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2016 ArtPop artists announced

1 Dec

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

ASC is pleased to announce the 20 regional artists that will be part of ArtPop in 2016. ArtPop is a program in which local artists submit their work to be displayed on available billboard space. ASC, Adams Outdoor Advertising and ArtPop founder Wendy Hickey partnered to launch the local program in 2014.

Billboard installations will begin the week of January 4, 2016, and selected artworks will be displayed throughout the year in Adams Outdoor Advertising’s Charlotte coverage area.

There is no cost to the participating artists. Adams Outdoor Advertising provides the billboard space and ASC covers the production costs of reproducing selected artists’ images on vinyl to fit the billboards.

Hickey established ArtPop as a 501c3 in August. She has expanded the program to seven U.S. cities with a mission to promote local artists work through available media space.

A jury composed of local arts and design experts selected the top submissions for the Charlotte area program, with artists ranked among the top submissions automatically receiving invitations to participate. A public vote on determined the final participants.

Jury-selected program artists (with artistic mediums in parenthesis) are:

Jean CauthenJean Cauthen (oil painting on canvas)

Christopher CraftChristopher Craft (encaustic painting on cradled wooden panel)

Leonor DemoriLeonor Demori (acrylic paint on glass)

Chris EvansChris Evans (acrylic on wood panel)

Julio GonzalezJulio Gonzalez (acrylic painting)

Laura HitchcockLaura Hitchcock (oil painting)

Foozhan KashkooliFoozhan Kashkooli (oil on board)

Allison LuceAllison Luce (fired clay with oxides, under-glaze, glaze and mixed media)

Kyle MosherKyle Mosher (mixed media)

Nicholas NapoletanoNicholas Napoletano (oil paint on canvas)

Osiris RainOsiris Rain (oil on linen mounted to aluminum panel)

Veda SaravanVeda Saravan (acrylics on canvas)

Sydney SogolSydney Sogol (fiber art, weaving, yarn)

Jimi ThompsonJimi Thompson (acrylic/digital)

Rob YoungRob Young (acrylics)

Artists selected by a public vote are:

Susan CardSusan Card (acrylic painting and mixed media)

Barbara EllisBarbara Ellis (acrylic on canvas)

Elyse FrederickElyse Frederick (acrylic and oil pastel)

Jennifer Parham GilomenJennifer Parham Gilomen (thread, rice paper, wax, tea, wallpaper, cotton rag paper)

Veronica MaldonadoVeronica Maldonado (oil on canvas)

Bringing culture to the blocks

29 Oct

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

There are geographical pockets in Charlotte-Mecklenburg where, according to data, residents aren’t engaging in or with the broader cultural community.

Culture Blocks, a new ASC initiative, seeks to change that.

The program seeks to support cultural programming close to where people live by utilizing local libraries and recreation centers.

Here’s how it works:

Over the next several weeks, ASC staff will have informal conversations with residents of five geographic swaths in the county to learn about how they experience arts and culture, the cultural activities they would be interested in participating and the cultural expressions relevant to their communities.

There will also be pop-up cultural activities (think mini-performances by Jazz Arts Initiative or short acts by Children’s Theatre of Charlotte) at libraries and recreation centers located within those areas, scheduled residencies with cultural organizations at venues within the communities, and a community dinner in each of the five blocks for facilitated discussions around arts and culture.

“This is a way for us to connect communities, support diverse cultural expression and to do it without making assumptions about why historically we don’t have data showing that these communities participate in high numbers,” said Tiera Parker, ASC’s new program director for Culture Blocks. “I think it’s a beautiful way to start, so we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what the conversations unearth.”

Tiera Parker, Culture Blocks program director.

Tiera Parker, Culture Blocks program director.

The feedback is crucial to the program in part because there is no predetermined plan for what emerges from the community conversations.

After seeing what themes arise in each of the five blocks, ASC will then work with the communities, cultural organizations and artists to provide those areas with the cultural programming residents say they want.

