Jazz Festival Kickoff at Levine Center for the Arts


Experience a sampling of what Bechtler Museum of Modern Art ;Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Knight Theater ; Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture ; and Mint Museum Uptown have to offer the community! #LongLiveArts!

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Musical Activities at the Gantt Center:

Family First Presented by Novant Health:  The Standard Jazz Series | An Interactive Music Demonstration

All Ages, All Levels

Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month at the Gantt Center with The Standard featuring saxophonist Harvey Cummings II

The Standard Jazz Series creates an opportunity for fans and students alike to enjoy, learn and explore the building blocks and instruments used in jazz music. Master Class Instructor Harvey Cummings II will invite participants of all levels to engage with the band as they trace the story of America’s classical music – jazz – and discover everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jazz with an Q & A session and interactive musical demonstrations.

Cummings concludes the afternoon (1 p.m. – 2 p.m. on the Gantt Plaza) with a selection of jazz music featuring phenomenal musicians for a unique blend of straight ahead jazz and cool vibes. Get ready for an unforgettable, multi-sensory experience that unites contemporary elements with the rich history of jazz culture!

Noon-4:30 p.m. Activities at the Bechtler:

Create your own Firebird Mosaic Collages on the museum plaza, or go inside to hear spin drums!

2-3:30 p.m. Jazzin’ on the Terrace at the Mint:

Join Charlotte poets, vocalist Nicci Canada, and area jazz musicians as they improv and play the best in jazz & blues tunes as a tribute to the upcoming Charlotte Jazz Festival, April 9-15.  With an early 1900s ‘juke joint’ theme (viewed by some as an indigenous black cultural experience of dancing, live music, and a rural night club setting), guests can hear improv blends that stirs one to move with toes tappin’ and fingers snappin’.

The set will be followed by a sparkling cider birthday salute to Gastonia Artist John Biggers who would be 94 on April 13.  Several of his works on canvas are on view in the Mint’s newly-installed contemporary art gallery.



Food trucks (noon-6 p.m.) and Cash Bar available outside!

All outdoor activities are FREE and open to the public!

Enjoy Museums on Us admission for Bank of America card holders; and members of the Gantt Center, Mint, and Bechtler will all receive free reciprocal admission to ALL THREE museums! Not a member? Visit each institution’s website to join, or, purchase an LCA Admission Pass good for all three museums!

Mint Museum Uptown to host The Light Factory’s Moment Mile

Mint has also recently opened two other spotlight exhibitions with Charlotte connections

Back in November, the eyes of Charlotte turned toward Tryon Street, where 138 local photographers captured a simultaneous panoramic shot of a mile-long stretch of Tryon Street. And now, the resulting prints – 100 feet long – are going on view to the public FREE in a pop-up gallery inside Mint Museum Uptown.

Moment Mile will be on view in the museum’s Level 5 expansion space – raw, unfinished space on the museum’s top floor that was first used last fall for The Boombox Project, a pop-up gallery of photos by Lyle Owerko. This new project, which will occupy even more of the space first glimpsed during the Boombox run, will continue the museum’s recent emphasis on showcasing photography.

From December 17, 2014 through February 22, 2015, the Moment Mile gallery is open FREE to the public during regular museum hours – 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Museum visitors can receive special admission stickers to visit the Level 5 gallery without paying museum admission fees. The Moment Mile project has received generous support from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Wells Fargo, and the Arts & Science Council.

“Participatory projects like Moment Mile are a new avenue that involve the Charlotte community in what we are doing at The Light Factory, and more broadly involve others in the art of film and photography,” said Sean Busher, The Light Factory board member and Charlotte advertising photographer.

The new exhibition coincides with two new spotlight shows from the Mint’s own permanent collection – one from a photographer who got her own start at The Light Factory, and the other from the most famous artist born in Charlotte.

In the Mint’s Level 4 Modern & Contemporary Galleries, the museum is showcasing Kristina Rogers: Into the Labyrinthand Conversations: Romare Bearden and Richard Hunt.

