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Art + Culture

Planting possibility

Last November, the shape of President Andrew Jackson sitting astride a horse was dug into the dirt close to the corner of Griffith and Main streets in downtown Davidson. The hollowed silhouette was the first element of “Unshadowed Land,” a yearlong immersive art installation led by Tlingit and Unangaxˆ (indigenous people from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska) artist Nicholas Galanin. Photo: Will Wilson

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A new art show in Charlotte focuses on giving Black women a voice

When visual artist Teresa Hopson noticed a gap in Charlotte’s art scene, she drew up a proposal for an exhibit featuring Black women artists. Hopson received a $3,000 artist support grant from the Arts & Science Council to coordinate the show. Photo: Demetria Jennings

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New Charlotte art gallery exhibit inspired by Zadie Smith’s ‘White Teeth’ novel

Newman took inspiration for “A Midnight Thing,” an exhibit she curated at SOCO Gallery in Charlotte that began June 15 and runs through Aug. 3.  Photo: Courtesy of Hồng-Ân Trương

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Awards, applause for Latinx film community

 Hastings founded the Official Latino Film Festival, a traveling event, in 2015. Hastings stipulated that any films considered for the festival had to be produced in the U.S. by people in the Latina and Latino community. “The festival is centered around the accomplishments of the Latinx

community here in the United States,” says Hastings. Photo Courtesy of Danny Hastings

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Planting possibility

Last November, the shape of President Andrew Jackson sitting astride a horse was dug into the dirt close to the corner of Griffith and Main streets in downtown Davidson. The hollowed silhouette was the first element of “Unshadowed Land,” a yearlong immersive art installation led by Tlingit and Unangaxˆ (indigenous people from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska) artist Nicholas Galanin. Photo: Will Wilson

Read More

A new art show in Charlotte focuses on giving Black women a voice

When visual artist Teresa Hopson noticed a gap in Charlotte’s art scene, she drew up a proposal for an exhibit featuring Black women artists. Hopson received a $3,000 artist support grant from the Arts & Science Council to coordinate the show. Photo: Demetria Jennings

Read More

New Charlotte art gallery exhibit inspired by Zadie Smith’s ‘White Teeth’ novel

Newman took inspiration for “A Midnight Thing,” an exhibit she curated at SOCO Gallery in Charlotte that began June 15 and runs through Aug. 3.  Photo: Courtesy of Hồng-Ân Trương

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How Jimmie Johnson’s Daytona 500 NASCAR race suit was transformed into a piece of art

The idea to transform NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson’s fire suit into a piece of art was conceived over dinner one night in 2016.


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Daring to dance

Katherine Nobles never imagined she’d be on stage dancing with her daughter and father. But that’s exactly what happened in December when all three were cast in Charlotte Youth Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker. PHOTO: Vironica Dawson

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Charlotte, Chicago youth dancers join forces in film about being seen for who they are

“A Chance to DanceOn” will premiere in Charlotte on Jan. 8 at Ayrsley Grand Cinema to a sold-out crowd. The nearly two-hour documentary, produced by Chicago-based producer and Emmy Award-winning editor Richard Hemmingway, features 25 dancers from A Chance to Dance and DanceOn.

PHOTO: Phil Roccuzzo

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‘Violins of Hope’ return to Charlotte, with more stories to tell about the Holocaust

On April 26 and 28, “Intonations” will be performed by an ensemble of students from the UNC Charlotte Orchestra, Queens University of Charlotte and Central Piedmont Community College, as well as by Karpov, a high school sophomore in the Charlotte area.

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How can young Charlotte musicians get started, easier? Symphony Orchestra has a plan

In February, the youth ensemble will begin Saturday rehearsals at First Baptist Church-West at 1801 Oaklawn Ave. Students accepted into the program will participate weekly through June. This short season will conclude with a performance at an uptown Charlotte venue.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Charlotte Symphony Orchestra

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Get to Know Charlotte's Art Community

Engage with Charlotte’s rich art community with a visit to a gallery or museum, by attending an event or participating in a workshop. Vibrant murals, created by local and national visual artists, have become part of the city’s fabric, adorning walls throughout Charlotte’s diverse neighborhoods. Artist: Kilee Price at SOCO Gallery

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A Charlotte singer-songwriter’s company empowers and develops business-savvy artists

Charlotte-based singer-songwriter Arsena Schroeder didn’t think her career path included music until she was a freshman at Pfeiffer University. A classmate who’d heard her sing asked Schroeder to help write and record a duet on a mixed tape. PHOTO: Andrea Orr

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Women in recovery find creativity and healing in a Charlotte author’s class

Dove’s Nest resident Sabrina Jones wrote “live by faith not by fear” in response to her teacher’s writing prompt. Dove’s Nest is part of Charlotte Rescue Mission, a nonprofit organization for addiction recovery.

