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Presented by Young Affiliates of the Mint, Derby Days brings together Charlotte’s young professionals to enjoy a day of live music, lawn games, Mint juleps, food trucks, and a viewing party for the Kentucky Derby, and best dressed and best hat contests. Proceeds support school tours at the museum.

Enjoy an evening of visual art, spoken worlds and music celebrating Latin culture. Experience original poetry, local artists and musicians, including performances by members of the Opera Carolina residency company. Free, cash bar. Performance begins at 6:30 PM.

Wednesday Night Live is presented by Bank of America.

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, family friendly art activities, live music, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting). Presented by Principal Foundation.

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, family friendly art activities, live music, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting). Presented by Principal Foundation.

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, family friendly art activities, live music, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting). Presented by Principal Foundation.

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, family friendly art activities, live music, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting). Presented by Principal Foundation.

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, family friendly art activities, live music, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting). Presented by Principal Foundation.

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, family friendly art activities, live music, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting). Presented by Principal Foundation.

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, family friendly art activities, live music, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting). Presented by Principal Foundation.

Children age 5 and younger and their caregivers are invited to explore Latin music, stories, and instruments with Criss Cross Mango Sauce, a trio of Latino performing artists and educators.

Celebrating artists Romare Bearden and Pablo Picasso, enjoy exhibition-related dancing and art activites with free dance lessons, live painting, Latino and African-inspired music, and international rhythmic sounds with DJ Carlos Lebron and the Mint 2 Move Percussion Trio. Galleries are open until 9 PM.

See more than 30 diverse visual and performing artists responses to works in the exhibition Bearden-Picasso: Rhythms and Reverberations.

Presented in partnership with UNC Charlotte, enjoy the opening ceremony for the UNCC Lavagem African Brazilian Festival featuring African Brazilian instructors, The Spirit of the Drum: African Brazilian drumming class with Jose Ricardo and Bira Monteiro, and Danca Afro workshop with Nildinha Fonseca.

This is a Mint Community Relations collaboration with UNC Charlotte, generously supported by the Arts and Science Council.

Registration requested. Donations encouraged.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death, join free admission and a community celebration of Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds and Bearden/Picasso: Rhythms and Reverberations.

Learn about the life and works of Romare Bearden in a discussion with Richard Powell, PhD, Duke University professor and Romare Bearden Foundation advisor; and Denise Murrell, PhD, curator-at-large at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; moderated by Diedra Harris-Kelly, co-director of the Romare Bearden Foundation.

Following the salon talk, visitors are invited to join the guest speakers and members of the Romare Bearden Foundation at a reception with live music by local jazz vocalist Dawn Anthony and the Lovell Bradford Trio. Copies of Dr. Powell and Dr. Murrell’s books will be available, along with gift giveaways, at The Mint Museum Store.

“An Afternoon Salon: Romare Bearden and Modernism” is presented in coordination with The Mint Museum’s exhibition Bearden/Picasso: Rhythms and Reverberations. The salon event is free to attend, however, registration is encouraged.

Salon schedule:

2-4 PM: Richard Powell, PhD; Denise Murrell, PhD, and moderator Diedra Harris-Kelley present “An Afternoon Salon: Romare Bearden and Modernism.”

4-6 PM: Jazz reception with local jazz vocalist Dawn Anthony along with the Lovell Bradford Trio, and opportunity to meet guest speakers and members of the Romare Bearden Foundation.

About the speakers:

Richard J. Powell, PhD, is the John Spencer Bassett Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University, where he has taught since 1990. After completing his undergraduate studies at Morehouse College and earning an master’s degree in fine art from Howard University, Powell earned a master’s degree in African American Studies, as well as a master’s degree in philosophy and doctorate in history of art from Yale University.

A recognized authority on African American art and culture, Powell has organized numerous art exhibitions, most notably: The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism (1989); Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance (1997); To Conserve A Legacy: American Art at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (1999); Back to Black: Art, Cinema, and the Racial Imaginary (2005); and Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist (2014).



Denise Murrell, PhD, holds the position of Merryl H. and James S. Tisch Curator-at-Large at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Murrell was previously the associate curator of 19th- and 20th-Century Art at the Met. Prior to that, she was the curator of the exhibition Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today (October 2018–February 2019) at Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery while serving as the Wallach’s Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Research Scholar (2014–19). She was a co-curator of the exhibition’s expansion at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, as Le Modèle Noir de Géricault à Matisse (March–July 2019) and a guest lecturer for its final tour as Le Modèle Noir de Géricault à Picasso at the Memorial ACTe, Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (September–December 2019).




