Charlotte, NC (January 9, 2020): The Mint Museum is pleased to announce its upcoming presentation of Classic Black: The Basalt Sculpture of Wedgwood and His Contemporaries, opening February 9, 2020 at Mint Museum Randolph.

The exhibition will feature more than 100 works of art on loan from across the U.S., as well as England, and will focus exclusively on black basalt sculpture—the first show of its kind to do so. Classic Black will showcase works ranging from life-size portrait busts to fanciful vases, dynamic statues of mythological heroes to portrait medallions in low relief.

The exhibition features loans from major museums in the United States and England such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Birmingham Museum of Art, as well as important, one-of-a-kind objects from notable private collections in America, some of which are making their public debut.

One noteworthy aspect of the show is its presentation: a completely groundbreaking, contemporary treatment. With the help of the prominent Charlotte muralist and street artist known as “Owl,” each of the exhibition rooms will feature a specially commissioned graphic mural in striking, sunset hues. The bright colors and graphic patterns will challenge visitors’ expectations and enliven the historical pieces, making them more relevant to the modern viewer. And while completely unconventional, the design aesthetic nevertheless recalls 18th-century architecture and interior design, reinterpreting it for the modern-day audience.

And it’s a presentation that Wedgwood himself — as a master marketer of luxury, with an eye for presentation — would likely approve of, says Brian Gallagher, Curator of Decorative Arts at The Mint Museum. “Wedgwood would have never wanted his works to sit on a putty-colored pedestal, against a putty-colored wall,” says Gallagher.

Classic Black is also the Mint’s first exhibition dedicated completely to sculpture. And because the museum is known for its British ceramics collection, it’s appropriate that its first sculpture show draws from an aspect of that collection.

Classic Black and its remarkable presentation will break every mold,” says The Mint Museum’s President and CEO Todd A. Herman, PhD. “And we believe it will attract longtime Wedgwood enthusiasts as well as a new audience keen on seeing the marriage of 18th-century pieces with 21st-century mural art.”

About one-third of the works on view in Classic Blackare based directly on marble and bronze sculptures from the classical world. Other objects in the exhibition derive from works of art created in later centuries by some of the great figures in European art history, including Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by D. Giles Limited, London, which will include extended object entries and introductory essays contributed by Robin Emmerson, Gaye Blake-Roberts, Nancy Ramage, and MG Sullivan.

The exhibition was made possible with generous support from presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Private Bank.

“This is not your grandmother’s Wedgwood,” says Jay Everette, Officer of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “Wells Fargo’s Foundation decided to serve as presenting sponsor of the exhibition as part of its focus on arts, history, culture and heritage community grants. We were intrigued by the compelling contrast of past and present. We hope it allows viewers to see Wedgwood’s story, works and legacy in a different light.”

Additional support was provided by Moore & Van Allen and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The Exhibition catalogue was fully funded by the Delhom Service League and an anonymous patron.


About The Mint Museum

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations—Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown on South Tryon Street—the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.


When I first arrived on the staff of The Mint Museum, I didn’t quite “get” the passion of my friends who collect pottery. All it took was my first experience at a Potters Market Invitational on the lawn in front of Mint Museum Randolph, and I was hooked. To the uninitiated, here are a few reasons why the event is worth a visit:

  1. Museum-quality art: You may already be aware that North Carolina is one of the top destinations for pottery-making in the world, and that the Mint is a leading collector of this art form. It’s been a thrill to snag beautiful finds by potters whose work is featured prominently in the museum’s collection.
  2. And it’s affordable: You can find plenty of options under $100 by these museum-worthy artists – it’s one of the easiest ways to get started as an art collector.
  3. More than pots! My purchases have included a lamp, a wall clock, Christmas ornaments, candleholders, and much more – my home is filled with functional pieces I enjoy using daily.
  4. The most pottery ever: Each year the number of participating potters has increased – it used to hover around 50, but this year they’re tallying over 65.
  5. Make a day of it: Yes it appeals to shopaholics, but it’s also just fun to listen to the live music, catch a pottery-making demonstration, grab lunch, stroll the museum galleries, and people-watch. My daughter’s been going with me every year since she was 3 and she loves it too.
  6. Enjoy the community: There are opportunities to meet and get to know the potters, and though you may find yourself competing with other shoppers to grab a one-of-a-kind piece before it’s gone, it’s always fun to compare purchases with each other later!
  7. Support the museum: Proceeds from the event support The Mint Museum’s collecting, scholarship, and public programming. Every year you’ll see placards on extraordinary works that have been selected as gifts from the Delhom Service League, organizers of the event, to join the Mint’s collection.
  8. Did we mention the beer? For the first time, the Delhom organizers have decided to include a “beer garden” with craft selections from Birdsong Brewing along with wine and snacks from Delectables by Holly. Sounds like a perfect addition to the day, and I can’t wait to check it out!

