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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.