exhibition will feature more than 100 works of art on loan from across the U.S., as well as England, and will focus exclusively on black basalt sculpture—the first show of its kind to do so. Classic Black will showcase works ranging from life-size portrait busts to fanciful vases, dynamic statues of mythological heroes to portrait medallions in low relief.

The exhibition features loans from major museums in the United States and England such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Birmingham Museum of Art, as well as important, one-of-a-kind objects from notable private collections in America, some of which are making their public debut.

One noteworthy aspect of the show is its presentation: a completely groundbreaking, contemporary treatment. With the help of the prominent Charlotte muralist and street artist known as “Owl,” each of the exhibition rooms will feature a specially commissioned graphic mural in striking, sunset hues. The bright colors and graphic patterns will challenge visitors’ expectations and enliven the historical pieces, making them more relevant to the modern viewer. And while completely unconventional, the design aesthetic nevertheless recalls 18th-century architecture and interior design, reinterpreting it for the modern-day audience.

And it’s a presentation that Wedgwood himself — as a master marketer of luxury, with an eye for presentation — would likely approve of, says Brian Gallagher, Curator of Decorative Arts at The Mint Museum. “Wedgwood would have never wanted his works to sit on a putty-colored pedestal, against a putty-colored wall,” says Gallagher.

Classic Black is also the Mint’s first exhibition dedicated completely to sculpture. And because the museum is known for its British ceramics collection, it’s appropriate that its first sculpture show draws from an aspect of that collection.

Classic Black and its remarkable presentation will break every mold,” says The Mint Museum’s President and CEO Todd A. Herman, PhD. “And we believe it will attract longtime Wedgwood enthusiasts as well as a new audience keen on seeing the marriage of 18th-century pieces with 21st-century mural art.”

About one-third of the works on view in Classic Blackare based directly on marble and bronze sculptures from the classical world. Other objects in the exhibition derive from works of art created in later centuries by some of the great figures in European art history, including Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by D. Giles Limited, London, which will include extended object entries and introductory essays contributed by Robin Emmerson, Gaye Blake-Roberts, Nancy Ramage, and MG Sullivan.

The exhibition was made possible with generous support from presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Private Bank.

“This is not your grandmother’s Wedgwood,” says Jay Everette, Officer of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “Wells Fargo’s Foundation decided to serve as presenting sponsor of the exhibition as part of its focus on arts, history, culture and heritage community grants. We were intrigued by the compelling contrast of past and present. We hope it allows viewers to see Wedgwood’s story, works and legacy in a different light.”

Additional support was provided by Moore & Van Allen and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The Exhibition catalogue was fully funded by the Delhom Service League and an anonymous patron.

 


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 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.


 

Thank you for your hard work – A note on the Nov. 5 tax referendum

Dear friends and supporters of The Mint Museum,

I want to personally thank each of you for the work you did on behalf of the Mint and the cultural sector in Charlotte, from setting out yard signs to having conversations with friends to volunteering at polling stations. The proposed sales tax for arts, parks and education launched an effort that galvanized the arts community and its supporters. This collaborative teamwork is a building block we can use as we move forward to enrich the community through the arts.

While we are clearly disappointed by the outcome of the referendum last night, one thing was made clear in conversations with those who were voting against the tax increase: it wasn’t a negative reflection on the importance of the arts. They appreciate and value the arts, and many have enjoyed our programs. The support is there, we need to work out the right funding model. This, too, is an important building block as we create a strategy that allows us to reach our goals for increasing equity, inclusion, and quality of life for Charlotte.

The Mint is committed to breaking down barriers to the arts and we will continue to work in as many communities as our resources allow. But it will take a commitment – of time, money and advocacy – to reach our potential and be a leader in the country in arts engagement and education.

Thank you again, and we ask you to walk alongside us in the journey ahead.

 

Todd A. Herman, PhD
President & CEO,  The Mint Museum

The most important issue the Mint faces right now

A Note from Our CEO, Todd Herman, PhD

The citizens of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have an opportunity to invest in the quality of life we enjoy and improve our collective well-being. When you vote FOR the upcoming sales-tax referendum during early voting or on Election Day, you are voting to transform YOUR county and community by improving PARKS and GREENWAYS, investing in TEACHERS and classroom support staff, and supporting a thriving ARTS & CULTURE sector.

