New Free Lunchtime Tours Announced: “ArtBreaks”

Media, business, and cultural leaders will preview the tours at a special March 10 event

Members of the media are invited to Levine Center for the Arts to have lunch, view a preview of spring cultural events and exhibitions, and experience a new kind of museum tour set to launch FREE to the public on March 17 .

Beginning at noon on Thursday, March 10, members of the media are invited to Wells Fargo Auditorium, accessible via Knight Theater, to join leaders from the business and cultural communities to preview the spring season at the four member institutions of Levine Center for the Arts: the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art; Blumenthal Performing Arts which operates Knight Theater; the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture; and The Mint Museum.

Afterward, attendees will enjoy a “sneak preview” of new “Art Breaks” museum tours which will launch to the public at noon March 17 at the three museums. Each third Thursday of the month, docents at all three museums will offer the public free 30-minute tours designed to be completed during lunchtime. The tours are tailored around a specific theme which will repeat for three months, allowing the public to experience each of the three museums in succession. The tours are the latest example of collaboration among Levine Center for the Arts institutions, which have also launched a common admission pass available at and an upcoming community festival scheduled for May 21.

Other spring highlights at Levine Center for the Arts include:

At Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The House that Modernism Built (Through September 11, 2016)

This exhibition pairs works from the Bechtler collection with design objects on loan from various institutions and individuals around the country. While the scope of the exhibition is international, it spotlights design innovations in the United States with a regional focus on production in North Carolina. The works date from 1920 through 1980, but the groundbreaking choices of material and manufacturing processes by makers such as Victor Vasarely, Zoltan Kemeny, Kenneth Noland, Roy Lichtenstein, Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, and Buckminster Fuller remain vital, revealing how these larger principles of modernism continue to resonate in our lives today.

All that Sparkles: 20th Century Artists’ Jewelry (July 1, 2016 – January 8, 2017)

Presenting an array of selected jewelry alongside examples of more conventional artwork, this exhibition celebrates the craftsmanship and creativity of artists who used this medium to explore texture and color while using various materials and techniques specific to jewelry-making to expand their reach into a broader, if still refined and urbane public. Artists from the Bechtler collection include Alberto Giacometti, Alicia Penalba, Rafael Benazzi, and Niki de Saint Phalle. More information on these and other exhibitions is available at .

At Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Knight Theater

Broadway Junior Theater Celebration, April 19-21, 2016

This program returning to Knight Theater offers an enthusiastic, educational environment for students and teachers to interact with hundreds of others who share their passion for musical theatre. It has been created and directed by iTheatrics, a premier creative consultant in educational musical theatre based in New York City, in association with the leading theatrical licensor Music Theatre International and the Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Education Department. During the celebration, each school group performs a selection of a musical before a distinguished panel of theatre professionals who provide them with valuable feedback about their creativity, engagement in the performance, understanding of the material, and connection to the lyrics and movement.

Charlotte Jazz Festival, April 21-23, 2016

Blumenthal Performing Arts and The Leon Levine Foundation are proud to present the second annual Charlotte Jazz Festival. A three-day event at Levine Center for the Arts, the festival features two main stage performances by the critically-acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center under the leadership of musical director Wynton Marsalis. Festival goers can catch intimate club performances featuring local and national talent throughout the weekend, as well as a jazz dinner and happy hours. Other events include a second line parade, youth jazz competition, and much more. Visit for a complete schedule.

At Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts (Through  June 26, 2016)

With its majestic exhibition of dazzling costumes, set pieces, and video excerpts, this exhibition has offered the Gantt Center an opportunity to highlight the art discipline of dance. In addition to weekly, dancing-room-only workshops featuring different genres – ballet, modern, West African, liturgical – the Center will present an exclusive guided tour of the exhibition on Saturday, March 19 with a former member of the company, Dr. Mel A. Tomlinson. On Thursday evening, April 28, the Gantt Center will host a panel of dance world luminaries: Philadanco founder Joyce Myers Brown, former Charlotte Ballet staff & Alvin Ailey dancer April Berry, and Dr. Tomlinson. The panel discussion, Catch the Dance: An Inspired Movement, will end with 1 Pound/4 Ounces: Humble Beginnings, a performance by tap artist Khalil Munir. This plus the other two current exhibitions at the Gantt Center – Art of a New Deal: African-American Artists in the WPA and 1960Now — will close out the center’s year-long theme, Art as Activism.

Shaping the Vessel: Cummings + Mascoll + Samuel (July 16, 2016 – January 16, 2017)

Local wood artist Charles Farrar serves as guest curator for this exhibition, which will open at the Center on Saturday, July 16. This exhibition of twenty-six exquisite works in wood celebrates three artists, Frank E. Cummings III, John Mascoll and Avelino Samuel. At the pinnacle of their craft, each uses the wood lathe, an ancient Egyptian tool, as a springboard to imagination, flights of fancy, and ingenuity. An African-American quilt exhibition and thirty new works by beloved folk artist Nellie Ashford will fill the remaining galleries. More information available at .