This is the Mint’s first exhibition showcasing the work of Rogers (1945-2011), who was born in Germany and moved to Charlotte when she was nine years old. After studying in London and traveling widely, she settled with her husband in Waxhaw, N.C. and got involved with The Light Factory. She is known for multi-layered photographs created by overlapping negatives, to which she frequently added objects, historical photographs, and other artifacts. Shortly before her death, she donated nearly 100 of her prints to the Mint’s permanent collection, and this exhibition brings together 25 of her most provocative works.

Conversations:Romare Bearden and Richard Hunt is the latest exhibition in the Mint’s permanent Romare Bearden Gallery. It explores parallels between the two contemporaries – Bearden, who was born in Charlotte in 1911 and became the world’s most famous collagist before his death in 1988; and Hunt, widely regarded as one of the greatest living American sculptors. The Mint holds the largest repository of Bearden’s art of any public art museum, and has returned many of his signature works to public view, including Of the Blues: Carolina Shout, 1974, and Evening of the Gray Cat, 1982, which inspired the design of the museum’s Lewis Family Gallery. Hunt has been commissioned to create a monumental public sculpture in Bearden’s honor for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Romare Bearden Park, just one block north of Mint Museum Uptown. The sculpture is scheduled for unveiling sometime in 2015.

Above image: Sean Busher, Photo by Kelly Busher

Learn more about Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden at the Mint this weekend

Free Bearden-themed tours of Mint Museum Uptown to be offered as part of grand opening of Romare Bearden Park

As Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is gearing up to open its newest facility this weekend, the Mint is doing its part to highlight connections between world-renowned artist Romare Bearden and the city where he was born.

Mint Museum Uptown will offer three free Bearden-themed tours during grand opening festivities this Saturday, August 31, as the Mint encourages the public to visit both the park and the museum with the largest public holding of Bearden’s works.

Tour groups are invited to depart the new Romare Bearden Park from the corner of Martin Luther King and Church Streets at 10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., or 12:45 p.m. this Saturday, or meet at the Guest Services Desk of Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street, at 11 a.m., noon, or 1 p.m. The museum is one block south of the park via South Church Street. Tour group participants will be granted free admission to the museum; all other museum visitors pay $10 for general adult admission (free for museum members). Children ages 5-17 pay $5 general admission and children 4 and under are free. Groups will experience the Bearden-inspired house inside the kid-friendly Lewis Family Gallery, as well as the permanent Romare Bearden Gallery which displays a rotating selection of works from throughout the artist’s career. Trained museum docents will lead the tours.

The park’s grand opening includes a wide range of art-related activities, including hands-on children’s art projects, an art show, and free tours of the Kinsey Collection at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture. Free music and other performances will be offered at the park throughout the weekend.

For more information about grand opening weekend activities or Romare Bearden’s connections to the Mint, visit mintmuseum.org. Or, see a full schedule of the weekend’s events at parkandrec.com.

Romare Bearden billboard comes to life at the EpiCentre this Saturday!

“Living billboard” performance to capture Bearden’s music-themed work

 An innovative ad campaign recently recognized in The New York Times continues this weekend with an appearance by three live musicians accompanying Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden’s colorful music-themed work Back Porch Serenade.

The musicians will appear as a “living billboard” in front of an advertisement featuring Bearden’s work from 1-4 p.m. this Saturday, December 10, near the Enso Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar at the EpiCentre, the entertainment complex at the corner of College and Trade streets in uptown Charlotte. The performance is part of the “EpiCentre Spread the Cheer” holiday event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. and also features an appearance by Santa and a “private snowstorm.”

The “living billboard” follows other appearances by live musicians in front of Bearden’s artworks around Charlotte in October, a campaign conceived by Charlotte advertising agency BooneOakley. “Art can blend in, and sometimes goes unnoticed,” David Oakley, president and co-creative director of BooneOakley, told the Times. “But we’re trying to make it more part of the culture, and more three-dimensional and alive.” The Times highlighted the campaign as one of several around the nation that “bring art and artists to life.”

