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Pouring over Arthur Brouthers

17 Oct

By Amy Bareham
Cultural & Community Investment Intern

Arthur Brouthers.

Arthur Brouthers.

Charlotte’s Culture Initiative, graphic design, painting and the Hornets all have someone in common: his name is Arthur Brouthers and he is a fall 2014 Arts & Science Council Community Supported Art (CSA) participant. Originally from Charleston, Brouthers is the embodiment of synergy, marrying multiple concepts and disciplines in order to produce art.

Like many, Brouthers initially put art dreams on hold, declining offers from SCAD and Parsons, and choosing to pursue graphic design at college instead. Once ingratiated in the Charlotte community, he partnered with a friend to develop Culture Initiative, a grassroots movement that supports emerging artists. After five years, roughly 30 shows and a whole lot of patience, Brouthers finally made the decision to step back and focus on his own art.

A successful show with Sharon Dowell and various other artists at Art Space 525 led to a commission and a contract with Sozo Gallery where Brouthers’ work is currently on display. Perhaps most impressive about his paintings is that they’re a result of trial and error.

“One day I was messing around…and I spilled paint. This is a true story,” said Brouthers, “I had some paint fall over, it got everywhere and I really liked the way that [the colors] blended.”

Never has trial and error looked so good. With his unique pouring technique, Brouthers is able to create different effects each time, and should it all go horribly wrong, he can scrape off the paint and begin again.

Artist by day and DJ by night, Brouthers has also made close ties with the Bobcats, now the Charlotte Hornets, playing a majority of home games, halftime sets and private functions. While music is an integral part of Brouthers’ character, he is thankful for the opportunity to invest more time into painting.

“I didn’t feel like I could really go anywhere with what I was doing before – I was doing abstracts,” he said. “I was doing what felt good and what helped me out. It was more like therapy for me. It really didn’t matter if anyone else liked it. Whenever I’m DJ-ing, if people don’t like my music, I don’t get hired or they don’t ask me to come back. But if I’m painting, I can just keep on doing whatever I want to do. It’s more of a freedom of expression.”

That freedom to create is bringing CSA shareholders 50 trademark pieces this October.

arthur brouthers work

Artwork by Arthur Brouthers.

“I’m doing 50 10x10x2 wood canvases,” Brouthers explained. “[They’re] basically my pouring style and then there’s a layer of epoxy resin on the top. It almost has a glassy look to it.”

All different colors and inspired by natural formations seen throughout the world, the canvases are labors of love.

“I work with a lot of acrylic and oil, gel mediums…different things to get that specific effect,” he said. “I use heat and I use fans and water, and I add oil…to kind of change the viscosity of the paint so that it will mix a certain way.”

Brouthers is completely self-taught, but as per his synergistic character, utilizes color theory from graphic design when working. With a new art studio and lounge-y house music in the background, this DJ-designer-artiste is set to revel in creative harmony.

Click here to see more of Arthur’s work.

Let these cultural events get you in the Halloween spirit

14 Oct

Compiled by Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Carolina Voices’ Impromptu ensemble will present Things that GO BUMP in the Night! Oct. 18, 2014.

Carolina Voices’ Impromptu ensemble will present Things that GO BUMP in the Night! Oct. 18, 2014.

For ghouls, goblins and candy lovers, this is the best time of the year.

Halloween is just around the corner, and tricks or treats are only part of the fun in upcoming cultural haunts that will get folks in the spirit of the holiday.

From preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse to a family-friendly Halloween celebration at Wing Haven and all the scary and not-so-scary frights in between, there are cultural events in Charlotte-Mecklenburg appropriate for kids, families and adults.

Here’s a look.

Science on the Rocks: Fright at the Museum
When: Oct. 17.
Where: Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Discovery Place will be full of tricks and treat for Science on the Rocks: Fright at the Museum, an unforgettable adults-only night at the museum. Grab a cocktail, don your costume and join us for Punkin Chunkin, a Fear Factor Challenge, lots of spooky science experiments, a costume contest and more.
Cost: $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Spinning Spiders and Creepy Crawlers
When: Oct. 18.
Where: Charlotte Nature Museum, 1658 Sterling Dr., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Enjoy Halloween treats and learn about all of our little friends that scurry underfoot, including spiders, bees, bats, scorpions and more. There will be plenty of other not-so-scary activities to enjoy, including puppet shows, story time, crafts and more. Kids are encouraged to wear costumes.
Cost: Included with admission: $6 ages 2 and up, $6.00, free for children under 2 and museum members.

