Charlotte’s cultural groups are joining in on Monday’s CarolinaFest celebration by opening their doors for free or at reduced prices. Here’s a look at what’s on display:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
While many of uptown’s cultural groups are using U.S. history and culture as their theme, the Bechtler is going international. “Giacometti: Memory and Presence” centers on Alberto Giacometti, the Swiss artist best known for his sculptures – one of which netted more than $100 million at a New York auction a couple of years ago. The Bechtler show, which includes many works loaned by Giacometti collections in Paris and Switzerland, climaxes with sculptures, but it also includes paintings, drawings and works reaching back to the artist’s youth.
The Observer’s lobby is displaying “One America, One American,” a collection of 30-plus photos of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. In 1966, Life magazine assigned photographer Bill Eppridge to follow Kennedy as he traveled the country and ultimately launched his 1968 presidential campaign. Eppridge’s photos tell the story up to Kennedy’s assassination in Los Angeles.
In addition to the hands-on activities that set off learning and fun all over the building, the science center’s main show is “National Geographic Crittercam,” which takes viewers into animals’ daily lives with the help of video cameras attached to them. Also, down at Legacy Village on South Tryon Street, Discovery Place educators and students from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Philip O. Berry Academy of Technology will work all week converting a 1992 Ford Mustang into an electric car.
Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
The main attraction is “America I AM,” an exhibition of more than 200 artifacts illustrating nearly 500 years of African-Americans’ role in U.S. history and culture. The objects range from shackles used during the slave trade and Frederick Douglass’ frock coat to Malcolm X’s journal and a guitar belonging to Prince. The exhibition is spearheaded by broadcaster Tavis Smiley, who said in a statement: “By telling the stories of the events of the past, we can help the leaders of the future set the stage for active participation in the democratic process for years to come.”
Levine Museum of the New South
Out-of-towners and residents alike can see how Charlotte developed into a convention-hosting city in “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers,” the permanent exhibit. “Families of Abraham” photographs tell the stories of 11 Charlotte-area families – Christians, Jews and Muslims – and explore the links between the three faiths.
The gallery in Spirit Square is looking back at a past Democratic National Convention that ours hopefully won’t resemble. “Out in the Streets” is an exhibition of photographs from the tumultuous Chicago convention of 1968, when anti-Vietnam War protests and other flare-ups turned the city into a battleground. The tumult was documented by some of the most accomplished news photographers of the time, including North Carolina native Duane Hall, a staffer for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Mint Museum Uptown
“Read My Pins” features the jewelry that Madeleine Albright used to convey patriotic and diplomatic messages when she was secretary of state. “Hard Truths” features the dramatic multimedia creations of Thornton Dial, an Alabama-born artist whose works look at American life. The newest show: “Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design.” It’s full of eye-catching, compelling and whimsical examples of what 21st-century creativity and technology can do with an elemental material.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
The shrine to stock-car racing includes tributes to drivers, historic cars and other displays as well as chances for visitors to get hands-on experiences of the thrills and science of racing.
New Gallery of Modern Art