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Charlotte Culture Guide Friday

15 Apr

Happy Friday Charlotte! In just a few hours many of you will have 48 hours to do whatever you want! And you’re in luck, Charlotte Culture Guide can answer that nagging question, “what am I going to do this weekend?” Here is just a small sampling of all the great things there are to do in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County this weekend.

USNWC Spring Festival
The USNWC is kicking off the spring with a weekend of festivities including live music and competition.
Fri., April 15 & Sat., April 16
US National Whitewater Center

Kings Drive Art Walk
The festival will feature fine arts for sale in numerous mediums, including paint and drawing; sculpture; pottery; and metal, stone, wood and glass works, with one focus being local emerging artists
Sat., April 16 & Sun., April 17
Little Sugar Creek Greenway

Romare Bearden: Collage, Color, Culture
Rubie Britt-Height, Director of Community Relations for the Mint Museum, will discuss the art and legacy of Charlotte’s greatest artist, Romare Bearden.
Sat., April 16 @ 2pm
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Main Branch

SlamCharlotte Poetry Slam
The Center’s monthly Poetry Slams are hosted by SlamCharlotte, Charlotte’s own two time defending national championship team of spoken word poetry.
Fri., April 15 @ 8pm
McGlohon Theatre

Sunday Fun Day
Every Sunday Fun Day try out a new scavenger hunt in the museum galleries, see a performer or artist demonstration, and enjoy kid-friendly activities.
Sun., April 17 @ 1pm
Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts
FREE with admission

Charlotte Clean and Green Festival
The fourth annual Earth Day Celebration and Learning Festival will feature: – The best in green products, local services and ideas to help you save money and conserve natural resources – FREE seminars on composting, home efficiency, eco-livng and much more.
Sat., April 16 @ 10am

Monster in the Forest: The Story of the Cyclop
The film documents the collaborative efforts of married artists Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle  in the creation of the Cyclop, a monumental sculpture in France.
Fri., April 15 @ 6pm
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

To see more events visit

Niki de Saint Phalle Introduced to Charlotte

11 Apr 3-17-11 027

Though she may not be directly connected with Charlotte, Niki de Saint Phalle looms tall over the city and Tryon Street – 17 feet tall to be exact.

Her popular “Firebird” sculpture outside of Charlotte’s one-year-old Bechtler Museum of Modern Art has become a favorite photo stop for Charlotte residents and visitors alike. Now the Bechtler has brought together works by the Franco-American artist introducing Charlotte to an extraordinary career.

Bechtler President and CEO John Boyer

“Our attempt was to capture Niki from her earliest career until the end of her career,” said Bechtler President and CEO John Boyer. “We did our very best to sample her themes over the years.”

The exhibit, Niki de Saint Phalle: Creation of a New Mythology, features 60 works on display inside and outside of the museum, including one from the Bechtler collection.

One of the most striking features of the exhibit is the five sculptures on display on the Green across South Tryon Street from the museum. The works, weighing in at more than 13,000 pounds, include representations of golfer Tiger Woods and jazz musician Miles Davis and the brightly colored, giant skull, La Cabeza. All are meant to be touched – and in the case of the skull, climbed in.

A visitor viewing one of the "tableaux eclates"

“Anyone who has an interest in human nature, I would encourage you to sit [on the Green] and watch people’s reactions [to the sculptures],” said Wells Fargo Community Affairs Manager Jay Everette.

Inside the museum are 40 more sculptures, 18 prints and two of de Saint Phalle’s tableaux eclates (or exploding paintings). The exhibit showcases the breadth of the artist’s work, from her whimsical Nanas, to darker pieces, like The Bride, and captures the various themes (femininity, mythology, violence, etc.) of her more than 50-year career.

The exhibit does a great job to bring context to pieces in the Bechtler’s permanent collection, and even works to make the connection between de Saint Phalle and Bechtler family friend and artist Jean Tinguely, whom de Saint Phalle was married to.

La Cabeza

This is the first exhibition of works from outside of the Bechtler collection and is an exciting reminder of the great opportunities and offerings afforded to the community by this new facility and the Levine Center for the Arts as a whole.

The Bechtler Museum plans four events to coincide with the exhibit, including a showing this Friday of the film, Monster in the Forest: The Story of the Cyclop about the creation of the Cyclop sculpture outside of Paris by Tinguely and de Saint Phalle.

The exhibit is at the Bechtler now through October 3.

To find out more information about the exhibit click here.

To find out more about Niki de Saint Phalle click here.

