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Mint Museum's move starts soon

Craft + Design museum will shut down Feb. 7; new location opens in October.

By Linda Luise Brown
Special to the Observer

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  • A farewell party for the Mint Museum of Craft + Design (220 N. Tryon St.) is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 5. There will be refreshments, live music, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and a sneak peek at what's in store for the Mint Museum Uptown. The cost is $20 per person or $10 for Mint members. 704-337-2000.

The Mint Museum of Craft + Design will close Feb. 7, and will reopen in the heart of the First Street Cultural Campus this October.

As for the existing location on North Tryon Street? Art lovers have 21/2 weeks to take a look at the exhibits before they're boxed up.

The permanent collection, which will move to the Mint Museum Uptown at 500 S. Tryon St., is complex and eclectic. It features everything from fine jewelry to fiber arts, from wacky, satirical, narrative ceramic sculpture by Russell Biles to product design - including Marcello Nizzoli's 1949/50 typewriter, "Lettera 22," Italy's first portable typewriter.

Meanwhile, this will be art lovers' last chance to check out Fleur and Charles Bresler's fabulous collection of 36 antique quilts that has been on display since July as part of "American Quilt Classics, 1800-1980: The Bresler Collection."

A tone of excitement pervaded the air recently as a small posse of women examined these handicrafts, some of which are more than 200 years old; others, including several gorgeous Amish designs, are more recent. The largest, an appliquéd quilt, measures about 10 or 12 feet square.

Examples of "white work quilting" from 1800 to 1825 are painstakingly executed with white thread on pure white cotton. Several charming crib quilts from the same period (circa 1830) are on display. The oft-repeated log cabin design (from about 1870) makes an appearance, as well as a Depression-era "postage stamp quilt," the individual pieces of which are actually smaller than a postage stamp.

This show is as good a reason as any to get to the "old" Craft + Design museum location before it closes.

It's a "bittersweet" occasion, said Annie Carlano, director of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. "This is a lovely building. It was the first chapter ... the first decade ... of (its legacy)."

The Foundation for the Carolinas will take over the building, at 220 N. Tryon St., although the gift shop will remain open for several more months (with a firm closing date to be announced this spring).

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