Diedra Harris-Kelley is co-director of the Romare Bearden Foundation, the nonprofit organization perpetuating the legacy of Romare Bearden. She offers a unique perspective on Bearden’s work being a formally trained painter, and niece of the artist’s late wife, Nanette Rohan Bearden. For the last 10 years, she has been part of the team leading the foundation through a successful run of exhibitions, publications, and educational and celebratory programs around the life and art of Bearden. She also acts as its chief researcher.


An Afternoon Salon: Romare Bearden and Modernism
March 18, 2-4 PM program; 4-6 PM reception and giveaways 
Mint Museum Uptown

Hnin Nie’s response to Picasso’s Landscape of Juan-les-Pins (1920), 2023.

Playing Pablo

10 Local artists create murals in response to works in Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds 

By Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD 

Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds, organized by the American Federation of the Arts, is a major initiative for The Mint Museum. It not only brings major Picasso paintings to Charlotte from all around the world, but also offers an opportunity for the museum to bring together multiple cultural entities in collaborations and partnerships. One of these projects is a mural series enlisting 10 artists and collectives (some of whom will be familiar to the Mint audience from past projects) to create murals around the city. 

The initiative is a partnership with Carla Aaron-Lopez, curator of the Local/Street exhibition series that was on view at The Mint Museum in 2021 and 2022; and Talking Walls, the organization that has been supporting mural installations across the city for the last five years.  

Together with Aaron-Lopez and the Mint’s Curatorial Assistant Jamila Brown, a group of local artists were invited to paint a mural in response to Guernica — Picasso’s powerful, mural-size antiwar painting — or any of the landscapes included in the Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds. The result is a diverse range of styles and images that will dot Charlotte’s urban landscape and the two Mint museum locations beginning mid-February 2023.

Involving Charlotte contemporary artists was always central to the Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds. As Aaron-Lopez and local artist ARKO have pointed out, Picasso continues to be a major influence on contemporary artists both as an inspiration and as a foil. The exhibition allows local artists to study the works up close and in person, to break down the structure, and analyze the compositions and brushstrokes to further their own education and experimentation. This partnership reminds us that one of the museum’s primary goals is to preserve and present art’s history so that the next generation can push it forward.  

The Picasso Mural project is generously supported by a grant through the North Carolina Arts Council and Infusion Fund.

Mural artists and locations 

ARKO and Dammit Wesley
Mint Museum Uptown 

Brand the Moth
Mint Museum Randolph

Mint Museum Uptown 

HNin Nie
Optimist Hall

Emily Núñez
Queens University 

Kalin Reece
Elder Gallery 

Mike Wirth
Camp NorthEnd 

Frankie Zombie and 2Gzandcountin
Optimist Hall

Jen Sudul-Edwards, PhD, is chief curator and curator of contemporary art at The Mint Museum.


Romanticizing the American Landscape

A conversation with artist Stacy Lynn Waddell about her work Landscape with Rainbow as the Sun Blasts the Sky (for R.S.D.) 1859/2022, part of the Mint’s collection.

In 2021, Art Papers published an article about a new series of works by Durham-based artist Stacy Lynn Waddell in which she examines the history of landscape through the work of 19th-century English American painter Thomas Cole and self-taught Black Pittsburgh-based sculptor Thaddeus Mosley. The Mint’s Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, took notice. As an extension of the series influenced by Cole and Mosley, Waddell created Landscape with Rainbow as the Sun Blasts the Sky (for R.S.D.) 1859/2022: an homage to American artist Robert S. Duncanson’s 1859 painting Landscape with Rainbow, which is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and was displayed in the United States Capitol Rotunda in 2021 in honor of the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden.

Duncanson was one of the most important Black artists of the 19th century. This event brought significant national attention to Duncanson, who remains little known beyond art history circles. The Mint Museum is pleased to have acquired Waddell’s tribute to Duncanson: Landscape with Rainbow as the Sun Blasts the Sky (for R.S.D.) 1859/2022, which will be a part of an upcoming reinstallation of the American galleries at Mint Museum Uptown in 2023. Mint curators Jonathan Stuhlman, PhD, and Jennifer Sudul Edwards, PhD, caught up with Waddell to discuss her inspiration behind the work. Lightly edited for brevity and clarity by Michele Huggins.