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UNC Charlotte professor’s podcast connects witchcraft, how we interact on social media

The intersection of mythology, pop culture and science intrigues Heather D. Freeman, professor of art and digital media at UNC Charlotte.

 PHOTO: Heather D. Freeman

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Former child prodigy gets to ‘stretch his boundaries’ with the Charlotte Symphony

The symphony had postponed auditions for seven openings due to COVID-19 protocols, and staff and space scheduling. For the 2021-22 season, acting section positions were offered to musicians without an audition. 

PHOTO: Richard Israel Photography

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Bold rebirth

When visual artist Frankie Zombie was hounded by a longtime friend to paint a Yamaha piano, he resisted. He’d painted on jackets, shoes and other nontraditional canvases, but he wasn’t sure how a musical instrument — especially something as large as a piano — would work. PHOTO: Vicki Taylor

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A chance encounter convinced aspiring artist to quit his job and invest in himself

A chance meeting with the executive director of the Charlotte Art League late last year prompted Francesko Art to change his life. PHOTO: Francesko Art

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New exhibit explores how art can contribute to justice and social equity

The “Justice & Beauty” juried exhibit is from SouthEnd ARTS, an art education nonprofit that focuses on building a community committed to social justice through the arts. The exhibit will be available for viewing March 4-5 at Studio 229 on Brevard in The Brooklyn Collective in uptown Charlotte. PHOTO: Gail Baillergaron

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‘Art saved me.’ Charlotte artist urges people to talk openly about mental health

Arelys Ripoll noticed the tantrums and fluctuating feelings when she was 9 years old growing up in Kissimmee, Florida. She only knew how to show her anger by hitting walls and tree trunks.

PHOTO: Arelys Ripoll

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Charlotte music therapy patients connect with feelings through songs and instruments

It isn’t unusual for Joan Kleinmann to ask group members in her music therapy sessions to rewrite lyrics or share a meaningful song. She’s a board certified music therapist with HopeWay, a nonprofit mental health treatment facility in Charlotte.

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Painting pages

Cynthia Flaxman Frank ate lemons when she was a young girl to see what kind of response she could get from the people around her. It was a source of pride to do something no one else could do. PHOTO: Tracy S. Watts

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Charlotte photographer uses walking tours to foster community at The Light Factory

Charlotte native Carey King uses photography as a form of therapy. When faced with adversity, he’s turned to photographing everyday things.

PHOTO: Sir Will

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An Army vet’s passion for painting tells a deeper story about women in the military

Charlotte-area artist Ida Mae Irby graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in art and $25,000 in debt. She joined the Army because there were few job opportunities available for her that paid more than minimum wage. PHOTO: Ida Mae Irby

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After key parts in ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Black Panther’, NC actress lands her biggest role

When Alexis Louder reflects on taking the stage at E. E. Waddell in high school as one of the leads in a production of “Fences,” she recalls shaking and stuttering. But now she recognizes how the experience changed her life. PHOTO: Daniel Cutts

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Charlotte artist’s mixed media work lets her connect with the community over loss

Monique Luck, a contemporary mixed media artist, was able to find common ground with folks in Charlotte while leading community workshops based on her own experience with loss. PHOTO: Bob Leverone.

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‘Not ready... for a rocking chair yet.’ At age 70, she took up drums during COVID-19

When Alvesta Cody started drum lessons at the age of 70, her family and friends weren’t surprised. They’d always called her bold.

PHOTO: Joshua Komer

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Mint Museum exhibit examines complexities of border walls around the world

Fences and borders are not a national phenomenon.

