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Arts and Entertainment

Charlotte summer arts preview
What's hot this summer in arts & entertainment
 
Published Thursday, June 5, 2014 6:34 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

PHOTO/ACTOR'S THEATRE OF CHARLOTTE
"Passing Strange," a musical about sex, drugs and rock and roll, opens June 5 at the Actor's Theatre of Charlotte with "Pay What You Can Night."

Charlotte’s creative community is heating things up this summer. From innovative theatrical performances, to artistic displays and celebrations of music and history, here’s a preview of what’s happening on the Charlotte art scene:

ACTOR’S THEATRE OF CHARLOTTE 

Celebrating its 25th season, ATC has come to be known as a destination for bold, engaging, innovative and sometimes controversial new plays in Uptown Charlotte. ATC is dedicated to programming exclusively for mature audiences and is one of the most award-winning professional theatre groups in town.

The Tony-Award winning play, “Passing Strange,” is running June 5-28 with June 5 being “Pay What You Can Night.” “Passing Strange” is a heartfelt and hilarious story about sex, drugs and rock and roll. The rock musical follows the story of a young bohemian and his journey from middle class black America to Amsterdam, Berlin and beyond.

www.atcharlotte.org

MINT MUSEUM UPTOWN

As the oldest art museum in North Carolina, and one of the largest collections in the Southeast, The Mint Museum offers visitors inspiring and transformative experiences through art from around the world via innovative collections, exhibitions and educational programs.

The Mint Museum is a non-profit, visual arts institution comprised of two facilities: Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph.

Admission is free after 5 p.m. Wednesdays, so it’s a great day to stop by either location and see the museum’s vast collection, which explores a broad range of art and the human condition on a global scale.

Exhibitions include: American Art, Art of the Ancient Americas, Craft + Design, Decorative Arts, Fashion, African Art, Native American Art and Modern and Contemporary works.

As the summer heats up, the Uptown location is giving visitors even more reasons to stop by with Wine on Wednesdays, which includes free admission, cash bar and live entertainment. 

www.mintmuseum.org

CHARLOTTE BALLET

After 44 years as N.C. Dance Theatre, the oldest professional dance company in the state changed its name to Charlotte Ballet. The new name was announced in April as part of a vast rebranding campaign. President and Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux said the company’s new identity is not about changing what they do, but rather defining it.

Charlotte Ballet has received critical recognition nationally for excellence in programming, education and outreach, and dance training. This summer, the company will offer two dance camps for children ages 3-12. These camps are ideal for students who are interested in professional careers in dance, as well as those who simply want to experience the joy and benefit of dancing for fun. Children ages 3-6 can take part in weeklong Storybook Camps, and students ages 7-12 can enjoy a two-week, all day Summer Arts Dance Camp.

Registration is now open, and no dance experience is necessary to participate.

www.charlotteballet.org

THE HARVEY B. GANTT CENTER FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN ARTS + CULTURE

Named after Charlotte’s first African-American mayor, The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture celebrates the contributions of Africans and African Americans to American culture and serves as a community epicenter for music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education programs, literature and community outreach.

The 46,500-square-foot Gantt Center is located in the heart of Charlotte’s central business district in the area once occupied by the city’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood, the once-thriving center of the black community that was razed in the 1960s.

On June 7, stop by between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for some family fun as the Gantt Center hosts “Move Your Body: A Day of Music and Dance for the Family.” It’s a celebration of Black History Month. Artists Oneaka Mack and Rocio Gonzales will highlight the connections between West African and Latin dance. The day will begin with an open drumming circle followed by two dance workshops teaching the techniques of West African movements and Latin dances including Cumbia, Merengue and Salsa.

Be sure to check out the exhibit “African American Art Since 1950: Perspectives from the David C. Driskell Center,” which features the works of renowned artists Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, and Sam Gilliam coupled with the work of exciting new visionaries, including Chakaia Booker, Lorna Simpson, and Kara Walker, before it leaves June 15.

www.ganttcenter.org

LATIBAH COLLARD GREEN MUSEUM

Why name a museum after collard greens? 

LATIBAH Collard Green Museum founder T’Afo Feimster said it’s all about paying homage to the staple of southern cuisine, which dates back to prehistoric times.

Although greens did not originate in Africa, it was not until the first Africans arrived in Jamestown, Va., that Americans got their first taste. Collard greens were one of a few select vegetables that enslaved African-Americans were allowed to grow for their families, and Feimster believes they are symbolic of African-American traditions and heritage.

As for LATIBAH, it’s an acronym for “Life And Times In Black American History.”

This history museum, which recently relocated to 720 Tuckaseegee Road in West Charlotte, serves as a center for education on the significant times and events of Black America’s cultural development.

Stop by to browse Feimster’s life size exhibitions or the works of the three other resident artists that call the art house home, including Tommie Robinson, Nellie Ashford and Jerry Taliaferro.

On June 15, LATIBAH is hosting a Cultural eXchange Festival from 2-7 p.m. This family fun program focuses on embracing diversity by sharing history and cultural traditions from various ethnic groups.

It will be a day of authentic cultural music, ethnic dancing, interactive theatre, drum circles and more. A Father’s Day Tribute is scheduled at 4 p.m.

www.latibahmuseum.org

BECHTLER MUSEUM OF ART

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art houses works by the most important and influential artists of the mid 20th century including Miró, Giacometti, Picasso, Calder, Hepworth, Nicholson, Warhol, Tinguely, Ernst, Le Corbusier, Chillida and many others. 

However, its greatest jewel is perhaps the building itself. It is only the second in this country designed by the internationally renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta.

A key design element of the four-story structure is the soaring glass atrium that extends through the museum’s core and diffuses natural light throughout the building. Botta maintained a rigorous but elegant simplicity throughout the building with a palette of materials which include steel, glass, terra cotta, black granite, polished concrete and wood.

Stop by to learn more about Botta from the exhibit “Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory,” which runs through July 25.

Also on display this summer is “Max Bill: Selected Works,” which highlights Max Bill’s examination of the world through examples of Concrete art—art with no symbolic implications.

The exhibition features 12 works created between 1935 and 1979, including lithographs, serigraphs and sculptures. The objects support the exploration of Bill’s fascination with the relationship between mathematics, engineering and visual arts, especially his interest in the Möbius strip.

Other programs and events being held at the Bechtler this summer include Jazz at the Bechtler and Modernism + Film program, which screens independent films and documentaries.

www.bechtler.org

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