At Mint Museum Uptown

(April 16, 2016 – Sept. 18, 2016)

Here & Now marks the first survey exhibition of photography drawn from the Mint’s permanent collection and comprises approximately 100 photographs. Including recent acquisitions and many never-before-seen photographs alongside signature works, Here & Now offers a fresh perspective on a burgeoning area of strength within the Mint’s collection. It will feature exceptional photographs taken at the turn of the 20th century by such noted masters as Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and W. Eugene Smith, as well as those taken in the last few years by dynamic contemporary photographers including Vik Muniz. This will be the first exhibition at the Mint curated by the museum’s President & CEO, photohistorian Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson.

(May 7, 2016 – October 16, 2016)

This show explores both the cultural history and the meticulous craft of shoemaking, featuring distinctive shoe forms that are notable for their design and construction. Pumped traces the history of shoemaking from the handmade shoes of the eighteenth century, through the technical innovations of the Industrial Revolution, to contemporary shoes made with techniques both ancient and new ­– all from the Mint’s permanent collection. Venerable traditions such as leather-working are joined by the latest materials and technologies, including 3-D printing.

At Levine Center for the Arts

Levine Center for the Arts, named for local philanthropists Sandra and Leon Levine, was completed in 2010 through the support of the Campaign for Cultural Facilities (led by Bank of America Charitable Foundation; Sandra and Leon Levine/The Leon Levine Foundation; and the Wells Fargo Foundation); the City of Charlotte; and Mecklenburg County. A generous grant from the THRIVE Fund is enabling the four institutions to work more closely together than ever before to increase visibility and access to the unified center. The $250,000 award from the THRIVE Fund over two years is making possible the center’s first-ever joint marketing campaign, as well as the free lunch-hour tours and a free community festival to be held on May 21, 2016. The THRIVE Fund was established in 2013 to provide financial stability for Charlotte’s cultural sector under the leadership of Hugh McColl, former Bank of America chairman and CEO, and is currently administered by the Foundation For The Carolinas. The Mint Museum spearheaded the grant and is managing the project in collaboration with the other institutions. More information at .

Members of the media may RSVP to the March 10 event, which reserves a boxed lunch and a free museum tour, by contacting:

Leigh Dyer

Director of Public Relations, The Mint Museum


WHAT: Lunch, spring preview, and museum tours

WHO: Media; invited business and cultural leaders; and representatives of the four Levine Center for the Arts member institutions

WHEN: Thursday, March 10

Noon-12:30 p.m. Box lunches provided

12:30-1 p.m. Presentation inside Wells Fargo Auditorium

1-1:30 p.m. “Art Breaks” docent-led museum tours; media photography welcomed

WHERE: Wells Fargo Auditorium, 430 South Tryon Street. Enter through main Knight Theater entrance and proceed downstairs.

PLEASE NOTE: This is an invitation to members of the media. All others, please join the new public tours on March 17 or every third Thursday after that!

Levine Center for the Arts is one of Charlotte’s key cultural destinations, comprising Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater, and Mint Museum Uptown. The Center was made possible through the Campaign for Cultural Facilities, the support of the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and the generosity of The Leon Levine Foundation, one of the country’s largest and most impactful philanthropic organizations, along with the leadership of Bank of America Foundation and The Wells Fargo Foundation.


The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to the exhibition of mid-20th-century modern art. It is named after the family of Andreas Bechtler, who assembled and inherited a collection created by seminal figures in modernism. The collection comprises more than 1,400 works. Some works are accompanied by books, photographs, and letters illustrating personal connections to the Bechtler family. For museum details visit

Blumenthal Performing Arts serves the Carolinas as a leading cultural, entertainment and education provider. Blumenthal Performing Arts receives operating support from the Arts & Science Council and North Carolina Arts Council. Blumenthal Performing Arts is also supported by PNC Bank, sponsor of the PNC Broadway Lights. More information:


Founded in 1974, Charlotte’s Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (formerly the Afro-American Center) exists to present, preserve and celebrate the art, history and culture of African-Americans and people of the African Diaspora through dance, music, visual and literary arts, film, educational programs, theatre productions and community outreach. Named for Harvey Bernard Gantt, the prominent architect, community leader and former mayor of Charlotte, the Center is housed in an inspired and distinguished award-winning structure and is home to the nationally celebrated John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, which was generously donated by Bank of America. More information:


The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative museum of international art and design committed to engaging and inspiring all members of our global community. Established as the first art museum in North Carolina in 1936, The Mint Museum has grown to include two dynamic facilities, Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph, and currently boasts one of largest collections in the Southeast. Mint Museum Uptown houses an internationally renowned Craft + Design Collection, as well as collections of American and Modern & Contemporary Art. The five-story, 175,000 square-foot facility was designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston. Historic Mint Museum Randolph is located three miles to the south. More information: