One of the great things about living in Charlotte is how close we are to so many ideal weekend getaways – Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charleston and its surrounding beaches and islands, Atlanta and its amazing food, culture, sports and shopping. In just a couple of hours you can find yourself well installed in any of these great vacation spots.
Last weekend, my husband and I visited Asheville with some friends and thoroughly enjoyed the restaurants, galleries and musicians on every corner. The cultural vibe that pours out of literally every storefront and apartment in downtown Asheville reignited our excitement for finding more of that energy here in Charlotte. And while we may not have a five-piece band jamming on every block here, there are several cultural gems in this town that I, for one, plan to take greater advantage of. So where to begin?
The list starts with the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. This place it truly a world-class organization. Not only do they maintain a stellar collection of 20th century artwork, including pieces by Giacometti, Picasso, Warhol and many others, but they have also created a space for inspiring events. From Jazz on Friday nights once each month to fascinating lectures, films, and panel discussions, this museum is one of the reasons that Charlotte is such a fantastic place to live.
Across the street from the Bechtler is the Uptown location of Charlotte’s first art museum, the Mint Museum. Beyond offering an impressive collection of American, European and Contemporary art for the entire Charlotte community to enjoy, the Mint is also the home of the Young Affiliates of the Mint, a young professionals group that promotes and supports the Mint through social, educational, leadership, and fundraising activities. For YPs interested in a taste of how this group comes together to support art in Charlotte, learn more on their website at www.youngaffiliates.org.
Finally, for a truly unique artistic experience, I have to recommend spending a Saturday morning at the McColl Center for Visual Art. This nationally acclaimed artists-in-residence program presents an opportunity for Charlotte to experience cutting-edge artworks in its galleries and through its community outreach programs. Even more engaging than viewing the finished works, however, is wandering through the studios on an Open Studio Saturday to see the works-in-progress and chat with the artists to learn about their creative process.