See a slideshow of photos from the exhibit here

Charlotte Culture Guide Friday

8 Apr

Thank goodness it’s Friday! The weekend is once again upon us and that means two days of fun and entertainment await! Check some of the cool things to do around Charlotte and Mecklenburg County:

CMS Parent University Family Day: From STEM to STEAM
The Arts & Science Council and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Parent University will hold a day of fun and information for the whole family. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., families can enjoy free/reduced access to museums, arts and cultural venues along uptown’s “Cultural Mile.”
Sat., April 9
Uptown Charlotte

OMIMEO: Black Light Magic
The award-winning OMIMEO Mime Theatre, featuring creative directors Hardin Minor and Eddie Williams, makes its debut in the Booth Playhouse with Black Light Magic.
Sat., April 9 – Sun., April 10
Booth Playhouse

Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies
Constantine Kitsopoulos, conducting This inspired production combines stunning re-mastered footage from the great movie musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein together with original vocals and a live soundtrack performed by the Charlotte Symphony.
Fri., April 8 – Sat., April 9
Belk Theater

Abbey Road LIVE!
Abbey Road LIVE! is not your typcial Beatle look-alike tribute act; don’t expect mop-top haircuts and vintage Rickenbacker guitars.
Fri., April 8 @ 9:30pm
The Visualite Theatre

Lyle the Crocodile
When the Primm family moves into their new apartment, they are very surprised to find Lyle the Crocodile living in the bathtub. Lyle, however, is no ordinary crocodile.
Fri., April 8 – Sun., April 17
McColl Family Theatre

Davidson Gallery Crawl
The Crawl will go from the new businesses at Exit 30 to Main Street in Davidson. Galleries, businesses and Town Hall will host visiting artists, including some that will be featured at Art on the Green.
Fri., April 8 @ 6pm
Begins at Davidson Homewood Suites

Dead Man’s Cell Phone
Make sense of mortality in the digital age in this wildly imaginative new comedy! Jean sits quietly in a café, when a recently deceased man’s cell phone begins ringing incessantly.
Fri., April 8 – Sat., April 23
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte

To see more events visit

He Promised And Boy Did He Deliver!

4 Apr

At the ASC Annual Fund Drive kick-off in January, Campaign Chair Charles Bowman promised if we met our $8.3 million goal he would sing at the finale. Well after weeks of generous contributions by thousands of Charlotte Mecklenburg residents, philanthropists and companies we did just that!

And you guessed it, Bowman did not disappoint the gathered crowd at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art last Thursday. What do you get when you mix Charles Bowman, Scott Provancher and Marc Manly with a little Tina Turner? How about “Proud Manly.”

Without further ado…

Charlotte Culture Guide Friday

1 Apr

Happy Friday and April Fool’s Day! People might be messing with you today, but none of these great events are a joke. Check out just a handful of the awesome things happening in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County this weekend!

Discover Latta Plantation
Girl Scouts who trained in March will return to demonstrate their living history skills to other girl scouts and the public.
Sat., April 2 @ 10am
Historic Latta Plantation

Living Room Concert: April in Paris
A passion for the exotic lives in the works of Ravel, and this program explores elements from Basque, Hungarian, Malaysian, and Afro-American traditions that swirled together in the lively atmosphere of 1920s Paris.
Sun., April 3 @ 4pm

The Colored Museum
The third installment for the season, The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe, is a series of vignettes that look at black culture post Vietnam era.
Fri., April 1 – Sun., April 10
Duke Energy Theatre

First Fridays at the Mint Museum Uptown
Each evening is loaded with artsy fun for all including; after-hours access to the galleries, live entertainment, hands-on activities, a cash bar and more!
Fri., April 1 @ 6pm
Mint Museum Uptown

Stuart Little
All the charm, wisdom and joy of the E.B. White original are brought to life in this stage adaptation of Stuart Little; the tale of a mouse adopted into a New York City family who embarks on a journey to find his friend Margalo, a bird scared away by the family cat.
Sat., April 2 – Sun., April 10
Armour Street Theatre

Garth Fagan Dance
Garth Fagan Dance, now in its 39th year, is at the top of its profession. According to Vogue, “the handsome, exotic, completely concentrated Fagan dancers move as if they were born speaking Fagan’s language and they love the feel of it in their bodies.”
Fri., April 1 – Sun., April 3
Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts

Classics 9: Charlotte Symphony featuring Brahms
New Music Director Christopher Warren-Green conducts an all-Brahms program that combines the master’s beloved First Symphony with the brilliant Academic Festival Overture and two profoundly moving choral works.
Fri., April 1 – Sat., April 2
Belk Theater

To see more events visit

Fostering More Inclusive Organizations

29 Mar

CCI Tuesday

By Ryan Deal, Program Assistant, Cultural & Community Investment

Last Friday morning a group of 60 arts, science and history leaders made their way to the ASC Board Room for a three hour facilitated discussion around making the board and staff of their respective organizations more diverse and inclusive. This Diversity & Inclusion Initiative is a project made possible through funding from ASC and Crossroads Charlotte.

