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Patron of the Arts

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Patron of the Arts: Loretta Jean Webber

By Joanne Spataro
Special to the Observer

For Loretta Jean Webber, having art on the walls is what makes a home. The 76-year-old’s love for the arts began in 1974 when she and her late husband, Spurgeon, began supporting the Afro-American Cultural Center in Charlotte. They began donating to and volunteering with The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture when it opened in 2009. Since Webber’s husband passed away last December, she is committed to continuing their shared tradition of giving to the Gantt and supporting the arts in Charlotte.

Joanne Spataro

Art vs. furniture: Webber would rather have more art than furniture in her house. Her children once teased her for the ratio, but that has been her personal decor style for years. “If you have art around, it makes the mind go to a different place,” she said.

Friends: Harvey B. Gantt, the first African-American mayor of Charlotte and the namesake for the Center, inspired Webber even before he took office in 1983. She admired his ability to connect with and inspire young people in the Queen City. “(Gantt) gave so much hope to so many in this community,” Webber said.

Location, location, location: Webber loves the uptown location of the Harvey B. Gantt Center, which is near The Mint Museum Uptown, another one of the organizations she supports. After 30 years of supporting the arts, she is honored to see her and her late husband’s contributions blossom for a new generation. “I think it’s a beautiful, beautiful, thing,” she said.

What’s your favorite arts group? Should we feature you or someone you know as a patron of the arts? Tell us why. Email living@charlotteobserver.com. Put patron in subject line.

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