Things that GO BUMP in the Night!
When: Oct. 18
Where: McGlohon Theatre, 345 North College St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: You remember that feeling – the boogeyman in your closet, the monster lurking in the shadow under your bed, the clicking sound on your windowpane. Overcome your fears and let Carolina Voices’ Impromptu ensemble get you in the spirit of all things ghoulish and scary at its annual Halloween concert, with brilliantly twisted music like Don’t Fear the Reaper and I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes. Arrive early for Zombie Camp and get tips and tricks from makeup experts who will help you look your frightful best for the holiday.
Cost: $20 adults, $18 seniors, and $12 students.

The Duke Mansion’s “Homeland” Halloween Party
When: Oct. 25.
Where: Duke Mansion, 400 Hermitage Road, Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Expect great food, live music, and a chance to blow your cover at the historic mansion known as Vice President William Walden’s home on the television series “Homeland.” Sneak into the mansion for gourmet food and hush-hush tunes from the house band, Bad Daddies. Bid on trips, jewelry and other delights at the silence auction, or take a tour of the historic mansion.
Cost: $75 per person ($25 is tax-deductible).

Halloween at the Haven
When: Oct. 25.
Where: Wing Haven, 248 Ridgewood Ave., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: A spooky Saturday in the Wing Haven Garden where children will make a wonderful fall centerpiece with a pumpkin and pansies in addition to a spooky sweet craft, wander the garden paths for a scavenger hunt, and hear ghost stories at a secret gathering spot in the woods. Later, participants will decorate goblin-friendly cookies with refreshments to share. Dress in costume (optional) and for the weather. Limited availability, early registration encouraged. Bring two cans of non-perishable food items for Second Harvest Food Bank and receive a $5 gift voucher good for a future family program at Wing Haven.
Cost: $8 per child non-member, $5 per child Wing Haven member.

Discovery Place will hold a Zombie Survival Weekend this month.

Discovery Place will hold a Zombie Survival Weekend this month.

Zombie Survival Weekend
When: Oct. 24-25
Where: Discovery Place Education Studio, 300 N Poplar St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: If the zombie apocalypse happened today, would you be ready? Go beyond Hollywood depictions with our hands-on training sessions, designed to teach you the skills and science you’ll need to know to defend yourself against the walking dead.
Cost: Sessions start at $50

Myers Park Library Presents: Children’s Pumpkin Party
When: Oct. 31.
Where: Myers Park Library, 1361 Queens Road, Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Throw on your costume* for a fun-filled hour of stories, songs, and games! Children will also make a take home craft and each will receive a treat bag. This program is best for school-age children. Registration is required.
*Costumes are not required, however, if costumes are worn, please make sure they are kid-friendly.
Cost: Free.

Visuween – An Epic Halloween Extravaganza of Monstrous Proportions
When: Oct. 31.
Where: Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: A night of music inspired by bands like Muse (Ish), The Killers (S.O.Stereo), The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Grown Up Avenger Stuff), Jack White (The Waves), Queens of the Stone Age (Semi-Pro), The Strokes (The Business People), Faith No More (Dr Cirkustien) and more.
Cost: Free.

Spirits of Rosedale
When: Oct 24-Nov. 1.
Where: Historic Rosedale Plantation, 3427 North Tryon St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: The Spirits of Rosedale takes visitors on a night tour through the plantation home’s first floor, kitchen basement, and gardens. Rosedale’s living history team presents this family-friendly Halloween program appropriate for audiences ages 6 and up.
Cost: $15, advance tickets available.

Omimeo’s Black Light Magic: Halloween Dream
When: Oct. 24-Nov. 1.
Where: ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
What’s Happening: Join Charlotte’s Omimeo Mime Theatre for a marvelous, luminescent reality, full of crazy characters, unusual illusions and spectacular special effects. Follow the story of a young trick-or-treater as she magically travels from her bedroom to a fantastical world of dreams, masks and haunting images — with just the right amount of Halloween chills. Wear your Halloween costume, fluorescent or white clothes and you’ll really be part of the show.
Cost: $14.

Midnight in the Garden
When: Oct. 31-Nov. 1.
Where: Historic Rosedale Plantation, 3427 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Hear the real tales and ghost stories of encounters and experiences of Historic Rosedale staff and volunteers since 2006. Contact will be attempted in the garden. Who will you hear this night? Who will tap you on the shoulder? What will you see? Please wear flat, quite comfortable shoes and bring a small twist top flashlight. Be prepared to sit on the grass.
Cost: $20.

