Earth Day art contest for kids

23 Apr

Compiled by Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Earth Day celebrations may have taken place across the globe yesterday, but Earth Day KidsCharlotte-Mecklenburg area students have the opportunity to use art to illustrate why it’s important to celebrate Earth Day every day.

Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) and the Arts & Science Council invite kids in pre-K through 12th grade to participate in a Kids Art Contest honoring Earth Day. Artwork should best portray the child’s or teen’s response to the following:

“For a healthy community, we need a healthy environment. How might you show compassion to others and the natural environment to create a healthy future for all living things?”

Artwork can use any two-dimensional medium-such as watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, pastels, crayons and more-on a single piece of white paper. Artwork should not exceed an 8”x10” template area.

Participants have to be sponsored by a CHS employee to participate. All artwork submissions and completed entry forms must be received by May 22, 2015. Submission forms can be downloaded by clicking here.

What’s your big idea to improve Charlotte?

13 Apr

ASC Staff

Emerging 4 update 2

Do you have an innovative idea that will help make Charlotte more livable? Are you eager to serve and engage your community?

Share your idea with 880 Cities and Knight Foundation and tell them about yourself. You could be selected as a K880 Emerging City Champion.

What is the K880 City Champions program?

emerging 6 smallerThe K880 Emerging City Champions program provides young, emerging and diverse leaders with the opportunity to make immediate and lasting impacts in their communities. K880 and Knight Foundation believe that livable cities are successful cities. Making our cities safer and more enjoyable for everyone, from eight to 80 years old, will help our communities attract and retain talent, create economic opportunity, and build civic engagement.

If you are between the ages of 19 and 35; if you have the ideas; if you’re willing to try and fail and learn; if you have the drive and passion; and, if you live in either Charlotte, North Carolina; Akron, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Macon, Georgia; Miami, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Saint Paul, Minnesota; or San Jose, California, then apply today to be a K880 Emerging City Champion.

880 Cities and Knight Foundation will select 24 Champions from the pool of applicants: three Champions each city.

Benefits to becoming an Emerging City Champion

All Champions will:

  • Receive $5,000 in seed funding to implement his or her proposed idea;
  • Participate in The Emerging City Champions Studio, a training workshop held in Toronto in June 2015 (travel and stipends will be fully covered);
  • Receive professional media training and be supported in developing a communications and promotional strategy. This will include training in writing, social media, and video documentation;
  • Connect to a diverse and inspiring network of peers from across the country;
  • Interact with a mentor (an expert in the field) who will offer support, expertise, and advice throughout the program (880 Cities staff will also be available to support the Champions in implementing their projects);
  • Be recognized and promoted by 880 Cities and the Knight Foundation.

You should apply if you are:

  • A young urbanist, passionate about your community
  • An emerging civic leader, committed to your neighborhood or city
  • An innovator and a creative problem solver
  • A youth activist who wants a better future for your neighborhood
  • A young community organizer eager to explore new ways to get people engaged
  • Someone who loves to walk and bike and who thinks all cities should be bikeable and walkable
  • Ambitious, collaborative, and inclusive

The Emerging City Champions is open to anyone with an innovative idea and the ability to implement it. Applicants may be activists, tactical urbanists, designers, artists, planning professionals, hackers, architects; everyone is welcome. K880 and Knight Foundation are seeking applicants from diverse backgrounds, fresh perspectives, and innovative solutions.

So what are you waiting for?

Click here for more information or to apply. Application closes on MAY 8, 2015. Share your big ideas to make Charlotte better!

Matisse art books make for artful exhibition at the Becthler

1 Apr

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager


Henri Matisse, Icarus, plate VIII of XX, from Jazz, 1947, stencil on paper © 2015 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Imagine sitting in your easy chair and taking in the work of renowned artist Henri Matisse.

That’s how comfortable you will be strolling through the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art at Levine Center for the Arts’ exhibition “The Art Books of Henri Matisse,” which runs through Sept. 7, 2015.

Drawn from the Bank of America Collection, the exhibition features 80 framed original illustrations with text from four of Matisse’s most significant artist books.

“This is truly the first time we have decided to work with another entity, this one Bank of America, to bring to Charlotte a show that had in fact been curated by their motif, which is remarkably strong,” said Bechtler President and CEO John Boyer. “So we do see this as a real partnership.”

Widely regarded as one of the most important painters of the 20th century, Matisse (French, 1869-1954) was part of a generation of artists who recognized there was no material difference between painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and, in this case, art books, and how they strike us, Boyer said.

During his 60-year career, Matisse created a body of work that comprised paintings, drawings, cut-outs and sculpture. Starting in the 1930s, he devoted much of his time to printmaking and book illustration, as livre d’artise’ (artist’s books) had become popular in France.

