Tag Archives: north carolina

ASC Honors, Cato Lifetime Achievement in Teaching Award – Andrew West, History

15 Oct

ASC Honors-Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Arts, Science or History celebrates the lifetime achievements of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg resident in the visual, design or performing arts, history, literature or science. Thanks to the generosity of the Cato Corporation, ASC is also able to honor lifetime achievement in teaching art, science and history for Pre-K-12 teachers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region with the ASC Honors-Cato Lifetime Achievement in Teaching Awards. To find out more, click here.

By Bea Quirk

Andrew West was born in North Wilkesboro, but he is Charlotte-bred – or more specifically, Myers Park High School-bred.

MPHS is where he went to school, and it was there that he realized he wanted to be a high school history teacher. “I had many good teachers there who inspired me.”

Myers Park High School Teacher Andrew West is honored with the Cato Lifetime Achievement in Teaching award

After graduating from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in history — and a year’s teaching stint at Harding High School — West returned to his alma mater to teach, where he is beginning his 21st year.

“I don’t just consider Myers Park my home – it is my child, my life,” West says.

But one thing did not go as planned. West started out as a history teacher – but also taught one class in speech and debate. Now, under his tutelage, the debate club has become so popular and successful that most of his teaching duties are in speech and debate. This fall, he is teaching a history class for the first time in several years.

MPHS has won the state championship in speech and debate nine of the last 15 years, most recently in 2010. He has coached more students to the national tournament than any other coach in North Carolina. Last year, he coached the National Debate Champion, Priyang Shah.

Each January MPHS hosts the largest debate tournament in the Southeast and one of the largest in the country. Typically, some 800 students from 50 schools participate.

“I enjoy spending time with students – after school and on the weekends when we got to tournaments,” West says. “They truly make it worth it These are top-notch kids.”

A good debater must learn a multitude of skills – conducting research, writing a speech and then making a good presentation, which includes the delivery itself, as well as their stance, demeanor, gestures and facial expressions. “We make them confident,” West says.

West has not lost his love of history. He has an extensive collection of books about the Civil War, a legacy from his father. American history remains his favorite topic, particularly the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

America I Am, Other Exhibits Converge on Charlotte for DNC

4 Aug

By Karin Reed, Arts & Science Council

As Charlotte welcomes thousands of delegates and media from around the world for the Democratic National Convention, the museums at the city’s Levine Center for the Arts are showing major national exhibits. Largest among them is Tavis Smiley’s America I Am: The African-American Imprint at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

America I AM is making its eighth stop at the Gantt Center.

This vast exhibition is divided into 12 galleries and covers more than 10,000 sq. ft. Based on the question, posed by W.E.B. DuBois, “Would America have been America without her Negro people?”, the exhibit takes you on journey through the last 500 years and highlights the African American impact on culture, religion, and politics.

America I AM begins with the Africans voyage to North America. Displayed on the wall is another W.E.B. DuBois quote that reads “Before the pilgrims landed we were here.”  Neon footsteps lead you into the first gallery which features dungeon doors from Cape Coast Castle also known as the “Doors of No Return.”  African contributions to the Americas such as instruments, spices, and traditional celebration are highlighted as well as what life was like in America for Africans.

The second floor of the Center features significant events in American history like the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, World Wars I and II as well as the Civil Rights movement. It also emphasizes effectual African Americans and their contributions to the time period. More than 200 artifacts and relics are on display including Fredrick Douglas’ proof of freedom, Rosa Parks’ arrest report, and the key to a jail cell that detained Martin Luther King, Jr.  America I AM also features memorabilia from present day African American idols like Serena Williams, Prince, and Michael Jordan.

While touring America I AM you will learn about African heritage and the African American impact in a unique way. This exhibition is visually interesting and entertaining, and a great educational experience.

To learn more about America I AM visit www.americaiam.org. More information about the Harvey B. Gantt Center can be found at http://www.ganttcenter.org.

Mint Museum Uptown 

The Mint Museum Uptown features two major exhibits for convention goers. The pin collection of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the artwork of Thorton Dial take center stage.