The Mint needs your help to make this a reality. If you have ever enjoyed an exhibition, program, or lecture at either of our locations, been moved by a work of art, or watched your children or grandchildren light up with excitement when engaging with the arts, vote to allow that experience to be shared! When arts, culture, history, literature, and science are an integral part of kids’ lives, it improves their academic and social skills and creates thoughtful citizens. There are many important social issues that face our community, from domestic violence to the need for more affordable housing. But the arts—which touch the soul, grow the spirit, and offer hope—are a critical component if we are to improve our communities. The Mint Museum enthusiastically endorses this referendum, and I ask you to join us in investing in our future through a simple action: VOTE YES.

 


THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

The revenue (approximately $50 million per year) will be invested in Mecklenburg County in four ways:

  • 45 percent ($22.5 million) to restore and expand arts, science and history education in public schools, enable cultural programs that reach deep into neighborhoods and ensure residents have access to arts and culture regardless of where they live or what they can afford.
  • 34 percent ($17 million) in increased funding for our parks and greenways to revitalize our system, which was ranked near the bottom of a recent national study of metropolitan parks systems.
  • 16 percent ($8 million) for increased teacher supplements and additional classroom support, such as psychologists and teacher assistants.
  • 5 percent ($2.5 million) for arts and culture programs and parks in Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville

For more information please visit, A Better Mecklenburg’s website.

 

By state law, the ballot will not mention arts, parks, and education. To give your support, vote FOR the quarter-cent sales tax increase in Mecklenburg County.
Early voting begins Oct.16 and Election Day is Tuesday, NOV. 5 (polls open 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM).

Show your support now by picking up a yard sign at Mint Museum Randolph, and by sharing this with your friends!
We can win this!

Todd Herman, PhD
President & CEO,  The Mint Museum

The Mint Museum launches new free Wednesday night event series that showcases Charlotte’s vibrant cultural scene

The Mint Museum launches new free Wednesday night event series that showcases Charlotte’s vibrant cultural scene.

Charlotte, NC (October 14, 2019): 

After years of being free to the public on Wednesday nights, The Mint Museum is launching a new free event series at its uptown location called Live at the Mint, which will celebrate and highlight Charlotte’s dynamic arts community. Live at the Mint, presented by Fifth Third Bank, launches this Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 6 PM to 9 PM.

The Live at the Mint lineup will feature everything from performance art to conversations with leading artists, provocative films to gallery tours with community leaders. And with a variety of hands-on activities—and a cash bar that opens at 5:30 PM—it’s the perfect way to wind down after a long day.

Live at the Mint, presented by Fifth Third Bank, will launch with an initial eight-week run at Mint Museum Uptown, with plans to continue the series in 2020. The programming runs the gamut: The Oct. 16 night features a jazz band and conversation with celebrated SC artist Dr. Leo Twiggs and Rabbi Judy Schindler about how art can offer a safe space to discuss uncomfortable issues. The following week, Oct. 23, is all about swing dancing, with no-experience-necessary lessons from Gottaswing Charlotte.

Many of the Live at the Mint nights feature local groups and artists who are helping shape the cultural fabric of Charlotte, from renowned jazz vocalist MercuryCarter (Dec. 4) to latin fusion band Chócala, who will perform on the heels of their new album release (Dec. 11).

And it’s all happening on Wednesday nights, which are free and open to the public thanks to the ongoing support of generous sponsors Bank of America, the Mint Museum Auxiliary, and Publix Supermarket Charities.

“Live at the Mint is a project that the museum has initiated in order to create layered and diverse cultural programs for our visitors in collaboration with arts partners throughout the city,” says The Mint Museum President and CEO Todd A. Herman, PhD. “It was important to us that these happen on Wednesday nights, when the Mint is free to the public, so that we can become a positive cultural destination for anyone and everyone.”

It’s the perfect time to come to Mint Museum Uptown, as two new special exhibitions have opened in the last month. Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint features breathtaking sculptures that show the intersection of art, technology and nature (think: massive glass wings that imitate the movement of a bird). And Coined in the South, which opened Oct. 10, features 64 works from some of the most innovative and emerging artists in the Southeast. Organized in partnership with the Young Affiliates of the Mint, Coined in the South features everything from the traditional (oil on canvas and collage) to the decidedly untraditional (one sculpture is made from steel saw dust, alpaca fur, and alligator skin).

“Fifth Third is proud to be the presenting partner for this exciting new series,” says Lee Fite, Fifth Third Bank regional president of the Mid Atlantic. “Live at the Mint represents the same values we do – collaboration, inclusivity, and community.”