Jonathan Stuhlman, PhD: We are doing a rotation in the Mint’s permanent collection galleries next summer, shifting focus from different approaches to portraiture to different approaches in landscape. I am really looking forward to including Landscape with Rainbow as Sun Blasts the Sky (for R.S.D.) 1859/2022 in that. There are earlier works in this series dedicated to Thomas Cole and Thaddeus Mosley. What made you decide to extend it beyond them to Duncanson and to this painting in particular?

Stacy Lynn Waddell: I was given an opportunity to show work in a four-page spread in the publication Art Papers. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to examine the core of the romantic idea of how we have come to be as a country. We know there are holes in all of that — it is moth-eaten— but thinking about Thomas Cole and Thaddeus Mosley was really about access. How do I reconfigure or have people take another look at some of Cole’s most important paintings by inserting Mosley and his works into the scene and drawing parallels between the lives of the two men as naturalists.

The other thing was to bring forward an interest in landscape. One of the things that I have thought a lot about, especially during 2020, was access. You couldn’t go places. Once we realized that outside was a safe space to convene, then I feel like the doors were blown off in terms of how people thought about being outside.

JS: Suddenly, everyone is an outdoorsman.

SLW: Everybody! So, I was thinking about that, too: how we do not necessarily consider the space
that we have. We do not consider our dependency upon nature and how we have disrespected that

JS: Then you shift from the Cole/Mosley series to Duncanson. Was it because of his importance as the first and best-known Black American landscape painter?

SLW: Yes. When the painting was rededicated, I thought, “yeah, this is the moment.” Think of the biblical significance around a rainbow and the promise just this idea of a promise. Another thing that the pandemic did was push us to keenly focus on political discourse. To have this painting emerge during the inauguration as a kind of promise, it just struck me as something that seemed important.

Also, the fact that here is a Black man (Duncanson) at a time when Black people had no access. This painting was made in 1859, American slavery was still the order of the day, yet Duncanson was able to access and occupy spaces in America and abroad. I found that to be fascinating. It stood as an emblem of possibility for the onlooker and me as a Black woman from the South functioning as an artist.

JS: Duncanson’s painting, and the rainbow’s landing on the cabin in the wilderness, has been interpreted as symbolizing divine blessing on westward expansion, yet we were doing so at the expense of all the people who originally lived on the land. There is an irony there as he was a Black artist painting on the eve of the Civil War. Duncanson soon thereafter just got the heck out and went to England by way of Canada and left the country for several years. So, to me, it is a painting that is loaded with so many tensions and ironies. What led you to pick the tondo (circular) format for these works and the details in the way that you have done — piecing in the panels in the sky with the rounded swirl. To me, it calls to mind the arc of the rainbow, but I’d love to know more about how you landed on the bit of the picture you chose and the way that you put it together.

SLW: I started thinking about how I would intervene upon the original painting. What would make the most sense for me, someone who loves to appropriate. I do a lot of that in my art. I find photographs and other images that I take and insert a different meaning or myself into the work. Tondos are typically formats of paintings that we ascribe to religious works. The circle points to an internal way of connecting to something. My pieces are works on handmade paper made in India that is very irregular with deckled edges, but still round. So, you still fall into that place.

My drawings are created by burning paper. I am burning paper and then I am adding gilded (gold) material. I love surface texture. I thought, “why don’t you just reinterpret paintings in your materials that are all about surface interest?”

The paintings I am referencing in this also call attention to the environment. Gold leaf is tough on the environment. It is metal. It is gold pounded into sheets with a decorative pattern inlaid. All the alchemy and all the gathering of metals happen before I get the material to use it. So, when I’m using this material, I’m thinking about science, the environment, and the optical illusion of seeing a rainbow.

It is interesting to me to overlay a lot of our contemporary concerns onto a painting that was about an ironic look at a promise. What is it that we really stand for as a country? What is it? What direction are we really going in? It is natural for me to take what I do and lay it on top of something else and then hope that someone gathers something from it.

Hopefully, what the viewer can extract from looking at this series is going well beyond looking at a landscape and even beyond the Duncanson references. The materials may lead them back to some of the concerns: the environment, the landscape, their relationship to it, and what, if anything, are they doing to protect these spaces.

Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD: One of the things that I find so interesting about Duncanson is that with romanticism over the last 100 years, we have been much more critical about it as a practice, of it being nostalgic to avoid reality, whitewashing history to erase crimes against humanity that were going on at the time. You mention the irony that is embedded in Duncanson’s treatment of it, but I also find a kernel of a reminder in Duncanson, and in your series, that romanticism was also created because of a need for hope. Was that a consideration of your series, which was started during the pandemic and has the need for a rainbow at the end.

SLW: Artists are romantics, especially the idea of romanticism as a longing or looking at something lovingly or looking back at something and thinking that there is always hope. It is what we do every day in the making of the work. To be an artist, you are pulling things out of thin air with the hope that someone will come along and find interest in it — just to create a relationship with it through the eye and through the gut. But then also, to maybe buy it and show it and talk about it and write about it. I think that at the heart of all of us, we are all romantics.

I mean, for me, I grew up in the rural South. I ran through fields and grew up on a farm and have a clear relationship to the out of doors, to the land, to owning land. It is not a foreign idea for me to know that people can own land and own large parts of it. My great grandfather, Zollie Coffey Massenburg, owned hundreds of acres at a time when a Black man in rural North Carolina, did not. When he passed, his 14 children all got large plots of land, one of them being my maternal grandmother. When I pass an open field, immediately, there is something that is pricked in me about remembering, longing, and wanting that to be kept whole. No one’s going to buy this and build on it. If we could just have green spaces. The idea of romanticism is deeply embedded in me.

I think when people stand in front of work, there is a romantic gesture that is happening internally with whatever work they are looking at. You bond with it. You are creating a relationship. Whether you realize it or not, you are siphoning through your personal and psychic experiences. It is a romantic way of engaging with something.

So yes, I come to everything as a romantic, as someone who has a longing. I think my interest in appropriation is a romantic gesture to see something and want to make it not better, but to make conditions better and add my voice to that, to envision a better world. The only way that I know how to do that is just with the materials and things that I love working with.

Journey through two centuries of American art and artists in American Made: Paintings and Sculpture from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection, presented by PNC Bank, at The Mint Museum

For Immediate Release | Images Here

Charlotte, North Carolina (August 16, 2022) — The Mint Museum is pleased to announce the opening of American Made: Paintings and Sculpture from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection, which features more than 100 works of art by renowned American artists, such as Benjamin West, Sarah Miriam Peale, Thomas Cole, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Robert Henri, and Charles Alston. The exhibition will be on view September 10 through December 24 at The Mint Museum’s uptown location (known as Mint Museum Uptown). Drawn entirely from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection, the exhibition beautifully illustrates distinctive styles and thought-provoking art explored by American artists over the past two centuries.

Though many objects from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection have been on view at other museums, ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and Saint Louis Art Museum, this is the first exhibition to see the best of the collection brought together in one location.

“Private collections by definition reflect the tastes and focus of the collector. In the case of Diane Jacobsen, we are fortunate that not only does she have a keen eye for quality, condition, and the appropriate frame, but she has actively collected works by female artists and artists of color, often overlooked in surveys of American art, offering our visitors a broader understanding of artistic production in America from its early days as a young country to the 20th century,” says Todd Herman, Ph.D., president and CEO at The Mint Museum.

The exhibition, presented by PNC Bank, begins with portraits by masters including Rembrandt Peale and Thomas Sully, before moving on to highlight the development of mid-19th-century landscape painting with works by Asher B. Durand, John Frederick Kensett, and others. Enticing images of fruits, flowers, and other delights by Severin Roesen, John Francis, Ferdinand Richardt, Elizabeth Williams, and Adelaide Coburne Palmer will be featured alongside trompe l’oeil (“deceives the eye”) examples by William Michael Harnett, John Haberle, and John Peto. Twentieth-century modernism and realism can be seen in works by artists ranging from Patrick Henry Bruce and Marsden Hartley to Paul Cadmus, Charmion von Wiegand, Suzy Frelinghuysen, Elizabeth Catlett, and Earnie Barnes.

The mission of The Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation to “carefully research and obtain American masterpieces” is abundantly represented in American Made, says Jonathan Stuhlman, Ph.D., senior curator of American art at the Mint.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Dr. Jacobsen and her team to bring this exhibition to life over the past few years,” Stuhlman says. “Dr. Jacobsen has built this collection with not only an incredible passion for teaching the public about American art, but with a sense of exploration and discovery, a keen eye, and incredible connoisseurship.”

