Silent Streets: Art in the Time of Pandemic Press Release

Four transit workers in personal protective equipment clean a subway in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emin Özmen. Istanbul, Turkey, 2020, digital image. Courtesy of Magnum Photos Agency

The Mint Museum’s upcoming Silent Streets: Art in the Time of Pandemic puts spotlight on works created in isolation by local, regional and international artists

Charlotte, North Carolina (March 26, 2021) — When the city streets fell quiet in March 2020 due to Covid-19, followed by social justice reckoning across the country, people and communities were changed. The Mint Museum’s newest exhibition, Silent Streets: Art in the Time of Pandemic, opening April 17 at Mint Museum Uptown, showcases thought-provoking works of art by regional, national, and international artists. From collage and comic strips to abstract painting, video and photography, the exhibition installations illuminate discord while also providing solace and insight in challenging times.

At the core of the show, which is presented by Fifth Third Bank, are commissioned pieces by North Carolina artists Amy Bagwell of Charlotte, Stacy Lynn Waddell of Durham, and Antoine Williams of Greensboro. Each artist created works during isolation that reflect how the pandemic and events of 2020 affected their worlds.

“In March 2020, we found ourselves looking at a depleted exhibition schedule, between pandemic-related shipping delays and budget cuts,” says Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, chief curator and curator of contemporary art at the Mint. “The Mint’s President and CEO Todd Herman said, ‘Why don’t we reallocate those remaining spaces and funds directly to artists?’ I selected these three artists, confident we could do remote studio visits and it would still be a successful collaboration. By April, artists around the world were creating profoundly powerful and poignant work responding to all that was going on, and I realized the show could go beyond three North Carolina voices and become an international chorus.”

Bagwell, a poet and mixed-media artist, who has more than 20 public murals throughout Charlotte, produced three large-scale collages inspired by poetry she wrote during the pandemic. Mixed-media work by Williams addresses social injustice, systemic racism, and the objectification of Black labor and culture. And Waddell, working alongside a master quilter, used textiles to create flags that explore themes of representation and inclusion in symbols of power.

Also included in the exhibition is As the Boundary Pulls Us Apart, a short film by Charlotte-based artists Matthew Steele and Ben Gellar. The digital project enabled the two artists to collaborate and volley ideas from separate spaces, ultimately creating a piece that embodies a spirit of unity while being apart.

A Comic strip titled "La Cucaracha's safety guide to combat the coronavirus." The first block says "wash your hands" and depicts two kids washing their hands. The second says "Avoid crowded places" and shows a man going past a coffee shop. The final block says "wear a mask" and shows a traditional Lucha libre mask.
Lalo Alcaraz. La Cucaracha, April 2020, comic strip. Courtesy of the artist

Additional installations include Diary of a Pandemic and Pandemic Comics. Through a collaboration between Magnum Photos and National Geographic, Diary of a Pandemic showcases images taken by photojournalists around the world stranded during the pandemic. Pandemic Comics highlights syndicated comics—La Cucaracha, Liō, Curtis, Pearls Before Swine, and Tank McNamara—that suddenly changed course, as long-planned strips were replaced with ones that related directly to the pandemic.

The one work that predates the pandemic—Gregory Crewdson’s Funerary Back Lot (2018-19) from his An Eclipse of Moths Series—eerily relays an aura of isolation and quiet destitution that feels consistent with the pandemic times, reminding us that these are human states, not temporary or conditional ones.

“Artists are often the first to respond and react to societal forces and create work that manages to encapsulate abstract concepts of emotion,” says Todd A. Herman, PhD, president and CEO at The Mint Museum. “I am excited to see the result of their efforts and to celebrate the necessary role that creatives play in healing communities.”

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.

Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank, National Association, a federally chartered institution. As of September 30, 2020, Fifth Third had $202 billion in assets and operated 1,122 full-service banking centers and 2,414 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In total, Fifth Third provides its customers with access to approximately 52,000 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 September 30, 2020, had $422 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $53 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust and Registered Investment Advisory businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at 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.


Caroline Portillo, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at The Mint Museum | 704.488.6874 (c)

Michele Huggins, Communications and Media Relations Project Manager at The Mint Museum | 704.564.0826 (c)

Download the PDF of this press release here.