“(They’re) a human response to anxiety and perceived threats,” said Jen Sudul Edwards, the chief curator and curator of contemporary art at the Mint Museum in Charlotte. PHOTO: SHAN Wallace

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Have you heard the one about a Charlotte comedian who bombed, then came out ahead?

Comedian Lauren Ansley bombed the first time she attempted an open mic night in Charlotte. The humiliating experience jolted her into reality: She wouldn’t become a star overnight. Then, she quit comedy for three years. PHOTO: Bobby Kerns Photography

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This Charlotte artist wants to foster inclusive dialogue through Levine Museum murals

Two years ago, a pair of Davidson College students were accused of posting racist and anti-Semitic comments, which led to calls for change from the campus community. PHOTO: Stevvani Melton

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Magical movement

When Stacie Zambas Peroulas moved to Charlotte 15 years ago, she looked for a Greek dance program like the one she attended growing up in Newport News, Va. She wanted her children to have the same connection to dance she had. PHOTO: Michael Sellas Photography

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Charlotte filmmaker turned his childhood movie-making dreams into reality

Asa Kryst’s interest in telling stories began at a young age in Charlotte. Before anyone opened presents on Christmas day, his parents required Kryst and his five siblings to present the story of the birth of Jesus through a play or song. PHOTO: Emil Popa

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Guerilla Poets founder uses art and poetry to help at-risk teens heal from trauma

It was 2012, and poet Shane Manier was reading one of her poems aloud in a Lincolnton coffee shop. The title: “Sitting Beside Death on the Fence with a Pack of Cigarettes.”

PHOTO: Brookhill Community Resource Center

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UNCC professor transforms ‘Julius Caesar’ into a podcast set during the pandemic

On the day of the deadly shooting at UNC Charlotte in 2019, theater department professor Andrew Hartley hid with students in a dressing room, waiting for police to tell them it was safe to come out.

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Being a good steward

Dr. Larry Brady started collecting art 30 years ago. His eclectic collection, which includes artwork from Ruth Ava Lyons, Herb Jackson and Paul Sires, has grown to more than 500 pieces of two- and three-

dimensional works. He attributes his initial interest in handmade objects to growing up in Asheville and being exposed to art festivals.

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He wrote his first love song in third grade. Now 25, he’s teaching others to love singing.

Vocal performer Jonathan “Jay” Smith wrote his first song, “Only Once,” when he was in the third grade. It was heavily influenced by singer-songwriter Ray J’s “One Wish.”

PHOTO: Daniel Coston

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Small Charlotte arts groups get creative in tackling coronavirus challenges

Like other arts groups at the start of the novel coronavirus crisis, Brand New Sheriff Productions stopped rehearsals for “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf” in March because of COVID-19...

PHOTO: Peter Zay

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Charlotte theaters find flexibility is key during COVID-19 as they eye the future

What Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s Adam Burke misses hearing is 550 first-graders screaming in delight at something they’ve seen on stage.

PHOTO: 

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de’Angelo Dia says his art is like a sermon. He wants you to get something out of it.

Artist and teacher de’Angelo Dia carved creatures into desks and wrote poetry on walls as a kid. His favorite illustrators, Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein, unwittingly gave him his first opportunity to discover art. PHOTO: Mitchell Kearney, ARMOR: Betsy Birkner

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Teaching culture through costumes. Meet the women who make the Greek Fest wardrobe

Ten years ago, Elaine Mahairas stopped by her church to return the costumes her three children borrowed for a dance performance at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral’s annual Yiasou Greek Festival. The mundane errand led to an opportunity. PHOTO: Michael Sellas Photography

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Ludwig Drums’ striking craftsmanship

Seven years ago, before Anderson Hall became plant supervisor, he stepped into Ludwig Drums in Monroe for a job interview, expecting to see robots producing the legendary instruments. He couldn’t imagine they were handcrafted and finished by men and women, some with more than 30 years of experience at the business.​

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Entrepreneur, musician Dae-Lee strives to make Charlotte’s music scene more inclusive

David “Dae-Lee” Arrington doesn’t fit into any one box: He’s a creative entrepreneur who owns two businesses, co-founded a nonprofit, and writes, produces and performs original music. Photo: RYAN BARNETT

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After helping run the Children’s Theatre for years, she leaves a legacy of kindness

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s managing director, Linda Reynolds, admits she’s partial to musicals like CTC’s “Beauty and the Beast.” And she remembers the first time someone flew across the stage for “Peter Pan.”