During her career in public service, Madeleine Albright famously used her jewelry to communicate diplomatic messages. Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection reveals an intriguing story of American history and foreign policy as told through Secretary Albright’s jeweled pins.

To learn more about Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection, click here.

Thornton Dial is a keen observer of the human spectacle and its narratives of corruption and moral strength, folly and triumph. As an artist, he has spent the last two decades exploring the truth of American history and culture in all its complexities and contradictions. This exhibition presents a major survey of Dial’s work, an epic gathering of over thirty large-scale paintings, sculptures and wall assemblages that address the most compelling issues of our time.

To learn more about Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, click here.

Bechtler Museum of Art

Opening on August 31 is the Bechtler’s homage to Alberto Giacometti and his place in the Bechtler family’s history.

Giacometti: Memory and Presence celebrates the extraordinary relationship between the Bechtler family and Alberto Giacometti. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art will present sculptures, paintings, prints and drawings spanning the artist’s oeuvre that reveal the aesthetic evolution, emotional power and existential qualities of his creations. Works from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art collection as well as loans from European institutions and Bechtler family members will be on view.

To learn more about the exhibition and the Bechtler, click here.

Visual Art for the Visually Impaired

2 May

Last month, ASC oversaw the installation of Po Shu Wang and Louise Bertelsen’s artwork Sight Unseen at Midtown Park on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.

Normally, visual art is by definition not accessible to the sight-impaired. For this project, the artists began by ‘envisioning’ through the ears and hands of a sight-impaired person. Noticing the similarity between the embossed dots of Braille signage and those embossed on a music box cylinder, they created a union of these two seemingly unrelated items in their artwork. The works feature a modified music box which plays Braille letters placed on a music staff to create notes. When the music box within the art is moved, visitors experience unique music.

Meet Po Shu and Louise and find out about the artwork here:

The artists, who together make up Living Lenses, were selected by the Public Art Commission. The artwork was paid for by Mecklenburg County’s 1% for art ordinance.

“Passing through Light” Connects Communities

30 Mar

In 2011, the Arts & Science Council managed Public Art Commission along with Johnson C. Smith University and the City of Charlotte commissioned light artist Erwin Redl to complete a public art project at the I-77 Underpass at W. Trade Street. “Passing through Light” meant to create a positive passage between Uptown and West Charlotte was installed in March 2012.

The project was paid for by Johnson C. Smith University and the City of Charlotte.

New Fire Station #42 Gets Gates

13 Mar

Artist Zachary Noble was selected by the Public Art Commission to do the public artwork for the new Fire Station #42 on Central Avenue. Noble fabricated two 1300 pound gates that represent both the fire station and the community in which the fire station resides.

Hear Noble explain his inspiration and talk about the gates below.

The artwork was paid for by the City of Charlotte’s 1% for art ordinance.

Surprising Public Art Is All Around

29 Feb

ASC’s Public Art Program views public art as integral to a community’s fabric by recognizing the potential of art to create livable cities, enhance neighborhood identity, strengthen economic development and tourism, educate children and adults and enrich the spirit and pride of its citizens.

Alan Greenspan peeks down from Raymond Kaskey's Commerce sculpture.

The public art program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg was initiated in 1981.  In 2003, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners and Charlotte City Council adopted ordinances that appropriate 1 percent of eligible capital improvement project funds for public art.  This will ensure that artworks enhance our public spaces and become an integral part of urban and economic development efforts.

In addition to artwork commissioned by ASC’s Public Art Commission there are numerous private commissions throughout Center City. Collectively these public artworks add vibrancy and dimension to Center City.

Ned Kahn's Wind Silos. Photo by Shaina Spring.

Ned Kahn, Wind Silos – Commissioned in 2005 by Bank of America, the shimmering Wind Silos adorns the facade of the International Trade Center parking deck. Kahn’s inspiration for the piece came from the Archer Daniels Midland silos still standing in Fourth Ward.