Stephen Compton: From Jugtown Pottery to hyalyn Porcelain

Stephen Compton: From Jugtown Pottery to hyalyn Porcelain: A Collector’s Journey

Delhom Service League Studio Visit

Steve Compton discusses his history as a collector of NC pottery, and how his interest led him to become a noted researcher and author. Steve shares details about his collection of pottery, now including over 2,000 pieces, and some of the many books he has authored.

Call for Artists – Coined in the South: 2022

Call for Artists
Coined in the South: 2022

The Young Affiliates of the Mint, in collaboration with The Mint Museum, are seeking works of art produced by southeastern artists for the second installment of Coined in the South. This juried exhibition will be held from March 25, 2022 to July 3, 2022 at Mint Museum Uptown.

Coined in the South is about bridging the gap between the museum, the gallery, and the studio, to highlight the innovative and thought-provoking works produced by the creative innovators of the southeastern arts community. The show is not confined to any single aesthetic, theme, or medium.

Prize money will be awarded. There will be a $10,000 juror-awarded grand prize, a $5,000 Young Affiliates of the Mint member-awarded prize, and a $1,000 “People’s Choice” prize awarded by the general public at the conclusion of the show. All selected artists will be provided with a $200 stipend to offset shipping and travel costs.

The Details:

UPDATE: Call for submissions is closed. Artists who submitted works for consideration will be informed whether they were selected by August 25.


• Hallie Ringle, curator of contemporary art at the Birmingham Museum of Art
• Lydia Thompson,
artist and chair of the Art and Art History Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
• Ken West,
photographer and digital experience designer. Winner of the inaugural Coined in the South “People’s Choice” award

What’s eligible: Submitted works of art must be less than two years old, non-perishable, do not produce excessive noise pollution, and do not result in physical harm to any living beings. Installation, video, and performance artists are encouraged to apply but must provide instructions for installation and space requirements, as well as recordings and/or documentation of past performances when available.

Exhibition dates: March 25, 2022 to July 3, 2022

Where: Mint Museum Uptown, 500 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

Deadline for submissions: Due at 11:59 PM June 4, 2021 at All works of art must be delivered ready to install between February 28 and March 18. Artists are responsible for the cost of shipping. Each accepted artist will be given a $200 stipend to offset shipping and travel costs.

Entry Fee: $50. Each artist may submit up to five works as part of their application. The one-time $50 fee covers all submissions.

Contact: Kaitlyn McElwee, Art Show Chair at

Studio Visit with Amy Sanders and Ron Philbeck – Delhom Service League

Studio Visit with Amy Sanders and Ron Philbeck

Delhom Service League

Amy and Ron discuss their individual work, and then discuss their collaboration on a series of work created during the pandemic. While their individual work is very different, their collaborative work has been very popular and a great learning process for them both. If you would like to see more of their work, you can visit their individual websites, and Both potters are scheduled to be exhibitors at the Delhom’s Potters Market at the Mint on Sept. 25, 2021.

Leah Leitson Ceramics: Then and Now – Delhom Service League Studio Visit

Leah Leitson Ceramics: Then and Now

Delhom Service League Studio Visit

Join the Delhom Service League as they Leah Leitson, ceramic artist and educator based in Asheville NC. She discusses her career in ceramics from her first interest as a studio potter to her current role as Professor of Ceramics at Warren Wilson College. For more information about Leah, you can visit her website at

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine explores the use of walls throughout centuries, across civilizations

Ami Vitale. Ripple Effect, 2009. Photographer @amivitale

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine explores the use of walls throughout centuries, across civilizations

Mint Museum Uptown’s 10-year anniversary celebration continues with opening of new photography exhibition


Charlotte, N.C. (February 1, 2021)— As a continued celebration of Mint Museum Uptown’s 10th anniversary, W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine examines the historic use and artistic treatment of barriers — whether made of stone, sand, steel, or wire — through photography. The exhibition, presented by PNC Bank, is scheduled to open Feb. 24 in Mint Museum Uptown’s Level 4 Brand Gallery.

Through more than 130 photographs taken by 67 photographers across five continents, W|ALLS explores architectural aspects of these barriers, as well as the stories of people’s lives touched by the boundaries.