Paranormal Encounter
When: Oct. 31-Nov. 1.
Where: Historic Rosedale, 3427 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Join professional ghost hunters as they take no more than 8 guests through all 4 floors of Rosedale’s 200 year old plantation house, and attempt contact with the beyond. You will use the latest technology in partnership with the Charlotte Area Paranormal Society. Their team will lead the investigation. Please wear flat, quiet comfortable shoes and bring a small twist top flashlight. You never know what you may find… or what may find you.
Cost: $65.

Hoot and Howl – Day of the Dead
When: Nov. 1.
Where: Carolina Raptor Center,
What’s Happening: Held on the traditional Dia de Los Muertos, the Carolina Raptor Center be remembering extinct species with Calaveras (poems/epitaphs), making paper flowers, engaging in traditional face painting and exploring the sugar skull tradition. The event will also include some traditional Halloween games and crafts including a costume contest, pumpkin painting, trick or treating and making paper plate skeletons.
Cost: $10 adults, $8 students, free for children 4 and under.

Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos
When: Nov. 2.
Where: Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. Seventh St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: The annual free family festival celebrates the traditional Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos, with food, music, arts, crafts, altars and more. Presented in partnership with the Latin American Coalition. It’s not a Halloween event, but it’s an awesome event you won’t want to miss.
Cost: Free.

Why Charlotte’s all of a-flutter

3 Oct

By Amy Bareham
Cultural and Community Investment Intern

Liz Saintsing.

Liz Saintsing.

If you circled Freedom Park at the recent Festival in the Park, you undoubtedly noticed Liz Saintsing, completely in her element and surrounded by silk screens.

Fall 2014 Arts & Science Council Community Supported Art participant and longtime art enthusiast, Saintsing has a vivacious spirit – one that absorbs the natural world in all its intricacy and translates each detail to paper. Drawing from observation is something she’s always known, often documenting scenes from childhood days.

“I grew up just south of Winston Salem,” she said. “It was a pretty rural area. We would constantly be outside. I remember hunting for birds’ nests and egg shells and snake skins.

“Being around nature, that’s certainly something that inspires me. I like the graphic qualities of the birds and the insects and the wide world around us.”

A Guildford grad, Saintsing moved out West, veering away from the stereotypical fine art route and pursuing art with a functional twist. She began printing on “really cool vintage handbags,” and found a niche with women who wanted a little something different on their arm. From there, Saintsing’s screening evolved into a home accessories line.

The process of silk screening caters to someone who’s a gifted drawer like Saintsing. She begins with a subject she wishes to draw and then transfers that drawing on a transparency film. After stretching a screen, she’ll coat it with a light sensitive liquid, leaving it to dry in a dark place before placing the image onto the screen.

As the screen is exposed to light, the image is essentially burned onto the screen and can then be used for production. Most impressive about this process is that computers aren’t involved. While some of the depth and detail form the original drawing are lost in the transfer, the design options are infinite.

CSA shareholders can expect a hand-dyed print, each uniquely different, signed and framed. Saintsing assured me, “They’re amazing.”

Bringing art into the home can feel daunting, especially when the medium is complex, like screening. I asked Saintsing her thoughts on this.

“People are definitely able to see the art,” she said. “Because it’s one of a kind and personalized, even if they’re not familiar with the silk screening process, they appreciate it and treasure it.”

She explained that her home décor products are “conversation pieces…there’s something really beautiful about [them].”

She’s right. Whether birds strike your fancy or you prefer silhouetted botanicals and sea creatures, Liz has something for everyone. With her wide range of coloration and pattern placement it’s easy to spend hours on her website trying to choose just the right piece. Indecisive shoppers beware.

Visit Saintsing’s website for more information.

CMS field trips to continue thanks to Howard Levine

3 Oct

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Howard Levine.

Howard Levine.

More than 20,000 Mecklenburg students will embark on cultural field trips this school year, thanks to a $100,000 donation to the Arts & Science Council (ASC) from Howard Levine, chairman and CEO of Family Dollar.

Funding for the field trips had been suspended for the 2014-15 school year due to a shortfall in ASC’s annual fund drive.

However, Levine’s personal gift, coupled with $50,000 from ASC, restored curriculum-based cultural field trips for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools third- and fifth-grade students.

“For many students, a class trip may be the only opportunity they will ever have to experience Charlotte’s many cultural and historic offerings,” Levine said. “We are fortunate to live in a city with some of the finest artistic outlets and notable landmarks, and it’s important that our children get the chance to experience them.”

