Mint Museum of Craft + Design to Close Temporarily in February

MMC+D collections prepare to move to new facility as part of Museum expansion

The Mint Museum of Craft + Design will close to the public on February 7, 2010 to prepare to move its collections to the new Mint Museum Uptown. Opening in October 2010, the Mint Museum Uptown will house the Mint Museum of Craft + Design collections, as well as significant collections of American Art, Contemporary Art and a selection of European Art in a new five-story, 145,000-square-foot facility located in the heart of Charlotte’s business district. The Mint Museum of Craft + Design Shop will remain open for several more months, with a firm closing date to be announced later this spring.

To celebrate the grand opening of the Mint Museum Uptown, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design has launched Project Ten Ten Ten, a series of commissions created especially for the new Mint Uptown galleries by 10 of the world’s most innovative craft and design artists. When the doors open in October, visitors will see spectacular works by glass artist/designer Danny Lane (United Kingdom), conceptual jewelry artist Ted Noten (The Netherlands), furniture maker/designer Joseph Walsh (Ireland) and fiber artist Hildur Bjarnadǿttir (Iceland). Equally striking commissions by Kawana Tetsunori, Kate Malone, Tom Joyce, Cristina Córdova, Susan Point and Ayala Serfaty are also being planned for the new facility.

The Mint Museum expansion includes the construction of a new building in uptown Charlotte and the reinstallation of the historic U.S. Mint facility on Randolph Road. When the expansion is complete, The Mint Museum’s total combined square footage will grow by more than 60 percent, allowing opportunities to showcase more works from the permanent collection and better accommodate significant traveling exhibitions.

The Mint Museum Uptown will be part of the new Wells Fargo Cultural Campus. In addition to the Mint, the completed campus will include the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the Knight Theater (housing the North Carolina Dance Theatre) and the Duke Energy Center. Following the grand opening of the Mint Museum Uptown, collections at the Mint Museum Randolph will be reinstalled with a fresh new vision. Galleries there will feature the Mint’s superb Ceramics, Art of the Ancient Americas, and Historic Costume and Fashionable Dress collections.

The Mint Museum Uptown is scheduled to open just one year prior to the Mint’s 75th anniversary. Designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston (design architect), Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals of Charlotte (architect of record), and George Sexton Associates of Washington, D.C. (museum consultant), the new facility will combine inspiring architecture with groundbreaking exhibitions to provide unparalleled art experiences for its visitors. The Museum expansion will provide larger and more flexible space to showcase the permanent collections and Mint-organized special exhibitions, as well as major touring exhibitions organized by other venues. The new facility will also house a Family Gallery to reinforce the Museum’s dual priorities of art and education.

Mint Museum of Craft + Design Exhibition Explores American Quilts

Exhibition on view July 25, 2009- February 6, 2010

Selections from a rich artistic tradition will be displayed at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design beginning this summer in the exhibition American Quilt Classics, 1800-1980: The Bresler Collection. From rare crib quilts to modern Amish textiles, the quilts on view reflect America’s diverse cultural and artistic heritage.

Between 2000 and 2001, Fleur and Charles Bresler donated to the Mint Museum of Craft + Design 36 American quilts from their collection. Ranging in date from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century, the quilts document the evolution of American quilting traditions, most notably the Baltimore Album Quilt and the Victorian Crazy Quilt. The exhibition explores the historical and cultural context of the quilts, as well as the economic and technological developments that influenced the textiles’ materials and designs.

Quilted bed covering and needlework traditions arrived in America with the first colonists. Each wave of immigrants would add to the development of the American quilt along with new technologies for printing brighter fabrics at lower prices. By the mid-1800s, an American style had emerged that was distinct from British and European influences.

Quilt making surged in popularity during the Great Depression as a source of relief from hard times. Hoping to jump-start the ailing economy, manufacturers created light and cheery fabrics, such as those seen in the exhibition’s Postage Stamp Quilt, which contains thousands of tiny pieces of cloth that were popular in the 1930s.

Despite declining during World War II and the postwar years, quilt making rebounded following the popular and critical reactions to two exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Abstract Design in American Quilts in 1971 and The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (Alabama) in 2003. Quilts gained in appreciation as works of art in their own right, and major public and private collections were formed throughout the country. Contemporary quiltmakers worldwide continue to explore and develop this time-honored tradition, combining colors, shapes and textures in new and exciting ways.

Organized by the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, American Quilt Classics, 1800-1980: The Bresler Collection was originally on view there in 2003. Since then it has traveled around the United States, and is returning to its home for an encore presentation. The exhibition will be accompanied a full-color catalogue available for sale in The Mint Museum Shops.