New Mint Museum Uptown Opening on 1 October 2010

145,000-square-foot facility will increase museum’s space by more than 60 percent

–October 1st marks a transformative moment for The Mint Museum. The debut of the new Mint Museum Uptown – one year prior to the institution’s 75th anniversary – will bring together the Mint Museum of Art and the Mint Museum of Craft + Design under one roof, double the permanent collection on view, and hone the institution’s ability to attract and organize major traveling exhibitions.

“The debt-free completion of the Mint Museum Uptown and the Levine Center for the Arts during a time of economic upheaval is a testament to Charlotte’s unwavering commitment to the arts and its long tradition of philanthropy,” said Executive Director Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson. “The scope of this ambitious cultural project is going to transform the way Charlotte lives and catapult the Mint to national and international significance.”

Building and Collections: Designed by noted architectural firm Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston, the Mint Museum Uptown is the final attraction to open in the Levine Center for the Arts, located in the heart of Charlotte’s business district. In addition to the Mint, this development includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, and the John S. and James L. Knight Theater, along with corporate and retail facilities.

The 145,000-square-foot, five-story Mint Museum Uptown includes two full floors of galleries, each featuring 12,000 square feet of permanent collection space and 6,000 square feet of changing exhibition space. A dramatic multi-story atrium, named for the late Robert Haywood Morrison in honor of his foundation’s generous gift to the Museum, will serve as a central hub of activity and features a 60- by 60-foot glass curtain wall offering spectacular views of the urban landscape. The building also includes a café, the Lewis Family Gallery, painting and ceramics studios, classrooms, a 240-seat auditorium, a Special Events Pavilion with outdoor terrace, and an expanded street-level Museum Shop featuring crafts of the Carolinas and showcasing merchandise that complements both the permanent collection and special exhibitions. These amenities and special features will provide venues for hosting public programs that reinforce the Museum’s commitment to making art and education inspiring and accessible to the entire community.

Expanding The Mint Museum was one of the top priorities laid out in a master Cultural Facilities Plan developed by the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County in 2003. The Mint Museum Uptown will house the internationally-renowned Mint Museum of Craft + Design, as well as American and contemporary art and select works from the European art collection.

Following the opening of the Mint Museum Uptown, the Mint Museum Randolph, located in the historic Eastover neighborhood, will reinstall its galleries dedicated to the art of the ancient Americas, decorative arts, and historic costume, among others.

The opening of the new facility marks a pivotal chapter in the Mint’s history and in Charlotte’s continued emergence as a cultural destination. The cultural facilities campaign to create the Levine Center for the Arts and facilitate other uptown cultural improvements met its $83 million goal.

New Programs: The Lewis Family Gallery at the Mint Museum Uptown will serve as a family-friendly introduction to the museum, offering a variety of engaging hands-on activities and opportunities for imaginative play. The Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium and James B. Duke Auditorium will offer such new programs as the Get Reel film/live jazz series. Two studio classrooms will expand the number of painting, drawing, mixed media, and clay classes offered for teachers, children, teens, and adults. In addition to these spaces, there will be small classrooms on the two gallery levels for hands-on activities with tour groups.

Newly-Commissioned Artwork: Under an initiative titled Project Ten Ten Ten, four international craft and design artists have been invited to create works for the Mint Museum of Craft + Design: Danny Lane (United States), Ted Noten (The Netherlands), Joseph Walsh (Ireland), and Hildur Bjarnadǿttir (Iceland). Six additional works of art will soon be commissioned from Tom Joyce, Cristina Córdova (both United States), Tetsunori Kawana (Japan), Kate Malone (Great Britain), Susan Point (Canada), and Ayala Serfaty (Israel). Project Ten Ten Ten will catapult the Mint Museum of Craft + Design to the highest level of artistic excellence through this extraordinary site-specific work.