“So if the people in the community say that the most important thing to them about their cultural life is seeing their heritage on display in the streets, then that gives us the opportunity between January and June to connect with cultural organizations that can meet that need,” Parker said. “Why? Because the community said we want to see our culture on display right where we live.”

It’s a different approach to building and supporting the cultural life of a community.

But that is only the beginning, Parker said. Culture Blocks will help ASC to develop deeper relationships with the impacted zones so they are more connected to the broader cultural community.

“ASC’s vision is a vibrant cultural life for all,” she said, “so if there are cultural expressions that are taking place and we just don’t have an opportunity to connect with that, then we’re missing an opportunity to provide grant support, artist development support, all of the things that we’re providing to organizations that have already connected with us.”

The five geographical pockets of Charlotte-Mecklenburg where Culture Blocks programming will take place are:

  • North of uptown Charlotte along North Graham and North Tryon streets, Statesville Avenue and Sugar Creek Road;
  • East Charlotte along the Central Avenue corridor;
  • Northwest Charlotte bordered by Rozzelles Ferry and Beatties Ford roads and Freedom Drive and State Street;
  • West of uptown between South End and the airport; and
  • Southwest Charlotte.

Culture Blocks is supported through funding from Mecklenburg County.

Making every word count

29 Oct

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

100 Words logo

Think back to your engagement, the time you landed the lead role in the school musical, when you overcame personal tragedy – whatever your best story is.

If you were limited to 100 words, could you tell that story?

It’s the task professional and student filmmakers undertook for the 100 Words Film Festival. The second annual event returns to McGlohon Theater in uptown Charlotte Nov. 6 and 7.

Each film delivers a compelling tale using exactly 100 words, challenging filmmakers to focus on the essence of the story.

Scott Galloway.

Scott Galloway.

“It’s a celebration of concise storytelling,” said festival founder and director Scott Galloway.

Beyond those 100 words is a concept Galloway says democratizes filmmaking. It took him 15 years to get his first film into a film festival.

“I didn’t have the financial means to do it,” said Galloway, a documentarian and founder of Charlotte-based Susie Films.

By limiting dialogue, the festival provides a venue for inherently short films made without the budget constraints of feature-length movies.

It allows professional filmmakers to experiment with storytelling or camera techniques they wouldn’t necessarily attempt for traditional films. Student filmmakers get their work seen because “one, they can afford it and, two, creatively they can get their arms around it,” Galloway said.

Last year’s inaugural festival drew more than 60 submissions, with 30 being premiered at a sold-out McGlohon Theatre. (“Every film in our festival is made for the 100 Words Film Festival,” Galloway said.)

This year, the festival expanded its outreach to local student filmmakers in part through the support of an ASC Cultural Project Grant.

Local college students are paired with charitable organizations such as Camp Blue Skies, Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency and The Green Teacher Network to make films about their work.

“It’s a win for the charitable organization because it gives them the means to have their story told and it’s a win for the students to have their films shown at a film festival,” Galloway said.

The ASC grant also helped increase the films presented and extend the festival to two days. The expanded festival will include a seminar on Nov. 7 featuring Shadow Distribution president Ken Eisen, Emmy-nominated director Andy Abrahams Wilson (“Under Our Skin”) and actress and filmmaker Karen Young (“Jaws: The Revenge,” “The Sopranos”).

Just under 100 submissions were received for this year’s festival, with 35 being shown over the course of both nights. The longest is nine minutes; the shortest is just over a minute.

Keeping track of the words is a countdown clock in the corner of the screen, an idea Galloway got after watching his kids watch YouTube videos.

He noticed how, after a minute or two, they would scroll down to see how much time was left in the videos. He started playing around with the idea, eventually deciding to track words because they’re not as finite as time.

“You get immediate buy-in,” he said. “It’s like, ‘A film that’s only 100 words? I think I can do that.’ It’s a minimal time investment.”