Saturday’s performance is aimed at promoting a special event, the Mint’s Community Homecoming Weekend coming up on January 7-8, which concludes the Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections exhibition. The FREE two-day event at Mint Museum Uptown includes live music, hands-on art activities and lots of memories. The museum will premiere excerpts from the groundbreaking Romare Bearden Memory Train, a documentary and video collage that celebrates the reflections of the community that inspired Bearden’s work. From now through that weekend, visitors to the exhibition can contribute to the video using kiosks, or the public can email video contributions anytime via smartphone by sending to the email address owuqk7s4zyar@m.youtube.com.

The Mint Museum Unveils New Interactive Video Project Memory Train: Celebrating Community Through the Power of Remembrance

The first video talkback project ever produced by The Mint Museum has now gone live as part of the celebrated Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections exhibition at The Mint Museum Uptown.

The first video talkback project ever produced by The Mint Museum has now gone live as part of the celebrated Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections exhibition at The Mint Museum Uptown.  Memory Train: Celebrating Community Through the Power of Remembrance now allows visitors to share reflections on how their life journeys have been inspired by images of Charlotte native Romare Bearden’s work.

Visitors can record their own stories at the exhibition, on display through January 8, or at home by using their smartphones. Stories are also being collected at a series of community reflection day events at venues around the city. The collected video responses will be combined and edited to create a film that will become part of the community record, and excerpts from the film will premiere at the museum at a special Community Homecoming Weekend on January 8-9.

“The Mint Museum is proud to engage the community in such a vibrant, historic, and relevant project, and to create an exceptional record of our community’s dynamic response to Bearden’s work,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President and CEO of The Mint Museum.

“Bearden was a masterful storyteller through collage, and this project encourages people to share their stories about home, childhood, and family. Already we have collected personal reflections at university homecomings, in schools and churches, at festivals, at social and civic meetings, and at cultural programs and events at the museum,” added Cheryl Palmer, Director of Education at the Mint. “The momentum is really building toward the final weekend of Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections. Bearden would be so pleased to see and hear the collage created in honor of his centennial.”

The Memory Train project is tapping into community responses on the themes of migration, memory, home, family, and loss. Memory Train is being supported by a grant of more than $90,000 from the Museums of America, a part of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Community partners working with The Mint include the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Johnson C. Smith University, and the Levine Museum of the New South.

Visitors to the exhibition are prompted with five questions:

  • Bearden’s art depicts scenes from the past. Describe a memory from your past. What do you see, hear, smell? Are you inside or outside? What colors do you see? Who else is there?
  • Many of Bearden’s works depict happy family memories. What is your favorite happy memory from your family?
  • Think about the first place you remember living as a child. Where was it? What colors and textures do you recall? Think about the furniture, the walls, and the floors. Who lived there with you? Does the building still exist?
  • Bearden’s family moved from the Charlotte to the North when he was a child. Describe a time in your life when you moved to a new place. Why did you move, and how old were you? What did you take with you? What did you have to leave behind?
  • Bearden experienced a sense of loss when he returned to Charlotte as an adult and saw many changes to the city. Have you experienced this kind of feeling when you visited the place where you grew up?
  • To contribute a video via smartphone, members of the public are asked to email a video clip to the address owuqk7s4zyar@m.youtube.com. More information about the project, including clips of video responses that have already been collected, is available at www.beardenmemorytrain.org.

Community reflection day events are scheduled on the following dates:

December 1: 6-7 p.m. at Spirit Square
December 3: 6-9 p.m. at Charlotte Museum of History
December 4: 2-5 p.m. at Mint Museum Randolph

More community reflection days are being scheduled, so check mintmuseum.org for updates. And the museum is preparing for a variety of special events during the Community Homecoming Weekend that coincides with the closing of the Bearden Southern Recollections exhibition.  On January 7 and 8, admission to Mint Museum Uptown will be free, and the museum will remain open until 9 p.m. on January 7. Visitors can enjoy special performances, visual arts demonstrations, and hands-on craft activities, including designing postcards that will travel with the exhibition to its next stops in Florida and New Jersey.  Confirmed performers include a gospel choir; Jazz Arts Initiative performing five of Bearden’s original songs; and the UNC Charlotte Faculty Jazz Ensemble.