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This Charlotte artist paints to let people know ‘they are seen and valued’

Charlotte artist Eva Crawford finds beauty in faces. She’s created two series: “Seen” and “See of Humanity” using images of family, friends and strangers.

A year ago, Crawford started painting portraits over collaged elements – pages from the Bible, an encyclopedia. 

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This emerging Charlotte artist faced her sadness and fears to pursue art full time

Every life has turning points. For Rosa Renteria Jimenez it was her grandfather’s death. 

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Mind the gaps

Ordinary Folks Are Helping Those Who Fall Through the Cracks of Charlotte's Mental Health System

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Addicted to acting

Lindsey Whitus is not your typical high school sophomore. At 15 years old, she is kicking ass and winning awards for it.

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Announcing CLT After Dark, a live show with COVID-19 dance parties — and Luke Kuechly

Would you tune into Luke Kuechly making popcorn at home on a 1970s style variety show? Charlotte Center City Partners is betting on it.

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View local art and meet the Charlotte artists from the comfort of your couch

Jim Dukes with the Charlotte Art League, gave credit to COVID-19 for the organization’s first virtual exhibit “Ab’strakt”...

Art @umayalart

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Water works

Artist Carmella Jarvi went through a rebellious period when she was a sophomore in high school. She dropped out of West Charlotte and ran away from home to live in a tent behind Mint Museum Randolph. After 40 days, her grandmother left her a note reading, “You better call me.”

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How veterans around Charlotte found hope, inner peace and community through art

As he was leaving the Charlotte veterans’ clinic one day in 2014, U.S. Army veteran Lewis Patterson noticed a flyer about an art class for veterans. The class changed his life.

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CPCC drama department leader takes final bow after 37 years and thousands of students

Central Piedmont Community College’s Tom Hollis hasn’t had a summer vacation in 37 years. He’s been directing and producing the college’s Summer Theatre program since...

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Breaking barriers

For local entrepreneur Nesha Pai, writing down the details of her journey to adulthood healed her childhood wounds, giving her the tools to visualize a path to building confidence and identity. Her first book, Overcoming Ordinary Obstacles, a guide for personal growth and success, was released at the end of 2019. 

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Update: Community responds with donations after Charlotte’s ArtPop threatens to close

In 2002, billboard industry insider Wendy Hickey came up with an idea. Rather than leave unused signs sitting boring and plain, she wanted to use them to display local art.

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This quarantine family band in Charlotte is ‘Livin’ La Vida COVID’ with music videos

Charlotte musician Tony Arreaza had long dreamed of forming a family band with his wife, Ailen, and their two sons, Lucas and Paulo. Quarantine during COVID-19 became his best opportunity to make it happen.

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This artist has much to say about gender roles. You can see it in her latest paintings

Irisol Gonzalez never really liked her financial services career. Shortly after spending five hours on an art-themed team building assignment in 2015, she quit and became an artist.

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Why is this Charlotte artist ‘Airing Out the Dirty Laundry’? To tell stories.

Women gather in Andrea Downs’ living room for “Laundry Day.” But it’s not what you think – no one is washing or folding clothes. Photo Heather Liebler

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Arko and Owl are two Charlotte artists who keep their identities secret for a reason

Artists Arko and Owl met at a wedding in 2009. Owl had been invited to play the violin and Arko was there with his family.

Photo: Brian Twitty

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Mental health and coronavirus: How to cope with the new norm in Charlotte

My three years of training as a resident advisor (R.A.) at UNC Charlotte prepared me for many things. Photo: Clare Miller

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Strictly sticks

With names like Fancy Free, Whiplash and Wingding, Patrick Dougherty’s works of art evoke thoughts of whimsy and escape. It’s not hard to imagine a hobbit or fairy slipping through a door or window of one of the sculptor’s larger-than-life pieces.

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Children’s Theatre resident teaching artist travels the city to make a difference

Years ago, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools teacher Marie Steele applied for a grant that would provide funding for...

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This Charlotte artist’s work is inspired by his storytelling roots in Colombia