The ASC task force charged with leading this project has defined Diversity as elements of difference including gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, age, culture, socio-economic status, geographic background, faith/religion, sexual orientation, profession, area of residence and length of time in the Charlotte area. Using survey data collected from each of the organizations, the assumption that our staffs and boards do not accurately reflect the “melting pot” population of Charlotte-Mecklenburg was confirmed.

This month’s session focused on the concept of access – what it means to us individually, as organizations and in turn, what it means to our audiences. Participants shared their personal and professional concerns about barriers and challenges that prevent this work from being done but perhaps most importantly, the opportunities for advancement that breaking down those barriers and challenges will bring.

I consider it a unique privilege to be involved in the cultural fiber of Charlotte wearing the hats of an arts administration professional, a regular audience member, and a professional musician. But last Friday, it felt even more special – because I witnessed firsthand the leadership of some of the county’s most notable organizations having (quite candidly) a very important conversation, and in almost unison confirming that the time to embrace diversity and make everyone feel included is now! Several even suggested that the word “Initiative” was inappropriate for this project – that challenging these norms is now the new way of working and must be consistently upheld.

The success of this project is imperative and a win-win. New faces, perspectives and ideals will be brought to the tables of our workplaces which will in turn open the doors of our facilities to new audiences for new experiences – and in a way that makes all feel represented, and included.

If I sound proud, it’s because I am. And you should be too. This is important work and it’s being done by a group of people who are passionate and committed.

Charlotte Culture Guide Friday

25 Mar

TGIF! It’s been a long week, but there’s a whole weekend of fun awaiting you. Here is a small sample of some of the awesome things you can do!

Michael Burks
Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Michael “Iron Man” Burks stands tall as a major contemporary blues figure.
Fri., March 25 @ 10pm
Double Door Inn

My Darling Isabella
Master Docent, Ann Williams will host a book reading and signing from her publication, “Your Affectionate Daughter, Isabella”. Through letters sent back and forth from Isabella Torrance and her family, an accurate portrait of life on a typical cotton plantation is seen.
Sat., March 26 @ 11am
Historic Rosedale Plantation

Amateur and professional photographers alike are invited to come shoot (with a camera, of course!) many of our beautiful birds of prey in natural settings.
Sat., March 26 & Sun., March 27
Carolina Raptor Center

Doug Benson
Stand-up comedian Doug Benson has appeared on Comedy Central Presents, Best Week Ever and was a contestant on Last Comic Standing, where he finished sixth in the show’s fifth season.
Fri., March 25 @ 8pm
McGlohon Theatre

You’ll be thrilled as the Youth Ballet and local professional dancers bring this story of mistaken identity to life!
Fri., March 25 – Sat., March 26
Halton Theater

Chuckleheads’/Pink Turtle Comedy Improv Variety Extravaganza
What do you get when you mix the blazing fever of the 2011 Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament and the latest Comedy Improv Variety Extravaganza from the Chuckleheads ? A slam-dunk night of laughter.
Sat., March 26 @ 8pm
Palace Theater

Lollipops 3: Green Eggs and Ham
“Sam I Am” comes to the Symphony in a skillfully staged and delightfully designed musical adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s classic.
Sat., March 26 @ 11am
Belk Theater

To see more events visit

Charlotte Culture Guide Friday

18 Mar

Happy Friday everyone! The weekend is upon us and there is a world of things for you to do in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Here are a few options:

Celtic Crossroads
Celtic Crossroads presents Irish music like never before, set to do to Irish music what Riverdance has done to Irish dance.
Fri., March 18 @ 8pm
Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts

Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein
Based on the Oscar-nominated, smash hit, 1974 film, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is the wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic from the comic genius of Mel Brooks.
Fri., March 18 – Sun., March 20
Belk Theater

Eric Taylor
Eric Taylor is a sage musician, a lyrical genius and a master of the guitar. If you’re familiar with the intricate Texas singer/ songwriter jigsaw puzzle, you probably already know a lot about Taylor.
Sat., March 19 @ 8pm
The Evening Muse

