Ever thought the Mint Museum Uptown’s steps were just a little too intimidating?
You’re not the only one.
So the museum applied for – and has just won – grant money to make them ... well, sing. Sort of.
The Knight Foundation is awarding the Mint $150,000 to turn that staircase into an interactive feature, using technology to add light and sound – think of Seventh Street Station’s panels that light up, musically, when you touch them. (That was an inspiration, according to the Mint.)
Museum staff, consulting with the city (since the city owns the Mint’s building), will consider proposals from artists, and will commission the work. It’s expected to be finished in summer 2018. They’ll ask Charlotte arts groups to help create musical elements, and they’ll use the staircase’s already-existing LED lighting connections to start to make it all work. (They also plan to install a way to count how many people interact with the whole thing.)
The project is part of a nearly $2 million Knight Foundation effort, split among 12 institutions (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit are other winning destinations), to use tech to engage visitors in art.
“People want (arts) experiences to be personalized, interactive and shareable,” according to Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibarguen, and the foundation wants to support institutions willing to “seize the opportunities tech offers to engage visitors, patrons and audiences.”
The announcement comes on national Art Museum Day: Today, the Mint and its Levine Center for the Arts partners offer “The Art of Yoga,” a free one-hour yoga class starting at 6 p.m., plus food trucks, cash bars and three hours of free gallery access to the Mint, the Gantt Center and the Bechtler.