Things to do

Podcast: Change your attitude about Charlotte arts

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Generated by IJG JPEG Library

You might think Discovery Place is just for kids, and that the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is just for art history majors. You’d be wrong, and Julie Levans and Andy Goh want to prove it to you.

Levans, social media manager at Discovery Place, and Goh, digital communications specialist at Bechtler, recently launched #cltarts, a series of meetups for marketing professionals at various arts and cultural institutions around the city.

Sarah Crosland and I talked to Goh and Levans about the #cltarts on this week’s episode of The Good News Is … podcast.

Each month, #cltarts goes behind the scenes of one institution and its members Tweet, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat and Facebook the experience using the #cltarts hashtag. The meetups aren’t open to the public, but you can follow along on your phone, tablet, computer or whatever and get that behind-the-scenes experience.

The first one at Opera Carolina got snowed out, but #cltarts meetups have already come to Discovery Place, Charlotte Ballet and the Bechtler. This month it’ll be at the Harvey B. Gantt Center, in June at the Mint Museum, later this summer at the Raptor Center and later this fall at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Opera Carolina.

“Since we all work in social media we decided to anchor it around social media and the first thing that popped into my head was, let’s just meet up at each different institution each month and just blow it up on social media,” Goh said. “That way you can get an idea, a sense, a behind-the scenes look at that institution without having to leave your seat or wherever you’re at.”

Here are some other things we learned from Goh and Levans:

(1) Cultural institutions should be more like breweries.

“A collaborative atmosphere is something that I thought was missing from the scene when I first started,” Goh said. “I look at kind of like the craft beer scene in Charlotte. There’s a bunch of really good breweries here and while they are all competing and all trying to, you know, get dollars from each other, you also see them collaborate a lot.”

(2) You shouldn’t be scared to have cultural experiences.

“Through things like Science on the Rocks and #cltarts, it’s a way to reintroduce (Discovery Place) to people,” Levans said, “and also I think taking away some of the fear. Maybe people have never been to the symphony, maybe people have never been to the opera and this is a way to give them a really good glimpse behind the scenes and to make them feel comfortable. …

“I’ve never been to the opera so I’m so excited for when we get to go. So I think just making it accessible to everybody and showing them that it’s there and that it’s fun.”

(3) And we should be doing more than just going to breweries on the weekend.

“What I’d like to see personally more is a shift in people’s attitudes towards art and towards creativity, especially in this city,” Goh said. “It’s great that we have great breweries and all that, but I really do see a lot of people kind of getting more involved in the beer drinking and socializing aspect when really there are so many gorgeous opportunities for you to expand your mind, expand your different horizons.”

Other things we discussed on the podcast:

– Sarah and I are doing weekends wrong. How do you recharge after the work week? We want your tips.

– What to do this weekend (yep, beer is involved).

– Charlotte should have a cat-friendly beer festival (seriously).

The Good News Is — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast with a similar mission to what we do here at C5: To get you CharlotteSmart, fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s hosted by Corey Inscoe and Sarah Crosland.

As always, you can find our episodes on SoundcloudiTunes and now Stitcher. You can follow us on Twitter @TheGoodNewsCLT, on Instagram @TheGoodNewsCLT, on Facebook and you can shoot us an email to

Photo: Gary O’Brien