The Glass Menagerie
One of the American theatre’s best plays, The Glass Menagerie is a drama of great tenderness, charm, and beauty.
Fri., March 18 – Sun., April 3
Theatre Charlotte

Hip Hoppin’ Hares and Bouncin’ Bunnies
Lots of fun for everyone … meet our bunny brigade, say hello to Harry the hare, and solve the hairy mystery about the differences between rabbits and hares.
Sat., March 19 @ 10am
Charlotte Nature Museum

African American Theater 101
This year-long education series focuses on essential plays of the black theater repertoire.
Sun., March 20 @ 3pm
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture at the Levine Center for the Arts

Mr. Duke’s Charlotte: Charlotte 100 Years Ago
Join the Duke Mansion and Levine Museum of the New South for a free presentation at The Duke Mansion, 400 Hermitage Road in Charlotte, featuring popular Charlotte history speaker David Erdman. Erdman will show dozens of photos of Charlotte as it appeared when James “Buck” Duke lived here around the turn of the last century.
Sun., March 20 @ 3pm
The Duke Mansion

To see more events visit

Creativity, Imagination and Innovation

15 Mar

CCI Tuesday

By Christie Kahil, Program Director, Education

The daffodils are up, the forsythia bushes have exploded, and it’s time for me to head to the annual National Art Educators Association Conference where teachers, museum educators, researchers and artists congregate to share our best ideas about the arts and education.

This year’s theme is “Creativity, Imagination and Innovation,” and as you can imagine, there’s a lot of buzz around new breakthroughs in brain research, emerging technologies, and 21st century skills.  As an educator, I know how important it is for kids to be able to use their imaginations to dream, create and learn if we want them to grow up to be innovators and leaders, and I think it’s important to remind ourselves once in a while what the arts really teach us.

The arts teach us to see possibilities, and they give us the discipline and creative processes we need to make those possibilities a reality.  The arts teach us to see relationships between things that aren’t implicitly connected – the “think-outside-the-box” ability that allows us to come up with good solutions to complex problems. The arts help us to see our world in different ways, and to appreciate the differences we see.  Learning to see or hear the subtleties that make good art so moving helps us appreciate the differences that make our world so vibrant and dynamic.  The arts make our lives rich by giving us experiences that we can’t have any other way.  I’m pretty sure I’ll never get to travel to a galaxy far, far away, or back in time to 19th century London, but thanks to the arts I can live that experience in my imagination.

All of these lessons help kids build the essential skills they need to succeed in the 21st century, but more than that they teach kids how to live a full and meaningful life and that is the greatest lesson any of us can learn.

Charlotte Culture Guide Friday

11 Mar

Happy Friday everyone! The weekend is upon us and there is a world of things for you to do in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Here are a few options:

Director’s Choice: 40th Anniversary
Celebrate Dance Theatre’s 40th Anniversary with Director’s Choice! Featuring selections from Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Resident Choreographer Dwight Rhoden. Don’t miss it!
Fri., March 11 – Sat., March 12
Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts

Charlotte Jewish Film Festival: Eli and Ben
Part of the 7th Annual Charlotte Jewish Film Festival. A young boy’s idyllic existence is shattered when his father is accused of taking bribes. A touching coming-of-age story.
Sat., March 12 @ 7:30pm

Henry Clay and James K. Polk: Political Rivals
In the summer of 2010 the President James K. Polk State Historic Site saw the installation of a major exhibition featuring the relationship between Henry Clay and President James K. Polk
Sat., March 12 @ 10am
James K. Polk State Historic Society

Charlotte Folk Society Monthly Gathering: Jonesalee
Join the Charlotte Folk Society in this tribute of “Mother Maybelle” Carter.
Fri., March 11 @ 7:30pm
Great Aunt Stella Center

Look Back… Look In
A retrospective/introspection of solo and duet works created by Kinetic Works Founder, Martha Connerton between 1979 and 1993.
Fri., March 11 – Sun., March 13
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte

Join Davidson Community Players for the new play Masterpiece by award-winning author and playwright, Meir Ribalow. Based on the true story of one of the 20th century’s most notorious art forgeries.
Fri., March 11 – Sun., March 13
Armour Street Theatre

Sesame Street Live: 1-2-3 Imagine! with Elmo and Friends
Imagine singing and dancing with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and all your favorite Sesame Street Live friends! It’s as easy as counting “1-2-3 Imagine!”
Fri., March 11 – Sun., March 13
Bojangles Coliseum

To see more events visit


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