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The Mint Museum Celebrates its 75th Anniversary With an Afternoo

The Mint Museum Celebrates its 75th Anniversary With an Afternoon of History, Music and Art

November 23, 2011

Mint Founding Family Member and Internationally Celebrated Pianist Dorothy Lewis-Griffith to Perform.

 As part of its year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary, The Mint Museum is inviting the public to a free event on December 4 that brings a member of one of the museum’s founding families to the museum for a piano concert and celebrates two other aspects of the Mint’s storied history.

Internationally known pianist Dorothy Lewis-Griffith plans a performance at the heart of the program at the Mint Museum’s Randolph Road location – which holds a special connection to her family. Her late father-in-law, E.C. Griffith (1889-1973), donated the three-acre tract of Eastover land on which the museum now sits in 1933, paving the way for The Mint Museum to open three years later.  Her father-in-law went on to serve on the Mint’s original board of directors.

Lewis-Griffith, a High Point native, made her orchestral debut with the North Carolina Symphony at age 14. She has since given recitals and performed as a soloist with orchestras in major cities throughout the United States, China, Brazil, and several European countries. She has released recordings of piano music on iTunes and CD. Among the pieces she plans to perform is one called “Electric Church” by Robert Starer (1924-2001), who was inspired by a photo of a church taken by Lewis-Griffith’s daughter, Dorothy Griffith, and composed the piece in 1989 for an exhibition at the Hickory Museum of Art. Rounding out the program are favorites by Clementi, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Chopin, Debussy and Gershwin.

Lewis-Griffith said she is looking forward to helping to celebrate the museum’s anniversary. “I became a member of the Griffith family in 1959, after the old Mint was moved to Randolph Road, and I gave several recitals on the newly purchased Baldwin piano.  I will be performing on that same instrument on December 4, and I will be thinking of my cherished memories of E.C. Griffith, who we called Poppy.”

“The Mint Museum invites the greater Charlotte community to join us in this celebration of our anniversary as we look forward to our next 75 years of inspiring and engaging the next generation,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President and CEO of The Mint Museum.

Also featured during the December 4 event will be a discussion by local historian Mike Sullivan titled “It's All About the Gold.” It will explore the history of gold mining and the role it played in the development of Charlotte – including its selection as the location for the first branch of the United States Mint.  And following Lewis-Griffith’s performance, Brian Gallagher, Mint Curator of Decorative Arts, will lead a tour of A Thriving Tradition: 75 Years of Collecting North Carolina Pottery, the Mint’s newest exhibition showcasing treasures from the Mint’s permanent collection dating from its earliest days, as well as loans from local collectors.

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