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The Gantt Center Reopens Free To The Public With New Exhibits On Saturday, February 6
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will reopen its doors, free to the public, on Saturday, February 6 after closing on January 13 in response to Mecklenburg County’s directive. Admission is free until March 28, 2021, thanks to a collaboration with the City of Charlotte, Foundation for the Carolinas and local artist collectives, in order to allow the community to access the new exhibit, Lift Every Voice, in the same way that they would the street art celebrated in these works.
The Gantt Center has implemented a new timed ticketing system to ensure social distancing, and will continue current practices of requiring masks, checking temperatures and strategically placing hand sanitizing stations throughout the museum. The link to secure tickets is ganttcenter.simpletix.com.
"The Black Lives Matter mural represented the convergence of a very powerful moment in time," said David Taylor, President & CEO of the Gantt Center. "As an organization, the Gantt Center strives to uplift the voices of African-Americans through the arts. This exhibit fully encompasses that goal by creating a space for the questions, fears and hopes to continue to be shared. It is particularly important to do so during Black History Month."
In addition, the Gantt Center will now operate under a modified COVID-19 schedule as follows:
- Friday: 12 noon - 6 pm
- Saturday: 10 am - 6pm
- Sunday: 12 noon - 6 pm
Although the many programs and events will remain virtual, the Gantt Center is reopening with two newly installed exhibits that visitors to the museum will experience. The first is Vision & Spirit, a collaboration with Bank of America which pulls 120 pieces from their collection to showcase 100 years of African-American history through art. The second being Lift Every Voice which celebrates and advances the movement initiated by the City Of Charlotte’s South Tryon Black Lives Matter street mural.
About Lift Every Voice
This exhibit utilizes installations, photography and video to tell the story of Charlotte’s response to the nationwide outcry against police killings over the summer of 2020. A collaboration with local artist collectives Brand the Moth and BlkMktClt, Lift Every Voice builds on the atmosphere of hope and inclusion born from the creation of Charlotte’s Black Lives Matter street mural and its accompanying efforts.
“The Black Lives Matter mural represented the convergence of a very powerful moment in time,” said David Taylor, President & CEO of the Gantt Center. “As an organization, the Gantt Center strives to uplift the voices of African-Americans through the arts. This exhibit fully encompasses that goal by creating a space for the questions, fears and hopes of this movement to continue to be shared.”
Organizations citywide became involved in the original mural creation, the pedestrian plaza and with the development of Lift Every Voice. Partners include the City of Charlotte, Foundation for the Carolinas, Charlotte is Creative, US Bank, Charlotte Center City Partners, as well as several of the artists involved with the development of the street mural. Many of the artists who painted, chronicled or assisted with the street mural were fundamental to the development of this exhibit.
“It was truly amazing to see the community come together in a positive and creative way in response to such tragic events,” said City of Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “For many, the mural serves as a symbol of the past and how we hope to change and come together as one community moving forward. The city is looking forward to seeing the artwork gain new life at the Gantt Center.”
“As a community foundation, we are committed to promoting racial equity and inclusion and shining a light on important stories and voices,” said Michael Marsicano, Foundation For The Carolinas President and CEO. “We are proud to support Lift Every Voice – a dynamic art exhibit that puts a voice to the anguish so many are feeling. Supporting local art and artists – our visual truth-tellers – is one of the vital ways we can help continue the dialogue toward community action and change.”
A series of sculptures were created as part of the ‘Untitled: An Experimental Street Residency’ program through Brand the Moth, which was funded to keep the energy from the Black Lives Matter mural alive. These pieces will greet visitors as they enter the Grand Lobby. Moving through the gallery proper will recreate the experience and atmosphere surrounding the making of the street mural and tell the story of what followed.
“True civic change can occur from public art,” said Sam Guzzie, Partner & Director of Programming at Brand the Moth. “It calls attention to the reality we live in and asks, ‘What’s next?’ I witnessed seasoned artists assisting their burgeoning counterparts produce the mural. I saw the City of Charlotte create an entire pedestrian plaza to keep the spirit of that mural alive. I saw parents speaking to their young children about systemic oppression in that plaza. The Gantt Center is welcoming the conversation to continue in a juxtaposed environment with Lift Every Voice.”
With the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following the protests against police brutality, spurred by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the City of Charlotte joined other cities from across the nation who quickly responded with a community mural. Charlotte was unique as it was the first city to let artists lead the effort. From the mural’s installation over the summer until the late fall, the mural became a temporary pedestrian plaza, complete with road closure to vehicle traffic so that pedestrians could safely visit and enjoy the space.
Lift Every Voice will host many supplementary programs and events, as well as reimagined digital offerings online to provide opportunities for virtual guests to have an equally impactful experience. Upcoming events include virtual tours, artist talks and community conversations. The Gantt Center will continue to host recurring programs, such as Open Air, Family First and Unmasked. The exhibit will run through March 28, 2021.
About Brand the Moth
Founded in 2016 by Sam Guzzie and Hannah Fairweather, Brand the Moth organizes volunteer community mural projects, promotes community arts and mural education and supports first-time muralists by giving them the knowledge and tools they need to succeed. Learn more at brandthemoth.com.
BlkMrktClt is a gallery and studio space based in Charlotte, NC that works with local photographers and artists of color to offer a safe, creative space to work in. BlkMrktClt hosts a variety of exhibitions and workshops for the artist and the community. Learn more at blkmrktclt.com.
About The City of Charlotte
The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 870,000 residents. The city's priorities are workforce and business development; transportation, planning and the environment; safe communities; and great neighborhoods. Charlotte is No. 6 on U.S. News & World Report’s 150 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2020-21. For the latest news and updates about city government, visit the citywide newsroom at charlottenc.gov/newsroom, and follow @CLTgov on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Foundation For The Carolinas
Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC) serves as a catalyst for philanthropic activity in and is a driver for major civic efforts. FFTC offers innovative solutions that help individuals, nonprofits and companies bring their charitable visions to life. Established in 1958, FFTC is a civic leader and philanthropic partner with more than $2.5 billion in charitable assets across nearly 3,000 charitable funds established by families, nonprofits and businesses. Learn more at fftc.org.
About Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is a multi-disciplinary arts institution located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1974, the Gantt Center’s mission is to present, preserve and celebrate excellence in the art, history and culture of African-Americans and those of African descent through visual and literary arts, dance music, film, educational programs, theatre productions and community outreach. The Gantt Center features fine art exhibitions from around the world and is home to the nationally celebrated John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, which was generously donated by Bank of America, and is accessible online.
Named for Charlotte civic leader and former mayor Harvey Bernard Gantt, the Gantt Center is housed in an inspired and distinguished award-winning structure designed by architect Philip Freelon, co-designer of the new Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). For more information about the Gantt Center and the Initiative for Equity + Innovation, visit ganttcenter.org.
Posted on Thursday, February 04, 2021