The September 10 opening-day celebration will include a panel discussion with Diane Jacobsen, Ph.D., distinguished scholar, art collector, and chair of the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation, along with Herman and Stuhlman.

American Made: Paintings and Sculpture from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection is generously presented in Charlotte by PNC Bank. Additional generous support is provided by The Dowd Foundation, Windgate Foundation, U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management, and The President’s Cup. The national tour of American Made is made possible by Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle, Schoelkopf Gallery, and Sotheby’s. Media partners are SouthPark magazine and WDAV 89.9.

“Since establishing a presence in North Carolina one decade ago, PNC has invested heavily to support the arts and the region’s thriving cultural community,” says Weston Andress, PNC Bank regional president for Western Carolinas. “Through our frequent collaborations with The Mint Museum, we’ve helped bring world-class exhibitions to the city of Charlotte, and we’re delighted to continue that tradition with American Made.”

Accompanying the show is a catalogue of the DeMell Jacobsen Collection of fine art that is principally authored by Elizabeth Heuer, Ph.D., with contributions from other leading scholars, edited by the Mint’s Jonathan Stuhlman, Ph.D., and published by D. Giles Ltd. It is available in The Mint Museum Store or online at

Following its run at the Mint, the exhibition will travel to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee; the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida; the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas; and the Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama.

Ticket Information
The Mint Museum exhibition is free for members and children ages 4 and younger; $15 for adults; $10 for seniors ages 65 and older; $10 for college students with ID; and $6 for youth ages 5–17. For museum hours, visit


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 at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

PNC Bank
PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit

The Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation
The Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting American art by carefully researching and obtaining American masterpieces, providing restoration, if necessary, and facilitating long-term loans to accredited major museums and traveling exhibitions. Created in 2011 as a 501(c)3 private operating foundation, the Foundation educates and stimulates creativity and teaches viewers about our nation’s rich artistic heritage with the goal of celebrating American art.

For interviews, digital images, or additional information, please contact:

Michele Huggins, associate director of marketing and communications | 704.564.0826 (c)

Clayton Sealey, senior director of marketing and communications | 704.534.0186 (c)

The Mint Museum presents The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters

Installation represents the rich history of North Carolina pottery through 60 works by six generations of the Cole family of potters

For Immediate Release | Images available here

Charlotte, North Carolina (May 13, 2022) —  For more than 200 years, members of the Cole family have been potting in central North Carolina — Randolph, Moore, Lee, and Montgomery counties. Six generations of Coles, and no fewer than 18 individuals, are represented in The Mint Museum’s permanent collection. More than 60 highlights of their wares are included in the new installation The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters, on view at Mint Museum Randolph.

From crocks, jars, and jugs to pitchers, candleholders, and vases, “turning pots” is one of the oldest and richest craft traditions in North Carolina. The deep-rooted legacy of the Cole family of potters began with Raphard Cole, born in 1799. He and his sons produced utilitarian stoneware, such as crocks, jugs, and urns, that were needed in an agrarian economy. Following generations distinguished themselves from their forebears by training their daughters, as well as their sons, on how to “turn pots.”

As the North Carolina tourist market for decorative ceramics evolved, the Cole family produced an impressive variety of colorfully glazed vases, pitchers, candleholders, and other ceramic pieces. Examples of all these wares also are on view in the installation.

“In a state filled with multigenerational families of gifted potters, the Coles stand out as one of North Carolina’s most enduring and prolific. For more than two hundred years, they have contributed enormously to the state’s ceramic traditions through their well-potted objects and their exceptionally beautiful glazes,” says Brian Gallagher, senior curator of decorative arts at The Mint Museum.

The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters presents a visual history of “turned pots” and the family that helped turn North Carolina into one of America’s centers for handmade, traditional pottery.


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 at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Clayton Sealey, senior director of marketing and communications | 704.534.0186 (c)

Michele Huggins, associate director of marketing and communications | 704.564.0826 (c)



Rebecca Elliot, assistant curator of craft, design, and fashion.

‘Art can be a source of joy for people, and I like to make those experiences happen’

Rebecca Elliot is one of the creative minds behind the new exhibition Craft in the Laboratory: The Science of Making Things and lead author of the catalogue by the same name.


