The primary goal of the Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program is to have participating youth experience art to build self-esteem, develop self and mutual respect, make wise life choices, strive for excellence, exercise healthy life skills, and realize the importance of becoming great through service.

Residing in a marginalized and challenged community, the student participants are overcomers and maintain good grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and thrive well, as they often work through sensitive personal, family, and community occurrences.  In fact, several of them are honor students and have entered community or four-year colleges, or they have gone on to the regular workforce after graduation. Apart from art, students also learn about their African heritage, Spanish language, and holistic wellness through teen health education offered in the program. They are inspired by chats with city and county officials who visit the program, and they learn through visits to both Mint locations, field trips to theatrical productions, and cultural sessions of drumming, dancing, spoken word, and poetry writing.  They experience numerous hands-on activities such as self-image storyboard illustration, painting, and various forms of design, including jewelry and fiber designs, making African-inspired accessories and room decor.

The program is managed by the Community Relations Department and the Director of Community Relations.

Kuba Cloth Textile Project

When the Covid-19 pandemic pushed The Mint Museum to temporarily close its doors in spring of 2020, the staff at the museum quickly made the proverbial pivots to ensure art remained accessible to the community, including families and children in the Grier Heights Community Youth ArtsProgram.

The Learning and Engagement Team turned hands-on art classes into virtual Create at Home kits that included art supplies and instructions, as well as education information that tied the art project back to works of art in The Mint Museum’s collection. The first kit created was How to Make a Kuba-Style T-shirt based on Kuba textiles in the Mint’s collection.

Children in the Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program used the kits to create individual T-shirts that showcase their style and talent. Alexandra Brown, a 10th grade honor student at Myers Park High School, and teen leader at the Mint, created this video that captures what the Grier Heights students created using the Kuba-style T-shirt kits.

Want to make your own Kuba-style T-shirt? Download the instructions here. 

The Grier Heights Program is financially supported by Fifth Third Bank, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Foundation, and the Mint Museum Auxiliary.

Mint Museum Auxiliary logo