Visit for more info and tickets!

14th annual Mint Museum Potters Market Invitational set for Saturday, September 8

Collectors and pottery lovers will have access to the latest works by leaders in the rich tradition of North Carolina pottery when potters from across North Carolina and surrounding areas return to Mint Museum Randolph for the 14th annual Mint Museum Potters Market Invitational on Saturday, September 8, 2018.

Sixty-six outstanding North Carolina potters have been invited to participate in this year’s event presented by the Delhom Service League, the ceramics affiliate of The Mint Museum, promoting ceramic arts and education. They’ll come from Seagrove, Western N.C., the Catawba Valley, and the Piedmont, and set up their booths in a tent on the lawn of the museum with remarkable works in clay – useful wares including mugs, teapots and jars, as well as oversized pots, contemporary art pottery, and sculptures. It’s like a shopping tour of the state’s best potteries all under one tent in one day. Attendees have the opportunity to get to know the potters as well as their work.

This year’s show will introduce ten potters new to this event, as well as 12 potters who participated in prior years but were not present in 2017.  Well-known participating potters include Donna Craven, Akira Satake, Ben Owen III, Eric Knoche, Mark Hewitt, and Cynthia Bringle. Every year, hundreds of pottery enthusiasts line up in advance of the opening to gain access to the day’s best treasures.

The Delhom Service League has named Sarah Belk Gambrell Honorary Chairman of the 2018 Potters Market Invitational. Mrs. Gambrell was a Charter Member of the Delhom Service League and her strong support for the Delhom, The Mint Museum, and the Potters Market Invitational has been instrumental in each of these institutions’ success.  The Delhom-Gambrell Library, named to honor Mrs. Gambrell, is one of the Mint’s many important resources, and is considered to be one of the top ceramics libraries in the country.

Established in 1975, the Delhom Service League has grown from a few students of ceramics to over one hundred men and women who not only study the history of ceramics but also work to present educational programming, support the ceramics collection, add volumes to the Delhom-Gambrell Library, and provide funds for the purchase of objects to enhance the collection. Their most recent projects include funding the publication British Ceramics 1675-1825, a catalogue of the collection edited by Brian Gallagher, Curator of Decorative Arts, as well as support for the new installation of the European ceramics collection throughout Mint Museum Randolph.

The admission fee ($10 through September 1; $12 after that) includes access to the potters’ tent from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well as free admission to the museum and docent led gallery tours. “Thirty-one of the participating potters are represented in the Mint’s permanent collection, which is a reflection of the high quality of work that will be available at this show,” says Vince Long, who chairs the project this year for Delhom Service League. “Potters Market Invitational is such a great opportunity to connect with artists as real, live people, and then see their art inside the museum.”

Additionally, there are folk musicians, pottery-making demonstrations, and food, and new this year, a beer garden serving local craft beer as well as wine and other beverages. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult.

Individual sponsorships of $100 include Early Admission at 9:15 a.m. in advance of the general public. Special parking and continental breakfast are also included. Individual sponsorships of $150 also include attendance at the Meet the Potters Party being held Friday, September 7 from 6:30-9 p.m. Sponsors will enjoy dinner, music, and an opportunity to mingle with the potters and other pottery enthusiasts. Funds raised by Potters Market Invitational provide acquisitions of pottery and library materials for the Mint.

Potters Market Invitational admission tickets and sponsorships are available at the door and in advance at , where you can also find detailed information on all the participating potters. For questions, please email or call 704.337.2000. Find Potters Market Invitational on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.