2011 will be the year of artist Romare Bearden

05/18/2010 12:00 AM

05/17/2010 11:53 PM

For its inaugural art exhibit, the Mint planned to show works by Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden, one of the foremost African-American artists of the 20th century.

But it took time to put such an exhibit together. Then, museum staff realized waiting a year offered an interesting confluence of dates.

So "Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections" will open Sept. 2, 2011 - the 100th anniversary of Bearden's birth. The year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Mint Museum.

A postponement gave other arts groups a chance to join in. N.C. Dance Theatre, for instance, has commissioned a work to honor Bearden.

The Mint, which received a $100,000 NEA grant for "Southern Recollections," will have a Bearden gallery when it opens in October, showing what it believes to be the largest Bearden collection in a public museum.

In 2003, Bank of America donated six Bearden collage paintings. Recently, the museum's holding got another boost, a gift of 17 works by former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis and his wife, Donna. While not major pieces, the watercolors and prints help give a fuller sense of the artist and brings the Mint's Bearden holdings to 47 works.

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