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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Gantt Center celebrates 40 years
Marks anniversary with new exhibits, events and membership drive
Published Monday, July 7, 2014 7:00 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

The festivities kick off this week with the opening of three new art exhibits and rollout of a series of community engagement activities, cultural presentations and festive events.

“This milestone provides an extraordinary opportunity to reflect on the Gantt Center’s role in shaping ideas, people and paths in the Charlotte region over the past four decades,” said Gantt Center President and CEO David R. Taylor. “Few communities in our nation have the privilege of prominent, public places that – for 40 years — have carried a mission to present, preserve and celebrate the black experience. Proudly, the Gantt Center holds that distinction for Charlotte.”

As part of the celebration, the Gantt launched its 1974 Challenge Membership Drive earlier this month. The goal is to reach 1,974 members before June 30, 2015. If the goal is made, Duke Energy will award the center a $100,000 grant.

Taylor said the membership drive and anniversary celebration serve as a community call to action.

“The Remember Campaign is a look the last 40 years but also an invitation to become a member and participate in what happens in the next 40 years,” he said.

Formation of the 40th Anniversary Steering Committee and the 1974 Challenge Committee are part of the Remember Campaign’s membership pillar, which aims to recognize longtime supporters, connect with communities and networks and cultivate a new generation of members.

Throughout the remainder of the year, the Gantt Center will present its history by sharing stories in a variety of ways, including a revamped website, new blog, mural, mix of videos and photographs, essays from artists and scholars and biographies of stakeholders who are part of the legacy.

Later this year, the center will host its annual symposium lecture with namesake former Charlotte Mayor Harvey B. Gantt. The keynote speaker will be announced later this week.

Upcoming events and exhibits include:

40 And Counting debut exhibition, July 12

This new exhibition celebrates the Gantt Center’s visual arts legacy with treasured works and artifacts from the center’s permanent collection as well as fine art from past exhibitions on loan from collectors and institutions across the country. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view the art collection that played a central role in the Center’s transformation, the John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art. The collection is being presented in its entirety for only the second time in Charlotte.

GanttFest! 2014, July 26

A daylong celebration of the art and culture of the African Diaspora features music, storytelling, spoken word, dance, food and art.

Jazzy Holiday Gala, An Evening to Remember, Dec. 6

The Gantt Center is scaling up its traditional holiday luncheon to an elegant black-tie affair at the Charlotte Convention Center. There will be a presentation of the 2014 Spirit of the Center Award to Johnson C. Smith University, Hugh McColl, and Deborah Willis Ph.D. Visit ganttcenter.org for more info.

Destination: Cuba, Dec. 19-23

Explore and create new memories with the Gantt Center on its inaugural institutional trip – a five-day, four-night trip to Cuba. The people-to-people learning journey will highlight Afro-Cuban dance, film, art and the Havana Jazz Festival. Travelers will explore the colorful, vibrant history and culture of Cuba — its citizens, contemporary artists, architecture, music and colorful outdoor markets. 


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