 


Interested in interviewing the artists, musicians, or anyone from the museum? Reach out to the Mint’s Director of Marketing & Communications, Caroline Portillo, at caroline.portillo@mintmuseum.org or call 704-337-2009.


Here’s a look at the Live at the Mint lineup:

October 16
Enjoy a conversation with SC artist Dr. Leo Twiggs and Rabbi Judy Schindler, as they discuss how art can offer a safe space to discuss uncomfortable yet urgent current issues. Jazz ensemble Conversation Piece will play before and after the discussion. Twiggs made headlines for his work in the aftermath of the tragic 2015 murders at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

October 23
Ever wished you knew how to swing dance? Join Gottaswing Charlotte for free instructions, followed by an evening of dancing.

October 30
The 90-piece Youth Orchestra of Charlotte will perform a selection of spooky symphonic masterpieces, followed by a screening of the 1982 horror film Poltergeist.

November 6
Couldn’t score tickets to Sir Elton’s farewell tour at Spectrum Center? Catch the next best thing on the same night, as Elton John impersonator Carl Rosen of Yellow Brick Road tribute band performs the Rocketman’s classics. Rose-colored glasses included.

November 13
Enjoy Buster Keaton’s classic silent film The Freshman, as the brilliant and award-winning Ethan Uslan accompanies on piano. In partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

November 20
The lauded Charlotte Storytellers will perform four original works created in response to pieces on view in Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint and Coined in the South. This one-of-a-kind experience will help you bring fresh eyes to the stunning exhibitions.

November 27
No programming – Happy Thanksgiving!

December 4
Relax and unwind with internationally renowned jazz vocalist MercuryCarter. It will be an evening of old standards and new songs destined to become classics.

December 11
Enjoy the inventive sound of Latin fusion band Chócala, as they ride the tide of their new record release this fall.

 

About The Mint Museum

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s rst 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 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.

About Fifth Third

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank, an Ohio-chartered bank. As of June 30, 2019, Fifth Third had $169 billion in assets and operated 1,207 full-service Banking Centers and 2,551 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida,

Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. In total, Fifth Third provides its customers with access to approximately 53,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Wealth & Asset Management. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of June 30, 2019, had $399 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $46 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for- pro t organizations through its Trust and Registered Investment Advisory businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Deposit and Credit products are offered by Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC.

Major juried exhibition with $16,000 in cash prizes to open on Oct. 10

Major juried exhibition with $16,000 in cash prizes to open on Oct. 10 at The Mint Museum

Charlotte, NC (October 1, 2019): The Mint Museum is pleased to announce its upcoming presentation of Coined in the South, a major juried exhibition with $16,000 in cash prizes that will showcase some of the most innovative and emerging artists in the Southeast. Organized in partnership with the Young Affiliates of the Mint, the show will be on view from October 10, 2019 through February 16, 2020 in Mint Museum Uptown’s Level 4 Brand Special Exhibition Galleries.

Ken West. Black Boys Cry, 2018, metallic paper. Courtesy of the artist.

The purpose of the exhibition is simple: to bridge the gap between the museum, gallery and studio, and to present fresh and innovative works that have not yet been seen by a broader audience. Nearly 2,000 works of art were submitted for consideration; 65 were selected. The artists range in age from 23 years old to 82 years old, and hail from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Unconfined to any aesthetic, the works of art are made from materials ranging from the traditional (oil on canvas and collage) to the decidedly untraditional. Consider one piece made from concrete, brass-plated chains, and human hair, or another made from steel saw dust, alpaca fur, and alligator skin. Some explore personal and familial histories, while others explore notions of place and identity. Some are gurative, others abstract. They evoke humor, tenderness, whimsy, and awe.

The 65 works were selected by jurors Adam Justice, Jonell Logan, and Marilyn Zapf—all well respected in uencers in the southeast’s art scene. On the night of the opening, Oct. 10, the jurors will announce the $10,000 Atrium Health Prize, and the Young Af liates of the Mint (better known as the YAMs), will award a $5,000 winner. Over the next few months, visitors will have the opportunity to vote in the gallery on the $1,000 “People’s Choice” award, which will be named at the end of the year.

“One of the roles of a museum is to reflect the pulse and energy of the artistic community where it resides,” says The Mint Museum’s President and CEO Todd A. Herman, PhD. “Coined in the South shines a spotlight on the quality, themes, and diversity of narratives that are being generated by artists in our own backyard.”