“It’s increasingly important, I think, for this community and beyond to recognize that artworks such as artist books and prints with the etchings and all of the rest are in no way of less importance because they come in a series,” Boyer said. “Audiences come to understand fully that these were very much intentional acts on the part of the artists.

“This was a form of expression that was critically important to great modernists.”

Henri Matisse, The Cowboy, plate XIV of XX, from Jazz, 1947, stencil on paper © 2015 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri Matisse, The Cowboy, plate XIV of XX, from Jazz, 1947, stencil on paper © 2015 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Matisse became enamored with this art form and created a dozen books, 11 of which were widely reproduced and one made exclusively for his family. Charlotte-based Bank of America owns four of Matisse’s books, which have been loaned to the Bechtler for this exhibition.

Those books are: Poesies de Stéhane Mallarmé (The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé), 1932; Pasiphaé—Chant de Minos (Les Crétois) (Pasiphaé-Song of Minos [The Cretans]), 1944; Jazz, 1947; and Poèmes de Charles d’Orléans (Poems of Charles d’Orléans), 1950.

“In one instance in particular, in Jazz, the entirety of the book is a dimension of Matisse,” Boyer said. “That is to say the images, the text, the very view of the world are an expression of him.”

In addition to the core group of Matisse works, a limited number of artists’ books from the Bechtler’s collection are also on view in the exhibition.

For more information on the exhibition, including museum hours and admission, visit



Stirring our community’s cultural pot

30 Mar

By Robert Bush
ASC President

ASC President Robert Bush.

ASC President Robert Bush.

I think Charlotte-Mecklenburg is the perfect example of a cultural jambalaya. Some residents came to work in the thriving financial sector, while others came as the result of other corporate ventures. When blended with lifelong Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents, these distinctive groups create a tremendous amount of social diversity. It’s what makes Charlotte such a unique place to live, work and play.

Just like any good jambalaya, the ingredients in our community’s pot (with so many different social perspectives and backgrounds) inherently need a unifying base. A stock, of sort, to bring everything together harmoniously, so every resident enhances the community and complements other residents, while still retaining their individuality.

The stock needed to build a unified community is often challenging to find in a region as diverse as Charlotte-Mecklenburg. A perfect example of that difficulty was in the Matthews community of Crestdale. As one of the nation’s oldest historically African-American communities (established by former slaves after the Civil War), Crestdale has deep ties to its rich historical legacy. However, like many aging communities, economic challenges caused many of the last few generations to leave seeking better opportunities, and they never returned.

An old picture of children that grew up in the Crestdale community from the short video "Tank Town: An Oral History of Crestdale."

An old picture of children that grew up in the Crestdale community from the short video “Tank Town: An Oral History of Crestdale.”

Time had eroded the community’s residential base to just a small core of its original families. Then, in what some lifelong residents originally viewed as an intrusion, the federal government began to send them new residents. Montagnard families from Vietnam were relocated to the community due to their assistance to U.S. troops during the ‘60s and ‘70s. During same time as the relocation, Habitat for Humanity began to build homes in Crestdale, which brought another influx of residents.

An old family picture from the Crestdale community from the short video "Tank Town: An Oral History of Crestdale."

An old family picture from the Crestdale community from the short video “Tank Town: An Oral History of Crestdale.”

Many would assume the new life in the neighborhood was all it needed to revive itself to its former glory, but without any ties to one another, the established and new residents found little reason to interact, let alone thrive as a cohesive community. That’s where the Arts & Science Council (ASC) found its window of opportunity.

ASC has always focused on connecting people to the arts, sciences, history and heritage that surround them, so it is a natural fit for ASC to build the bonds of community whenever possible by supporting culturally related projects, and Crestdale was the perfect place to do it. The individual histories, music and visual artistry that Crestdale’s multitude of ethnic backgrounds brought to the community would ultimately be the stock that bound them together with the help of ASC and The Light Factory.

A complex project that incorporated visual art, quilting and oral histories gave residents the platform and the freedom to share their stories, heritages and individual personalities in a way that was not obstructed by ethnic, language or social barriers. The end product was displayed at The Light Factory in an exhibit that most would say was as beautiful in its creative process as it was in its final result. Thanks to the connective power of culture, Crestdale now has the social bonds needed to find its new sense of identity.

We are all in this pot together. We must retain and support the cultural programs, organizations and institutions that strengthen the bonds of our community. ASC is adding a dash of creativity and a pinch of innovation to the stock. With your support stirring the mixture, we have the perfect recipe to keep our cultural jambalaya rich and diverse for years to come. ASC is You & Me.