Waves of fifth-graders will attend “Endless Possibilities,” a performance tailored for 10- and 11-year-olds and featuring Opera Carolina, Charlotte Ballet and Charlotte Symphony in Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Third-graders, meanwhile, will visit one of five historic sites: Historic Latta Plantation, Historic Rosedale, Rural Hill, Charlotte Museum of History and James K. Polk State Historic Site.

A 2013 picture of then-CMS fifth grade students preparing to see the Endless Possibilities performance.

A 2013 picture of then-CMS fifth grade students preparing to see the Endless Possibilities performance.

“This is an incredible gift to Charlotte-Mecklenburg School students for them to have access to quality cultural experiences that align with the curriculum and help them become creative and critical thinkers for the 21st century workforce,” said ASC President Robert Bush. “Suspending the field trips was not an easy decision to make and restoring them remained ASC’s top priority should we receive funding. I am grateful to Mr. Levine for his generosity.”

With the field trips in jeopardy, Levine stepped up to ensure that thousands of students are still able to receive arts and history experiences that introduce them to a world of possibilities.

“Cultural field trips are a key part of the academic experience for our students,” said Dr. Heath E. Morrison, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “We are thankful for Mr. Levine and his generous gift in support of our students and their academic enrichment.”

ASC invites community to come Together4Meck

3 Oct

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager


ASC President Robert Bush speaking at the announcement of the Together4Meck campaign in support for the quarter-cent sales uses tax.

The community’s Cultural Vision Plan, unveiled last month, outlines an aspirational vision for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s future.

It imagines a future where the cultural sector has greater capacity to build community, programming that fully reflects the changing face of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and instruction that make arts, science and history central to K-12 education and ensure that our students are critical, creative thinkers.

The first step in realizing that vision is securing the dedicated funding necessary to support the continued growth of arts, science and history in Mecklenburg County.

It is why the Arts & Science Council (ASC) is asking you to vote FOR the quarter-cent (one-fourth of a penny) Mecklenburg County Sales Use Tax on the ballot Nov. 4.

The proposed sales tax increase does not apply to food, gas or medicine. The referendum will, however, generate approximately $35 million a year in revenue for Mecklenburg County that would benefit ASC, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

If the referendum is approved, ASC is projected to receive $2.6 million, which would be used to expand cultural education programming, improve access to cultural programs, and secure the future of cultural organizations. It would also restore funding cut by Mecklenburg County the past 10 years.

“The referendum is about this community’s love and support of education,” ASC President Robert Bush told The Charlotte Observer. “All of the recipients … are very much a part of learning and education from the cradle to the grave.”

The majority (80-percent) of the revenue generated by the sales use tax would go to help CMS keep and recruit great teachers and staff for our children. ASC and CPCC would each receive 7.5-percent of the revenues and the county libraries would receive 5-percent.

CPCC would use its portion to attract and retain faculty and staff to help the college better serve the community. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library would be able to invest in books and materials to support educational success for children and teens, improve access to digital content and enhance neighborhood libraries.

The referendum is a “call to action,” MeckEd Executive Director Bill Anderson said at the launch of the Together4Meck campaign in support of the sales use tax. “It is time to reinvest together in education, arts, libraries and bolster economic competitiveness and job creation in Mecklenburg County.”

Please join ASC and its partner organizations in support FOR the referendum by joining Together4Meck at

Africa Umoja: The Spirit of Togetherness

3 Oct

*UPDATE - “Africa Umoja: The Spirit of Togetherness” has been postponed until November 2014.The new dates are now Thursday, November 20th through Saturday, November 22nd.

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Africa Umoja USA 2

“Umoja,” loosely translated, means “together” or “unity.”

And, with the rhythmic beating of drums, jubilant dancing and infectiously delightful songs, there may not be a better example of the spirit of togetherness than Africa Umoja, which unites 32 of South Africa’s brightest and most versatile young performers in an uplifting and energetic stage production.

A colorful celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa and a testament to the indigenous South African people and their music, “Africa Umoja: The Spirit of Togetherness” comes to Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts.

Africa Umoja traces the evolution of South African music and dance from the earliest rhythms to the club sounds of kwaito, the African version of hip-hop that became popular around the time Nelson Mandela took office as South Africa’s president in 1994.

There are traditional love songs, lullabies, musical expression of rural life and songs that reflect the pain of the migrant laborers and their families.