The Mint Museum of Art has commissioned American artist Ken Aptekar to create a new interpretation of its 18th-century Portrait of Queen Charlotte to hang in the Mint Museum Uptown. The artist references historic works, imbuing them with contemporary meaning and inviting new dialogue. Titled Charlotte’s Charlotte, Aptekar’s painting reinterprets the Mint’s coronation portrait. Based largely on community input, the artist has created six panels which examine the British Queen’s diverse interests, vulnerability as a young woman, and African ancestry.

24-Hour Grand Opening: The Mint Museum Uptown opens its doors to the public on Friday, October 1st, with a 24-Hour Grand Opening celebration. The festivities kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:00 p.m., followed by a variety of activities for all ages during the next 24 hours. Events include a First Friday celebration from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. (admission: members – free; non-members – $10) and a Takeover Friday party, featuring music and dancing into the wee hours (10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.; $10 admission). Other activities include a Pecha Kucha Night Charlotte, museum tours, films, artist demonstrations, a poetry slam with Q and the Concrete Generation, a live broadcast by Kiss Radio 95.1, and a special welcome for Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure participants on Saturday morning. Admission is free from 2:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Mint Museum Uptown and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Mint Museum Randolph on Saturday, October 2nd, and free at both facilities from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 3rd.

Inaugural Exhibitions: New Visions: Contemporary Masterworks from the Bank of America Collection (1 October 2010 – 17 April 2011). The Mint Museum and Bank of America will collaborate to present an exhibition comprising more than 60 contemporary works. New Visions highlights the strengths of Bank of America’s postwar collection and reveals a wide variety of artistic philosophies, approaches, and movements that extend into the early 21st century. The exhibition will feature paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from such major artists as Milton Avery, Jennifer Bartlett, Roger Brown, John Chamberlain, Janet Fish, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Gilliam, Elizabeth Murray, Louise Nevelson, Jules Olitski, Edward Ruscha, Miriam Schapiro, and Frank Stella.

“We are grateful to Bank of America for this extraordinary opportunity to bring together and share with the public major works by some of the most important artists of our time,” said Curator of Contemporary Art Carla Hanzal, exhibition organizer. “While many corporations boast large art collections, it is rare to see such a comprehensive collection of contemporary and modern art that is both dynamic and historically significant. This show exemplifies the excellence and regional diversity that Bank of America’s collection is uniquely suited to reveal.”

New Visions: Contemporary Masterworks from the Bank of America Collection is organized by The Mint Museum, Charlotte, N.C., and provided by Bank of America Art in our Communities™ program.

Contemporary British Studio Ceramics: The Grainer Collection (1 October 2010 –13 March 2011). Drawn from the collection of Diane and Marc Grainer of suburban Washington, D.C., this exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of contemporary British studio ceramics ever assembled. Comprised of functional and sculptural objects made between the 1980s and 2009, the show features work by 100 artists either born or residing in Great Britain, including established “contemporary classics” like Lucie Rie and cutting-edge ceramicists such as Julian Stair, Kate Malone, Neil Brownsword, and Grayson Perry.

Rooted in the materiality of clay, a hallmark of studio pottery, the collection chronicles the recent history of Contemporary British Studio Ceramics. The exhibition begins with an overview of the earlier 20th century masters, then moves to works that demonstrate the two different strains of influence that informed contemporary makers – from the historicism of Bernard Leach and his successors to the refugee modernism embodied by Rie.

“The most thrilling quality of the contemporary British studio ceramics field is that it remains free from a defining aesthetic and cannot be tied together by one common visual thread,” said Annie Carlano, Director of Craft + Design and curator of the exhibition. “There has never been a comprehensive exhibition on either side of the pond about these objects. Building on the Mint’s internationally recognized collection of historic English ceramics, this exhibition allows us to explore a wider wealth of riches and continue the story from art pottery to clay art today.”

Contemporary British Studio Ceramics: The Grainer Collection is organized by The Mint Museum and sponsored by Duke Energy. It will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated scholarly catalogue published by Yale University Press, London.