Tank Town: An Oral History of Crestdale

Celebrating the iconic uptown Wind Sculpture

26 Mar

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Wind Sculpture as it looked in the 1980s.

Wind Sculpture as it looked in the 1980s.

If public art is measured by its ability to transform a space or a place, then perhaps no public artwork in Charlotte-Mecklenburg has had a greater impact than Wind Sculpture by the late Jack Pentes.

When the stack of six spheres, made from metal and in the shape of a triangle, went up in Third Ward on West Trade Street in 1986, there was no Gateway Center or BB&T Ballpark. It was a part of town where people didn’t venture after dark.

Wind Sculpture brought “color, movement and excitement to uptown, which in those days ached for all three,” according to The Charlotte Observer.

“The idea was just to create a structure that moves, a structure that has some life and kineticism, that would be different every time you looked at it rather than a statue,” said Dorne Pentes, Jack Pentes’ son.

The seminal public art piece will soon have a different look as its six panels that have faded over time and lost their luster are replaced with abstract, graphic modern images in time for International Sculpture Day on April 24.

North Carolina-based company Glen Raven, Inc., generously donated the Sunbrella fabric for the new Wind Sculpture panels. Former Arts & Science Council board chair Jennifer Appleby and her team at Wray Ward coordinated the design and creation of the spinning circles.

A preview of what the new Wind Sculpture panels will look like.

A preview of what the new Wind Sculpture panels will look like.

Wind Sculpture will also be celebrated in a future documentary Dorne Pentes is creating about his dad’s recollections of the piece, the first project funded by Queen’s Table, a group of anonymous donors that celebrate Charlotte by funding public art projects that enhance the quality of life in the city.

“It was a great example of some forward-thinking philanthropy and some forward-thinking art that, you know, was not so far out there that it would freak people out,” Dorne said. “It was like, this is art and it can be fun and it can be cool and it can be done by someone from Charlotte.”

Jack Pentes.

Jack Pentes.

In his career, Jack Pentes worked on projects of much larger scales, including sets for Charlotte Symphony and Opera Carolina productions and a now-closed theme park based on “The Wizard of Oz” in Beech Mountain, N.C.

However, Wind Sculpture, which sits in front of the federal courthouse, was his first piece of public art in the conventional sense. Local company Davis Steel & Iron fabricated the work. The whimsical panels, originally designed to be rotated out on a regular basis (which proved impossible to do, said Dorne), quickly resonated with the community.

“People really enjoyed it,” Dorne said. “They loved it. They loved seeing it. They came downtown to see it. They all walked downtown.”

The sculpture, with its whirling circles, has since been a source of pride and a constant in the gateway to West Charlotte. It’s been gratifying for Dorne to watch that end of the city grow around it.

“(My dad’s) work was one thread in a pattern of cloth that became downtown Charlotte as it is now,” said Dorne, a Charlotte native. “It was just one little piece of the puzzle, but it’s a beautiful piece of the puzzle.”

Our 2015 spring festival roundup

26 Mar

Compiled by Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

May flowers won’t be the only things popping up this spring.

King Drive Art Walk. Photo credit: Festival in the Park.

King Drive Art Walk. Photo credit: Festival in the Park.

The arrival of warmer weather and longer days means outdoor festivals are right around the corner. And investments by the Arts & Science Council (ASC) will be helping Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents and visitors make the most of the season.

ASC supports festivals throughout the year primarily through Town Initiative and Cultural Festival grants that increase access to arts, science, history and heritage programming and strengthen the quality of cultural programming in neighborhoods and towns across our community.

Many of these festivals take place in April and May, when individuals and families are looking to get outside after the chill and dreariness of winter.

Here’s a look at four upcoming festivals, supported by your investment in ASC, to look forward to in the coming weeks.

11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 25 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 26, 2015.
Where: Little Sugar Creek Greenway on Kings Drive, 600 S. Kings Drive, Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Presented by Festival in the Park, the annual event focuses on fine and emerging artists. Dozens of artists, ranging from clay and metal to mixed media and painting, will have their work on display and available for purchase. There will also be crafts, music and family entertainment.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 18 and noon-4 p.m. April 19, 2015.
Where: Main Street and town green in downtown Davidson.
What’s Happening: The North Mecklenburg festival brings thousands of people to Davidson to enjoy art, live music and food. The juried art festival features booths filled with art works from artists throughout the region. The weekend also includes musical performances by a variety of local talents and a host of food choices from on-site vendors and area restaurants.

10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 9, 2015.
Where: Downtown Huntersville.
What’s Happening: Huntersville’s annual music and arts festival will feature regional artists, live entertainment, food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities and more.