The name Coined in the South refers to both The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the U.S. Mint, as well as to the act of inventing. Many of the artists have created works so unforgettable they’re in a class all their own.

Adrian Rhodes. Searching for Callisto (detail), 2018, woodcut print installation with dyed paper and sky chart wall collage. Courtesy of the artist.

This is the fourth juried exhibition put on by the YAMs, following on the successes of 80×80 (2016), Gendered (2017), and Mainframe (2018). These exhibitions revived a tradition of the museum—from the 1950s through the 1990s, the Mint hosted a number of juried shows, highlighting the work of talented local artists.

“When we sat down and cooked up the idea for 80×80, the Young Affiliates’ inaugural art show in 2016, we had no idea what would unfold,” says Lauren Harkey, former president of the YAMs and co-creator of the YAMs inaugural art show.

“We were instantly humbled by the response and energy our ‘little show that could’ created. And today, in its fourth iteration, it is a proud moment to see the YAMs partner with The Mint Museum and witness this show really grow up and into its own.”

Senior Curator of American Art Jonathan Stuhlman, PhD, served as the Mint’s curator of the show. Kaitlyn McElwee and Anna Hamer served as the YAMs art show co-chairs.

 

Coined in the South is generously sponsored by Atrium Health, with additional support from Cran ll Sumner & Hartzog LLP.

 


Interested in interviewing artists, show organizers, jurors, or anyone from the museum? Reach out to the Mint’s Director of Marketing & Communications, Caroline Portillo, at caroline.portillo@mintmuseum.org or call 704-337-2009.


About The Mint Museum

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s rst 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 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.

About the Young Affiliates of the Mint (YAMs)

The Young Af liates of the Mint (the “YAMs”) is a diverse group of young professionals promoting and supporting The Mint Museum through cultural engagement, social leadership, and fundraising events. Established in 1990, the YAMs are the premier social arts organization for young professionals in Charlotte. All proceeds raised by the YAMs sponsor free tours of The Mint Museum for local school students to inspire a new generation of artists, art enthusiasts, and leaders.


Artists selected for this year’s show:

Deighton Abrams (Seneca, SC)
Eleanor Annand (Penland, NC)
Yvette L. Cummings Arendt (Conway, SC)
Austin Ballard (Charlotte, NC)
Johannes Barfield (Winston-Salem, NC)
Ivana Milojevic Beck (Raleigh, NC)
Susan Brenner (Charlotte, NC)
Amanda Britton (Athens, GA)
Danielle Burke (Asheville, NC)
Thomas Campbell (Penland, NC)
Erin Canady (Durham, NC)
Micah Cash (Charlotte, NC)
Erin Castellan (Penrose, NC)
Kevin Cole (Fairburn, GA)
Sarah Elizabeth Cornejo (Carrboro, NC)
Travis Donovan (Banner Elk, NC)
Robert Fritsche (Huntersville, NC)
Riley Hammond (Richmond, VA)
Caroline Hatfield (Carrolton, TX (formerly Claiborne County, TN)
Donna Cooper Hurt (Charleston, SC)
Joyce Watkins King (Raleigh, NC)
Kenn Kotara (Asheville, NC)

Nathaniel Lancaster (Charlotte, NC)
Jasper Lee (Birmingham, AL)
Elizabeth Lide (Atlanta, GA)
Jackson Martin (Asheville, NC)
Rachel Meginnes (Bakersville, NC)
Chieko Murasugi (Chapel Hill, NC)
Claire Pope (Hickory, NC)
Chloé Rager (Durham, NC)
Adrian Rhodes (Hartsville, SC)
Kristi Ryba (Charleston, SC)
Katie St. Clair (Davidson, NC)
Tom Schmidt (Charlotte, NC)
MJ Sharp (Durham, NC)
Beverly Smith (Charlotte, NC)
Tema Stauffer (Johnson City, TN)
Denise Stewart-Sanabria (Knoxville, TN)
Stephanie Sutton (Buford, GA)
Harrison Walker (Athens, GA)
Jan-Ru Wan (Chapel Hill, NC)
Shane Ward (Chattanooga, TN)
Ken West (Mableton, GA)
Fletcher Williams, III (North Charleston, SC)
Stephanie J. Woods (Charlotte, NC)

Studio Drift’s first U.S. museum exhibition opening Sept. 20 at The Mint Museum

Photo: JW Kaldenbach. Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn. Courtesy of Studio Drift.