Rebecca Elliot is the assistant curator of Craft, Design, and Fashion at The Mint Museum. Her journey with art has taken her around the globe, from her student days studying abroad in London and frequenting the British Museum, to her jobs at the Cranbrook Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and finally to the Mint in 2012, where she’s currently the assistant curator of craft, design and fashion. Here, Elliot shares a glimpse into her life inside the museum, from the glamorous (handling 18th-century men’s suits and thrifting with iconic fashion designer Anna Sui) to the decidedly unglamorous (copy editing and emails). — As told to Caroline Portillo. Lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

I grew up in central Ohio in a town called Delaware, Ohio, about 30 or 40 miles north of Columbus. I loved to read fiction and liked writing. I loved art, especially drawing. My sister and I — she’s three years older than me — would have coloring contests. I even tried to design clothes. I would play with my Barbies and have them do fashion shows. For me, it was more about Barbie having a job, a career, and wearing stylish outfits.

For undergrad, I went to Smith College, a women’s college in western Massachusetts. I took art history during my sophomore year, and then I spent my junior year studying abroad at University College London, where I took a lot of art history classes. UCL was close to the British Museum and I would often go after school. In London, I also visited the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Tate Gallery. It was really cool actually seeing the scale of the paintings and what the texture looked like, knowing what it felt like to stand in front of it, and noticing what other people did when they were there. That’s when I first started thinking about working with museums. The interface between the art and the public was interesting to me.

Here’s a snapshot of a recent day in my life. First, I helped Annie [Carlano, the Mint’s senior curator for craft, design, and fashion] lay out the jackets from two 18th-century gentlemen’s suits for a Zoom call with a curator from the V&A in London. Because I’m the copyeditor for all the Mint’s exhibition texts, my afternoon was spent answering emails and reviewing exhibition label proofs. I spent the evening on one of my hobbies: ushering for a show at Actor’s Theater. I enjoy theater, and ushering is a great way to help out and see a show for free.

I love thrifting and actually got to join fashion icon Anna Sui on a thrifting expedition. Anna was in Charlotte in November last year for the opening of The World of Anna Sui at Mint Museum Randolph. After lunch, we ventured to Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. I have admired Anna Sui’s style ever since her clothes started appearing in my favorite ’90s teen magazine, Sassy. I was thrilled when I got to join her entourage and go thrifting in Charlotte. I walked around with Anna and Vogue’s Senior Fashion News Editor Steff Yotka, observing which items they gravitated to and occasionally commenting about things that reminded me of Anna’s style. I was with them as Anna found and inspected a tablecloth — the three of us unfolded it together — and decided it was worth the $20 price. It’s fun to know that I was there when she found a small souvenir to take back and enjoy in her home.

Speaking of Sleepy Poet, I made a point to go there just before they moved out of their old location, knowing there would be bargains. Sure enough, I found a Heywood-Wakefield wood headboard and footboard, possibly mid-century modern, for $25. Whenever I’m thrifting or antiquing, I look for interesting mid-century modern items. I like old stuff, decorative stuff, fashion, and art.

When I’m visiting a museum, I nerd out. I look at the objects and the labels — how are they written? Would I do it the same way? I look at what objects are next to each other, how they play off each other. I look at what’s in the room, how the wall colors are, the pathway.

I love working at a museum because museums give people so many different kinds of experiences. Art can be a source of joy for people, and I like to make those experiences happen. Art can also be something that makes people uncomfortable, that makes them question and think about things they may not have before. We are facing many difficult issues, everything from the environment to social justice to politics. The work I do matters in those areas. We’re not trying to be political, but we are trying to make society better.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Curator’s Pick: Baseball Pitcher by Ott and Brewer

Curator of Decorative Arts Brian Gallagher discusses this modeled sculpture of a baseball pitcher, made at the Trenton, New Jersey ceramics manufactory run by Joseph Ott and John Hart Brewer. In 1873, they hired the Canadian-born sculptor Isaac Broome to create a prototypical American work for their firm to display at the Centennial International Exposition that opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 10, 1876. This sculpture is made of Parian, a type of porcelain that has more feldspar in its body than conventional porcelain and is fired at a lower temperature. These conditions give the Baseball Pitcher its ivory color and smooth, marble-like texture.