May 16, 2015.
Where: Ramsey Creek Park, 18441 Nantz Road, Cornelius.
What’s Happening: The family-oriented event celebrates Asian cultures, diversity, ethnicity, roots and history. The dragon boat race is a team competition that recognizes an important part of the Chinese traditional calendar – dragon boat racing originated over 2,300 years ago on the life-sustaining rivers of southern China.

Other Community Festivals

Matthews Earth Day Celebration
10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 18.
Where: Stumptown Park, 120 S. Trade St., Matthews.
What’s Happening: Composting information will be available, as will wildlife and animal exhibits, eco-friendly displays and green businesses and services. There will also be food vendors, music, crafts and more.

Romare Fest
May 2, 2015 (performances begin at 1 p.m.).
Where: Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: The party in the park will feature performances from regional artists, art, children’s activities and more, including a performance by 1990s alt-rock band The Spin Doctors.
Special Note: ASC hired Seattle artist Norie Sato to work with Charlotte-based LandDesign to integrate themes from Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden’s work in the park.

Mint Hill Madness
4-11 p.m. May 22, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. May 23 and noon-6 p.m. May 24.
Where: Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park, 8850 Fairview Road.
What’s Happening: The festival, which celebrates the town’s founding, has something for everyone in the family: food, music ranging from country to rock, a carnival, an arts/crafts fair, a parade, and a fireworks display.

Three Bone Theatre connected to community

26 Mar

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

The cast and director of the Three Bone Theatre production of "The Yellow Boat."

The cast and director of the Three Bone Theatre production of “The Yellow Boat.”

A wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.

Reba McEntire fans—and who isn’t?—will realize those are the three things the country singer and actress said you need to succeed in life.

They’re also the three things you need to make it as a theater company, said Robin Tynes, who co-founded the aptly named Three Bone Theatre.

“The idea is that we use kind of the core values of each of those bones to influence our work,” Tynes said of the Charlotte-based company.

“So the backbone is about strengthening our community and also having strong artistic work. The wishbone is making sure we’re doing inspirational work and work that inspires other artists. And the final funny bone is that theater, no matter how dark or political or twisted that you can make it, still has to be entertaining and still have some value because if it doesn’t then no one will watch.”

The theater’s upcoming production, “The Yellow Boat” by David Saar, exemplifies those values. Based on the real life story of a child born with congenital hemophilia and who died at the age of 8 of AIDS-related complications, the story affirms the strength and courage of children and celebrates the role caregivers play in helping children with terminal or chronic illnesses cope.

“The story lends itself to celebrating those people that we don’t celebrate that much and to bringing awareness to what the journey is for childhood illnesses is like for the whole family,” Tynes said.

A community-focused company, Three Bone Theatre partners with local organizations throughout its season. It does so by matching the themes of its productions to the causes of area nonprofits. During the run of its production “2 Across,” for example, it held a book drive and collected donations for an organization that collects books for children.

“It’s just a way that theater allows people to walk through stories they wouldn’t necessarily walk through in real life and connect with other people,” Tynes said. “Charlotte has such a rich vibrant community and we wanted to make sure we were telling all of those stories and connecting them back to a local organization.”

For this production, Three Bone is partnering with Team Odin Baer, a support and community group for a young boy in Salisbury with an inoperable brain stem tumor.

To further connect the local community to the theme of the show, the theater applied for and received a $2,622 Cultural Project Grant from the Arts & Science Council (ASC) to present a special performance of the play for families and care providers of chronically or terminally ill children at Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square.

The company typically hosts its productions at the NoDa venue UpStage, a haven for independent theaters in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. But the theater needed a bigger space so it could invite families and caregivers from Ronald McDonald House and Hemby Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.

“We can’t on a regular basis afford to do a show in the Duke, but we thought this was something special and maybe we can get some help with it,” said executive director Becky Schultz. “We are so excited that this was our first grant application and it was approved and it’s something that we’re going to be able to bring to fruition.

“It’s a bit of a wish-dream.”

The production itself is huge step for the three-year-old theater, said Tynes, who is directing the play.

“It’s a more technical show from what we usually do, it’s a bigger budget from what we usually have and it’s a pretty big cast compared to what we usually have,” she said. “It’s pretty groundbreaking for us in a lot of ways.”

After the special performance for families and caregivers at Duke Energy Theater on May 1, the show will run May 8–9 and 15–17 at Upstage.

“It’s a story about a child living and it’s as hopeful and uplifting a story about a child passing away can be,” Schultz said. “There will be sad tears but there will also be happy tears hopefully and you go home and hug your family and take a little bit more joy in every day of your life.”


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