There are also the reminiscent sounds of the vibrant jazz that forced its way free from the constraints of the time and the gospel hymns symbolic of the faith and courage that saw black South Africans through some of the country’s stormiest historical passages.

But, from the forced removals and relocation of black people that occurred when apartheid went into effect in South Africa in 1948 to the “Rainbow nation” optimism of post-apartheid South Africa, Africa Umoja is an explosion of song and dance that will have audiences stomping their feet and clapping along.

Opening night s ASC Night at Africa Umoja. Arts & Science Council donors that have registered their Connect with Culture card were emailed a special discount code to receive 20-percent off their tickets on the Tuesday, Oct. 14 performance. You can register your Connect with Culture card here.

For tickets or more information about Africa Umoja, click here.

Africa Umoja USA


3 Oct

By Amy Bareham
Cultural and Community Investment Intern

Jonathan Grauel.

Jonathan Grauel.

Innovation is today’s buzz word. It has become one of those foundational pillars on which we place dreams for improved education, community and technology. Although we do our best to dress it up with highbrow jargon, innovation at its simplest is people thinking creatively.

Charlotte artist Jonathan Grauel is one such thinker.

A graduate of East Carolina University and former tutee of renowned artist Bob Rankin, Grauel is quickly developing his own legacy as a local creative. His ability to think outside the box – or rather his ability to draw new boxes of all shapes and colors – enables him to take snippets of reality and filter them through imagination, thereby making entirely original artwork with a timeless message.

Grauel’s career began in those formative childhood years when he “enjoyed visual things” and found himself constantly sketching, drawing and doodling. After receiving a BFA in painting and toying with sculpture, Grauel married the two disciplines by painting with three-dimensional figures.

In 2007, Grauel was injured in a garage shelving project and suffered the loss of a finger. OrthoCarolina hand specialist Glenn Gaston was instrumental in preserving Grauel’s range of motion, but the future of his painting career was uncertain.

Fortunately, Grauel’s art cultivates a spirit of hope, evident in the digital turn his art took after the accident. Using an iPad, he found a new vehicle for self-expression and community engagement but is still able to paint traditionally as well. The process for both styles is not dissimilar.

“I start off by responding to what [is] going on around me, I put down a couple words that I hear,” he said. “I

A digital creation by Jonathan Grauel.

A digital creation by Jonathan Grauel.

might start off with a shape from a cup on the table…and that will lead to other lines and shapes that…will play off of each other and spiral up.”

Layering color palettes with shapes enhances the dialogue Grauel can have regarding the final product.

“One of my best painting teachers in college, Paul Hartley…was great and encouraged in me the idea of layering and visually stepping back and seeing the shapes and how they interact…That really resonated with me and stuck,” he said. “Even now with the iPad or when I’m painting with acrylics I’m stepping back…there’s this constant kind of movement of stepping forward and back.”

Grauel is passionate about sharing his art with the community and his affinity for layering also allows collaborative projects to flourish. His work was selected for the Arts & Science Council’s (ASC) inaugural year of ArtPop!, which displays the work of local artists on Charlotte-area billboards, and he is also one of the nine artists participating in ASC’s Fall 2014 Community Supported Art (CSA) program.

His ArtPop! piece, currently displayed off Bill Lee Freeway and Reames Road in Charlotte, began in a fifth-grade classroom.

“A lot of them had never touched an iPad so at the end of the session I said okay, everyone come up here and you each get 60 seconds to make marks,” he said. “Each one had to layer on top of each other’s marks and then I took that and built a village on top of it using their colors.”

These villages feature in many pieces and are inspired by “the places that we go emotionally, spiritually [and] physically.” Grauel explained that he tries to create surreal landscapes that might tap into what other people are going through. The landscapes have adapted a language all their own he says.

“Arches are decisions, the rooks and the towers tend to be security,” he said. “If I look back over time [they are] a journal of my emotional health and everything else and may have something other people can relate to.”

Being influenced by his external world in this way brings unique animation to every piece. There are recognizable elements in his work that makes it accessible.

To appreciate Grauel’s work, it is important to appreciate innovation in its purest form.

“Everyone wants to think that art is just this high education sort of deal and entertainment,” he said. “We get pigeon holed into that…I go to a show and I have these people that surprise me…it’s not so much an age as much as outlook on things and on the world. They’re interested in the shape and they’ve been able to get past the oh it has to look a certain way to oh wow there’s a story [here]. Anyone who’s willing to hear that story is willing to delve into [the art].”

Click here to view more of Grauel’s work.
Click here for a link to the ArtPop! Driving tour.


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