FROM LEFT: Mark Rothko (American, born Russia, 1903–70). No. 17 [or] No. 15 1949, oil on canvas, 51 7/8 x 29 1/8 inches. Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc. National Gallery of Art, Washington 1986.43.142. Mark Rothko (American, born Russia, 1903–70). Untitled 1951, oil on canvas, 44 1/4 x 37 3/8 inches. Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc. National Gallery of Art, Washington 1986.43.157.

Paintings by Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko debut at The Mint Museum for first time in the museum’s history

For Immediate Release

Charlotte, North Carolina (March 10, 2022) — For the first time in its 85-year history, The Mint Museum has not one, but two, Mark Rothko paintings on view. Through a long-term loan with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., two paintings by the Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko are on view in the Modern Contemporary galleries at Mint Museum Uptown. The two works — No. 17 [or] No. 15 and Untitled 1951 — are the only paintings by Rothko currently on view in North Carolina.

To celebrate, Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., presents “Rothko Becoming Rothko” 6:30 p.m. April 13 at Mint Museum Uptown about the life and works of the famed artist. The lecture is part of the Wednesday Night Live Series, presented by Bank of America, and includes free admission to the museum, plus a cash bar, 5:30-9 p.m.
Rothko’s serene floating blocks of color, typical of his mature work in the 1950s and 1960s, are considered a pivotal moment in the move from figural painting to Abstract Expressionism, says Todd A. Herman, president and CEO.

“Influenced by the tragedies of World War II, Rothko felt that painting needed to reach deeper into our shared subconscious where humanity can be connected through emotional responses to color and shape. He worked in a vertical format to reflect the human form and encouraged people to stand just a few feet in front so that the work could fill their vision and maximize the effect.”

The paintings will be on view through March 2023 at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts.

Ticket Information
Admission to The Mint Museum is free for members and children ages 4 and younger; $15 for adults; $10 for seniors ages 65 and older; $10 for college students with ID; and $6 for youth ages 5–17.


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 at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.


More information, contact: Michele Huggins, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications at The Mint Museum | 704.564.0826 (c)

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

By Rubie Britt-Height, director of community relations at The Mint Museum

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1963) was a major American icon whose life, though cut short far too soon, profoundly impacted the state of our country in the 1950s, 1960s, and today. He was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday that marks the birth of this profoundly courageous leader who addressed the challenges existing in the United States relative to poverty, racism, and war.  

The Mint observes the official Martin Luther King Jr. holiday throughout the month of January with goals ongoing throughout the year to invoke dialogue and transformative programming, exhibitions, and equity for diverse artists, vendors, and staff. The museum is committed to its mission, vision, and strategic plan, of which diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are a part.  

Throughout 2022, the Mint will provide members and guests opportunities to view and have dialogue about meaningful works of art, attend performing arts programming, read historical nuggets about artists of color, and recount through socially conscious works of art the ongoing challenges identified by Dr. King’s speeches, writings, and sermons that continue to illuminate “the dream still deferred” in many ways.  

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech spoke metaphorically and strategically to an environment that blighted African Americans, with the hope of a transformed country of equity, equality, justice, and fairness. 

The Jim Crow Museum notes that “the civil rights movement reached its peak when 250,000 blacks and whites gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which included the demand for passage of meaningful civil rights laws when Dr. King, Jr. delivered his famous speech.”  Among those words, throughout his ministry are many other notable quotes that raise our consciousness and speak to courage, community, and commitment to a better America for all. 

Here are just a few of his thought-provoking and enlightened perspectives as one influenced by his Christian faith, Ghandi’s non-violence philosophy, and his commitment to balance the scale of humanity in America: 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” 

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” 

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” 

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but it comes through continuous struggle.” 

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

“The time is always right to do what is right.” 

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” 

We invite you view this curator video featuring Senior Curator of American art Jonathan Stuhlman, PhD, about the painting Selma by artist Barbra Pennington that focuses on the events that unfolded 55 years ago in Selma, Alabama. 

Mindfulness encourages us to be more present with art, ourselves and each other. The Mint Museum brings mindfulness to the experience of looking at art and invites you to take a restorative pause in your day and engage deeply with a work of art.

Join a Mint educator for a 45-minute mindfulness session and discussion about the work ‘The Bull Fight from 1930’ in the exhibition Bearden/Picasso: Rhythms and Reverberations | Cost of Admission