The exhibition is divided into six sections — delineation, defense, deterrent, the divine, decoration, and the invisible — with each section anchored by a central photo essay. From the Berlin Wall’s fall to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, as well as barriers built in India, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland, and along the United States’ southern border, W|ALLS includes images that span five continents from photographers of all stripes: documentarians, photojournalists, artists, protestors, commercial photographers, explorers, and even a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

Carol Guzy. Albanian refugee camp, March 3, 1999. © 1999, Carol Guzy/The Washington Post

Curated by Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, chief curator and curator of contemporary art at The Mint Museum, W|ALLS includes works by nationally recognized artists Carol Guzy, Moises Saman, SHAN Wallace, Banksy, JR, John Moore, and Tanya Aguiñiga.

Charlotte-based artists featured in the exhibition include: Will Jenkins, who photographed Dammit Wesley’s Strange Fruit mural in uptown Charlotte; UncleJut who photographed Darion Fleming’s Pure’ll Gold mural that made The New York Times cover page in March 2020; and Linda Foard Roberts, a recent Guggenheim Fellowship recipient.

“When Katie Hollander and I began working on the W|ALLS exhibition in 2018, we could not have imagined a more divided world, and yet, even though the COVID-19 pandemic has united us in a common anxiety, here we are, even more segmented and antagonistic,” says Sudul Edwards. “The images in this exhibition remind us of our common humanity and why we are stronger together than apart, no matter what our race, ethnicity, or political ideology.”

In concert with the photographic exhibition, artists Candy Chang and James Reeves created Light the Barricades, interactive installations that appeared in three sites throughout Los Angeles before relocating to the plaza in front of the Annenberg Space for Photography. Light the Barricades was inspired by the I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese texts. Nearly 30 feet in length and 8 feet high, each installation features a word that represents an emotional barrier and offers an opportunity for contemplation. One of these walls will be on view in front of Mint Museum Uptown in conjunction with the photography exhibition.

“Walls make up a significant portion of our surroundings, especially in urban settings, and these photographers present us with new ways of thinking about how we are affected by these structures,” says Todd A. Herman, PhD, president and CEO of The Mint Museum. “It is impossible to walk through this exhibition and not have it inspire a conversation.”

This is the first exhibition at The Mint Museum with Spanish translations throughout. All object labels include a QR code to scan for a Spanish translation, and there are printed translations on introduction panels.

“With this exhibition, The Mint Museum continues to deliver on its unique ability to engage our community in timely, thought-provoking conversation and reflection,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas. “The themes addressed in the photography hold relevance for all, and PNC is proud to help bring this compelling and ambitious exhibition to Charlotte.”

W|ALLS was originally scheduled to open in May 2020. Shipping crates containing much of the show — gifted to the Museum by Annenberg Space for Photography, which was the originator of the exhibit — were delayed due to COVID-19.

W|ALLS is made possible by Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, Calif., and is generously presented by PNC Bank, and supporting sponsors The Mint Museum Auxiliary, Laura and Mike Grace, Leigh-Ann and Martin Sprock, Betsy Rosen and Liam Stokes, and Deidre and Clay Grubb. QC Exclusive is the media sponsor.

The Mint Museum

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.

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

The Annenberg Foundation

The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and
human services; and animal services and the environment.


Caroline Portillo, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at The Mint Museum | 704.488.6874 (c)

Michele Huggins, Communications and Media Relations Project Manager at The Mint Museum | 704.564.0826 (c)


Download the PDF Media Kit for W|ALLS here.

‘Hue’ do you do it?: The Art of Choosing Color

‘Hue’ do you do it?

The Art of Choosing Color

By HannaH Crowell, Exhibition Designer 

Color is a distinct element in works of art, and has been especially prominent in recent exhibitions at The Mint Museum. Whether it was the sunset palette of Classic Black: The Basalt Sculpture of Wedgwood & His Contemporaries at Mint Museum Randolph or the spectrum of colors in the exhibition In Vivid Color: Pushing the Boundaries of Perception in Contemporary Art at Mint Museum Uptown, our gallery walls are filled with palettes of color.