Want to Go?

The 100 Words Film Festival is Nov. 6 and 7 at McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St., Charlotte. Tickets are $10 per event (Friday and Saturday night film screenings and Saturday afternoon filmmaker seminar) and $24 for all three. For more information, visit

Old Growth takes root at the airport

29 Oct

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager


Hoss Haley assistant Justin Turcotte on top of Old Growth, the 40-foot, 20-ton sculpture at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Wilson Air Center.

During the drenching downpour of Hurricane Joaquin, sculptor Hoss Haley built and climbed a tree of his own creation.

Days earlier, he shipped 27 corten steel blocks from his Asheville studio to Charlotte on the back of three semi flatbeds. He then braved the storm to assemble the sedan-sized pieces into Old Growth, the 40-foot, 20-ton sculpture which took root at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Wilson Air Center in October.

“We’re out here welding and I’m getting shocked because it’s raining and it’s wet,” he said. “It seems kind of crazy, but I didn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Hoss Haley.

Hoss Haley.

Haley likened the construction process to playing with oversized Legos. He designed each block to fit square and true within the overall sculpture, even building a machine to weld the roughly quarter-mile (1,500 linear square-feet) of corners in the public artwork.

He experimented by building a smaller, 25-foot model (New Growth) at his studio before erecting the larger version in Charlotte. After assembling the massive sculpture – and after the rain passed – Haley and assistant Justin Turcotte spent the next two weeks continuing to weld and bolt the pieces together.

“Some artists, especially now, tend to work more as designers and then everything kind of gets handed off to fabricators and all of that,” Haley said. “But I choose not to do that and to be very hands on. It’s much more intimate and I can know the work much more intimately.

“There’s nothing lost in it. It’s a pure joy.”

While Old Growth is designed to evoke the presence of a tree, simply making his version of a tree didn’t interest Haley. He wanted to explore the relationship we have with towering trees.

“I did a lot of trying to get a sense of how big trees really can be, looking at how tall is that tree and trying to get my head around how it feels to be in the presence of a large tree,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with the canopy that it creates.”

The concept played into where the sculpture is situated at the fixed base operator facility. The manmade tree oak makes an immediate and impressive statement to visitors as soon as they turn on to the tree-lined drive leading to the air center.

Cars and buses easily pass underneath Old Growth’s lowest branch. The sculpture will eventually provide shelter for airport employees during lunch breaks.

There are a few things left to do before the project is officially finished, including hardscaping, landscaping and lighting. But they’ll get done.

After all, a hurricane couldn’t stop Haley from installing the sculpture.

“To be up in that basket 30 feet off the ground,” he said, “I just felt grateful. I was pretty tired and burned and scarred, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Old Growth.

Old Growth.

Enjoy culture and candy this Halloween

28 Oct

Compiled by Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

This year Halloween falls on a weekend.

Mix some culture in with trick-or-treatin’.

There are several cultural haunts leading up to Halloween to check out before heading out for candy or parties.

halloween kids

From Spinning Spiders and Creepy Crawlers to a theatrical production of Bram Stoker’s famous vampire, there are scary and not-too-scary cultural events happening in Charlotte-Mecklenburg this weekend appropriate for kids, families and adults.

Here’s a look, courtesy

Forever Young: An ‘80s Prom and Halloween Party at The Duke Mansion
7 p.m. Oct. 30.
Where: The Duke Mansion (400 Hermitage Road, Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Bring your sweetie or come with friends to a throwback prom and Halloween party. Enjoy great eats and tunes, bid on trips, jewelry and other treasures at the silent auction. Come in costume or wear your prom finest as you support this annual fundraiser for the preservation of The Duke Mansion.
Cost: Tickets are $75 per person ($25 is tax deductible).