Charlotte, NC (September 9, 2019): The Mint Museum is pleased to announce the opening of the first solo museum exhibition outside Europe by Studio Drift, an artist collective based in the Netherlands that uses technology in art to illuminate the power and beauty of nature. The exhibition, Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint, will run from September 20, 2019 to April 26, 2020 at Mint Museum Uptown, and will feature five works created over the last decade, including one installation making its international premiere at the Mint. PNC Bank is the presenting sponsor.

Studio Drift was founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta, 40, and Lonneke Gordijn, 39, who established their studio in 2007, after graduating from the prestigious Academy Eindhoven. Based in Amsterdam, the studio has grown to more than 20 artists, technologists/engineers and more, with Nauta and Gordijn at the helm. Studio Drift’s work is lauded in art circles worldwide for using man-made technology to show the beauty of nature. And they do it in a way that inspires awe and meditation, a way to invite the viewer to consider technological possibilities.

At Burning Man in 2017, Studio Drift unveiled its Tree of Ténéré, a towering, lifelike tree illuminated by 175,000 LED lights that people could climb. At NASA’s 50th-anniversary celebration for the Apollo 11 moon landing, Studio Drift presented its performance piece Franchise Freedom, which consisted of 600 Intel drones soaring through the night sky, simulating the flight pattern of starlings. Iconic ‘80s rock band Duran Duran played during the performance.

A room-sized art instillation made of pipes and dandelions curing from the floor to the ceiling
Studio Drift. Fragile Future 3, 2018, installation at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij

One of Studio Drift’s most iconic works, Fragile Future—which will be on display at the Mint—is comprised of natural elements. The Fragile Future installation is made from hundreds of tiny dandelion seeds hand-glued, seed by seed, onto LED lights and held together by bronze electrical circuits. Nearby will be Amplitude, an installation made of 20 large but delicate glass wings that moves smoothly to suggest a giant bird in flight—another nod to the ability of manmade technology to highlight the beauty of nature.

The exhibition also will include the world premiere of Studio Drift’s new work: Coded Coincidence on Mint Museum Uptown’s Level 5 expansion space. Museum visitors will be able to walk through a massive plexiglass chamber, while more than a dozen steerable wind blowers direct and lift elm seeds to swirl around the viewer. The project was inspired by the many elm trees in Amsterdam and is also a fitting nod to Charlotte’s vast tree canopy.

Immersed in Light has also inspired a local partnership with the Charlotte Ballet. For the ballet’s annual Innovative Works performance Jan. 25–Feb. 6, artistic director Hope Muir has commissioned two choreographers to create an experimental ballet inspired by Studio Drift’s exhibition at the Mint. The dancers will perform in the galleries, and a video presentation of the dance will be broadcast at the Innovative Works shows.

“I am so excited for this opportunity for Charlotte Ballet to collaborate with The Mint Museum and Studio Drift,” says Hope Muir, Charlotte Ballet’s artistic director. “We are always searching for ways to connect with different art forms, and we can’t wait to see what emerges from this innovative partnership between dance and visual art.”
Guests attending the opening-day celebration for Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint on Sept. 20 at Mint Museum Uptown, will be able to meet Drift co-founders Gordijn and Nauta. Godijn will discuss her work and inspiration at 6 PM Friday at Mint Museum Uptown.

Undulating glass pipes forming repetitive geometric figures. The pipes hang from the ceiling in a large spacious room.
Studio Drift. Amplitude, 2017, installation at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij

The exhibition is presented by PNC Bank, with additional support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary and Duke Energy – Piedmont Natural Gas. This program is also supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA  program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

Immersed in Light also benefits from media partnership and in-kind support from Wheelhouse Media, The Charlotte Observer, QC Exclusive, Le Meredien Charlotte, Peachy the Magazine, Pride Magazine, and Rite-Lite.

 

 


About Studio Drift

Studio Drift was founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta, 40, and Lonneke Gordijn, 39, who established their studio in 2007, after graduating from the prestigious Academy Eindhoven. Based in Amsterdam, the studio has since grown to more than 20, including artists, technologists/engineers, and more, with Nauta and Gordijn at the helm. In their installations and interactive sculptures, the relationship between nature, humans, and technology is key. Studio Drift is represented by Pace Gallery taking part in the gallery’s Future\Pace program, and is also represented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery.


About PNC Bank

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com.


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 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.