As the exhibition designer, I think a lot about the gallery walls. Gallery walls are not only the architecture that hold the works of art, they create an atmosphere that moves the visitor through the galleries. The right paint color, even a neutral, can transform a gallery into a world of its own.

When the Mint decided to embark on a reinstallation of the American collections, what better way to bring new life to these galleries than with color. Working with Jonathan Stuhlman, PhD, Senior Curator of American Art, the exhibition team selected feature walls to provide pops of color that help to guide the visitor through galleries rather than choosing to paint the entire gallery space. When selecting paint colors for gallery walls, we consider the physical space, the lighting, the visitor’s path, and most importantly, the art. Each work of art, like a character in a play, has its own story told through the composition of the work, the medium the artist chose, when and where it was painted, the frame, and of course, the color palette.

With my trusty Benjamin Moore paint deck, I selected a color that would turn the volume up on each work of art’s story. A rich purple wall sends the delicate petals swirling off the golden stems of Kehinde Wiley’s Philip the Fair into full bloom against its surrounding golden tones.

A deep wine color, aptly named Old Claret, helps the rich warm florals pop at the party in Julius LeBlanc Stewart’s Five O’Clock Tea.

Picking a color to be the backdrop for a painting’s story cannot disrupt what it has to say. It needs to complement the person, party, and scene. Next time you stand within the walls of the galleries, take a moment to look around and find your favorite color.

This story was originally published in the January, 2021 issue of Inspired, the Mint’s biannual member magazine.

Remembering Tom Martin

Remembering Tom Martin

It is with heavy hearts The Mint Museum shares that Special Events Director Tom Martin passed away on January 15, 2021 at the age of 60.

His memorial service for immediate family is Saturday, Jan. 22 at 11 AM and can be streamed virtually here.

Tom grew up in Massachusetts, and built a name for himself in events and food service as the Director of Catering and Convention Services for the Harvard Club of Boston, where he worked for more than 12 years. He relocated to Charlotte in 2013.

Tom was the Mint’s director of special events for over four years, and in that time, he helped grow special events revenue by over 40 percent, says Gary Blankemeyer, the Mint’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

In his tenure at the Mint, Tom helped secure and execute on a number of high-profile events for clients ranging from tech giant Facebook to billionaire businessman and Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, who announced Charlotte’s new MLS team from inside the Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium at Mint Museum Uptown. During the NBA All-Star Weekend in February 2019 in Charlotte—the biggest event in basketball—Tom shepherded a museum-wide takeover by Nike and Jordan Brand that even included a basketball court in Mint Museum Uptown’s atrium and a wrap across the building’s facade.

“He was driven to do the best,” says Blankemeyer. “And not only was he a good business partner, but he was someone I could count on, someone I could rely on, which is all you want as a manager.”

Tom was a great man, says John Caldwell, special events manager at the Mint. “He taught me so much about the events business. He changed my professional life as well as my personal life because he became my friend.”

Tom is survived by his three daughters, Jessica, Katelyn and Kristina; two grandsons, Joey and Tommy; as well as a brother, Robert Martin; and his partner of eight years, Gladys Blakeman— all of whom he loved to spend time with at the beach and in Charlotte. His care for even the smallest details carried over into his personal life as well, whether he was pruning a tree, stocking the fridge for family coming to stay at his house for the holidays, or executing on one of his many DIY projects.

“He was always rebuilding, remodeling,” says Blakeman. “We built a patio together and flower boxes for one of his daughters. When the heater went out at my townhome, the electrician told him it’d be $1,700. He said, ‘I’m not paying that, I’m going to Google it.’ He did it himself for $500.”

Tom hired special events manager Laura Hale about a year ago. They both had backgrounds in catering and shared a love of the Boston Celtics. Tom was ambitious, yes, with big goals and ideas for how to grow the Mint’s special events business, she says.

But Tom was also nurturing and sweet. Above all else, Hale says she loved how Tom was always up for a good chat. “You’d go in and be like, ‘Hey, how’s it going? How was your weekend?’ And you’d be standing in his office door for the next 30 to 40 minutes. He’d tell you that weekend he’d had Bloody Marys and then he’d tell you about the time he was in Boston and had the best Bloody Mary.”