All Hallows Eve Family Day
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 31.
Where: Historic Latta Plantation (5225 Sample Road, Huntersville).
What’s Happening: Enjoy a celebration of all things Halloween. There will be trick-or-treating, games, pumpkin painting, face painting, storytelling, crafts and costume contests! Dress like your favorite historical character for a chance to win a special prize. Learn about the history of Halloween and meet some of the famous characters associated with the holiday.
Cost: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, ages 5 and under free.

creepy crawlersSpinning Spiders and Creepy Crawlers
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Oct. 31.
Where: Charlotte Nature Museum (1658 Sterling Drive, 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: Activities include with museum admission – $8, free for children younger than 2 years old.

Hoot N Howl
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 31.
Where: Carolina Raptor Center (6000 Sample Road, Huntersville).
What’s Happening: Held on the traditional Dia de Los Muertos, the event will remember extinct species with Calaveras (poems/epitaphs), paper flowers, traditional face painting and an exploration of the sugar skull tradition. There will also be some traditional Halloween games and crafts including a costume contest, pumpkin painting, trick or treating and making paper plate skeletons.
Cost: Free with trail admission – $10 adults, $8 seniors, $6 students and free children 4 and under.

Spirits of Rosedale
7:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 29-31.
Where: Historic Rosedale Plantation (3427 N. 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 theatrical production team presents this family-friendly Halloween production appropriate for audiences ages 6 and up.
Cost: $15.

Rosedale Spirit Walk
6:15-7:15 p.m. Oct. 31.
Where: Historic Rosedale Plantation (3427 N. Tryon St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: This is a special Halloween program for younger visitors. Best for children under 10, parents are welcome to join in. There will be a stroll through the gardens with spooky stories to engage the imagination. The goal is to entertain, not scare and have a hauntingly fun time. Costumes are encouraged for this event.
Cost: $10.

7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 and 3 p.m. Oct. 31.
Where: ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center (300 E. Seventh St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Bored by her colorless surroundings, Coraline goes exploring through a magic door and gets trapped in a strange, unsettling parallel world. Get scared out of your wits for Halloween with this creepy musical version of the popular fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. Presented by Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.
Cost: $12-$26.

Matters of Grave Importance
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
President James K. Polk State Historic Site (12031 Lancaster Highway, Pineville).
What’s Happening:
Local historian and preservation expert Jason Harpe will give visitors an intimate look at historic cemetery preservation, and will demonstrate live preservation techniques in the Polk Family Cemetery. This is an outdoor event, so participants should wear appropriate clothing.
Cost: $5 adults, $2 students/seniors; does not include applicable sales tax.

Happy Halloween at Discovery Place KIDS
11 a.m.-noon Oct. 31.
Where: Discovery Place KIDS – Huntersville (105 Gilead Road).
What’s Happening: Kids are encouraged to wear their costumes for safe trick-or-treating, face painting and games. There will be stations set up around the museum for some fun goodies.
Cost: Activities are included with museum admission – $10, free for children under 1.

11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 31.
Where: Carolinas Aviation Museum (4672 First Flight Drive, Charlotte).
What’s Happening: There will be Halloween crafts to make and take, candy treats, a crazy costume contest, and exciting science experiments.
Cost: $12.87 adults, $10.73 seniors, $8.58 students, college students and active duty military, $9.65 retired military and free children 14 and under.

Oct. 30-Nov. 15.
Where: Theatre Charlotte (501 Queens Road).
What’s Happening: This adaptation brings the suspense and seduction of Bram Stoker’s classic novel to the stage. As Count Dracula begins to exert his will upon the residents of London, they try to piece together the clues of his appearances in a valiant attempt to save themselves from a hideous fate. Rich with both humor and horror, this play paints a wickedly theatrical picture of Stoker’s famous vampire.
Cost: $12 – $27.

NC Humanities Council to honor Harvey B. Gantt

12 Oct

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Harvey B. Gantt.

Harvey B. Gantt.