Ben Long, Continuum – Bank of America owns multiple Ben Long frescoes along N. Tryon St. Three are at the company’s corporate headquarters and the other is at the TransAmerica Building at 401 N. Tryon in an exterior rotunda. The fresco features many faces of North Carolina. Among those is former Bank of America Chairman and CEO Hugh McColl. Mr. McColl casually looks out from the edge of the fresco. See if you can find him.

Larry Kirkland, The Writer’s Desk – This piece of artwork was commissioned to honor Rolfe Neill, the former publisher of the Charlotte Observer. Enjoy quotes from Neill’s Sunday columns and play around on the typewriter keys. See The Writer’s Desk at ImaginOn at 300 E. 7th St.

Can you find Hugh McColl in Ben Long's Continuum?

Raymond Kaskey, Sculptures on the Square – Among the most recognizable pieces of public art in Charlotte, Sculptures on the Square, were commissioned in 1994 by The Queens Table. Kaskey, a preeminent American sculptor whose work adorns the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. among others, sculpted each of the four pillars to represent Charlotte’s past, present and future. This is represented by Commerce, Transportation, Industry and Future. See if you can find the bust of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Commerce. See the artworks at the intersection of Trade St. and Tryon St.

Andrew Leicester's Flying Shuttles

Andrew Leicester, Flying Shuttles – They’re the bright colored obelisk like structures in front of Time Warner Cable Arena. Think you know what they represent? Leicester used North Carolina’s textile history as inspiration for creating the flying shuttles that run along East Trade St. Each one represents a textile bobbin with thread wrapping around. Find more public art all over the arena property.

Larry Kirkland's The Writer's Desk. Photo by Shaina Spring.

Christopher Janney, Touch My Building – Perhaps the most interactive piece of public art in Charlotte, Touch My Building has wrapped around the parking deck at 7th Street Station since 1998. This piece, another commissioned by Bank of America, features “fins” that light up and play sounds on touch. The art is also hiding a riddle – so goes the legend, if you touch the fins in the correct order the building will reveal a musical and light show. Can you solve the riddle?

Jean Tinguely, Cascade – Famed kinetic sculptor Jean Tinguely came to Charlotte in 1990 and 1991 at the urging of his friend Andreas Bechtler, who also happens to be the main benefactor of Charlotte’s Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Tinguely’s last monumental sculpture before his death came together out of pieces discovered locally and on the site of the old Hotel Charlotte, where the Carillon building and Cascade now stand. Did you know a lion’s head from the facade of the Hotel Charlotte is incorporated into Cascade? Check it out at 227 W. Trade St.

Interested in seeing more? Click here for the public art walking tour map and click here for the walking tour podcast.

Building Cultural Communities with power2give.org

29 Feb

More than a year and a half ago, ASC set out to create a new way to support arts, science, history and heritage in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. After almost a year of research, design and build-out we launched power2give.org in late August 2010. power2give took the concept of internet based crowd funding to local cultural organizations.

The project rapidly hit benchmarks and today, thanks to the generous support of hundreds of individual donors, including matching grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Foundation for The Carolinas, more than $254,000 has been contributed to support various 501 c (3)’s with cultural projects and/or missions.

It has supported bird feeding at Wing Haven, helped the Charlotte Symphony bring orchestral music and education to students at Winterfield Elementary and provided dance uniforms for North Carolina Dance Theatre REACH! students.

Charlotte Children's Choir raised $10,000 to pay for travel to The White House for a holiday concert through power2give.org

It was with that success that we were eager to expand power2give beyond the borders of Mecklenburg County. A sister site was launched in Louisville, Kentucky in mid-December. Through a lot of hard work,  the Fund for the Arts has raised more than $221,000 supporting projects throughout the state of Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Following not too far behind was the Department of Cultural Affairs in Miami-Dade, Florida. They too have worked hard with the cultural organizations in their area and raised more than $217,000.

If you’re counting, power2give.org has helped raise almost $700,000 for 181 projects in three states. The continued growth of the site and enthusiastic involvement of organizations, businesses, foundations and donors has demonstrated the power of the project.

ASC is excited about the future of and possibilities for power2give.org. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be announcing new matching gifts and expansions. Stay tuned as we help shape a vibrant cultural life for all in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and help other communities do the same.


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