Connecting communities through cultural initiatives
By Rubie Britt-Height, director of community relations
From free, live events to educational engagement with youth, the Mint strives to make art accessible for all community members. Following are just a few of the programs dedicated to welcoming community to explore collections at The Mint Museum.
Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program
The Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program guides youth grades 4-12 via art education and artist-led projects in a weekly after school program in the Grier Heights community located across from Mint Museum Randolph. To date over 500 youth have engaged in Grier Height’s unique and intriguing art activities that encourage self-esteem, respect, wise decision-making, critical thinking, and learning that greatness is measured by service. Participants are mentored by a team of community leaders and accomplished artists-educators.
Participants express themselves through art modules on writing, drawing, quilting, and portraiture as they learn about etiquette, financial and cultural literacy, dental and personal hygiene. Participants also visit both Mint locations to view the Mint’s collection and exhibitions, engage in art activities, attend theatrical and music productions at the Blumenthal and the Mint, take spring break trips to the State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, and State Buildings, and visit city parks and highlights.
Programs attract both the Latin American community and everyone interested in Latin culture take place at the Mint all year around. Programs like Mint to Move, Bilingual Stories and Music, and Con a de Arte welcome a host of audiences including families, young adults, professionals, adults, and artists.
Mint to Move Cultural Dance Night
One of the hottest events in town held on one of the best dance floors in Charlotte, Mint to Move Cultural Dance Night invites participants to put on their dancing shoes and experience Latin, African and Caribbean music and dance. Based on the artwork May I Have This Dance by Sheila Hicks, the cultural program unites the community on the dance floor with veteran DJ Carols Lebron mixing a repertoire of international music, including Afro-House, Afro-Cuban, and Latin-American dance rhythms. Guests enjoy free dance lessons from local dance companies like Oneaka Dance Company, and Rumbao Dance Company, and samba, salsa, bachata, cha cha, line dance, and step to other dance forms relative to various global communities.
Bilingual Stories and Music
Children age 6 and younger and their families enjoy coming to Mint Randolph for bilingual stories in Spanish and English. And it’s all free! Bilingual Stories and Music allows kids and their caregivers to learn Spanish with musical instruments, puppets, toys and games and songs featuring the musical team, Criss Cross Mango Sauce.
Mint Musica’ and Poesia
Mint Música and Poesía Café is a bi-annual program that features talented poets, dancers, and musicians from Charlotte’s Latin community. The program celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with performing artists like Alma de la Luna and the NC Brazilian Dancers. It also ties in with the Latin American artwork in the collection and special exhibitions.
ArtSí – Con A de Arte (A is for Art)
Through a close relationship with the local Latino arts community, The Mint Museum provides support for the Con A de Arte (A is for Art) event as part of a partnership with ArtSí Charlotte.
Con A de Arte is an annual event that aims to showcase the work of local artists from the Latin American community in the Charlotte area through presentations modeled after the TED Conferences, which include visual art presentations, and performances by musicians, dancers, poets, and actors.
Implementing live recordings of community programs has opened a new audience for the Mint. Record viewership has given access to the Mint as it continues to reach more diverse audiences. Live presentations shown on the Mint website include:
- Requiem for Mother Emanuel: From Tragedy to Triumph with Dr. Leo Twiggs
- African Dancing and Drumming with the Oneaka Dance Company
- Pre-Charlotte Jazz Festival: Jazzin’ on the Terrace with The Juke Joint, featuring Vocalist Nicci Canada, Spoken Word Artist Quentin Talley, and Visual Artist & Live Painter Curtis King