The NC Humanities Council will honor former Charlotte mayor and Gantt Center namesake Harvey Gantt this week with the annual John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities. The award recognizes those exceptional individuals who throughout their lives and careers have strengthened the educational, cultural, and civic life of North Carolinians.

A public lecture and program honoring Gantt will take place Thursday, Oct. 15. The lecture by Bill Ferris, professor of history at UNC Chapel Hill and the senior associate director of its Center for the Study of the American South, takes place at 6 p.m. at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts.
A reception follows the lecture at 7:30 p.m. at Harvey B. Gantt Center at the Levine Center for the Arts (551 S. Tryon St., Charlotte).

The event is free but registration is required; RSVP by Monday, Oct. 12, to 704-687-1522 or . A short walk is necessary between venues. Please indicate if you need transportation assistance when you RSVP.

The Caldwell Award is named for the late Dr. John Tyler Caldwell, former chancellor of North Carolina State University and founding member of the North Carolina Humanities Council.

The North Carolina Humanities Council serves as an advocate for lifelong learning and thoughtful dialogue about all facets of human life. It facilitates the exploration and celebration of the many voices and stories of North Carolina’s cultures and heritage through grants and programs. To learn more about the North Carolina Humanities Council, visit

Integrating the symphony

5 Oct

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Samuel Davis (left) and Larry Sellers became the first black Charlotte Symphony musicians when they joined the orchestra in 1963.

Samuel Davis (left) and Larry Sellers became the first black Charlotte Symphony musicians when they joined the orchestra in 1963.

When Samuel Davis and Larry Sellers become the first black musicians to join the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra back in the fall of 1963, it wasn’t about making history or breaking barriers.

“I never thought of it in terms of being black,” Davis said. “I thought of it in terms of being qualified for the position. If you’re qualified, black, blue – it shouldn’t make any difference.”

Said Sellers: “My thing was, I had been training all my life to play in a symphony, to play this type of music, and I’m good enough, so why couldn’t I play? I didn’t want to be held back because I was black.”

So Sellers went to the symphony office to express his interest in the orchestra.

“They were overjoyed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Davis separately contacted the symphony.

“He called me and said we’re supposed to be at (auditions),” Sellers said. “He had no idea I had already gone down there.”

The friends, who met more than five years earlier through their shared love of symphonic music, auditioned individually before a roomful of symphony principal musicians and board members.

“Boy I tell you that was tension on us,” said Davis, a cellist. “They gave me some music and said, ‘Play this for us please.’ I looked at it and I just played it like it, zoop, zoop, zoop, and they just looked at each other – they didn’t say anything to me – and they said, ‘Okay, you can go out to the other room.’”

Seller’s audition experience was similar. But they both passed and went to their first rehearsal afterward, where symphony musicians “came up to us like it was our birthday,” said Sellers, a violinist.

“Musicians are different,” he said. “Music connects people. I think they respect the art and they need each other. They’re just a different breed of people.”

Audiences, from what they could tell, accepted them too.

“It was a white couple there,” Davis remembered. “They were very nice to me. They kind of sat in the front row and when I played, I looked their way and they always had a nice smile on their face. Whatever it was that I was doing met their approval.”

There were definitely challenges. Sellers recalled being invited to a white symphony member’s house after practice and a neighbor calling his band-mate to ask why blacks were in the neighborhood.

The two musicians also faced enormous pressure.

“If there’s a tough passage in the violin section and you’re the only black person, that conductor’s eyes are on you,” Sellers said. “Nobody else.”

Sellers played 10 years with the symphony for 10 years; Davis played 13 years. The friends, both retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools music teachers, have since continued to play with local and regional orchestras and ensembles.

“I really, really enjoyed that part of my life when I played with the symphony,” Davis said. “You have to work so hard for it but I enjoyed it.”

But it’s because they worked so hard to prepare that symphony members accepted them and helped them along the way. Their peers knew they were up to the challenge, Sellers said.

“We never got the feeling,” he said, “that they were letting us in.”


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