ASC’s Connect With Culture Day is an invitation to experience a wide range of activities for free

Have you been curious about Charlotte’s museum and arts institutions but never taken the time to visit? Saturday could be as good a chance as any to satisfy that urge.

The Arts & Science Council celebrates the kickoff of its annual fund drive with Connect with Culture Day, which hosts cultural events and free admission to the Mint Museum Uptown and Randolph, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Levine Museum of the New South, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture and more.

“It’s an invitation to be curious. It’s a thank you for all the support we’ve received,” says ASC president Robert Bush. “In the past, we’ve done a luncheon or a breakfast, but the community was real clear: They want to be engaged.

“Rather than throw a party for the cheerleaders – which is what the kickoffs usually are – we thought we’d throw open the doors for the cultural community. We’re inviting everyone, regardless of means, to join in a cultural activity anywhere in the county.”

That means a chamber orchestra in Ballantyne; a poetry workshop in the University area; African drumming and dance in Wesley Heights; opera in Steele Creek; pottery in Plaza Midwood; bluegrass in Huntersville; and jazz dance in Matthews.

The McColl Center for Art + Innovation, the Charlotte Museum of History, the Carolina Raptor Center, the Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary, the President James K. Polk Historic Site, and the Mint, Bechtler, Gantt and Levine also will offer free admission for three to eight hours Saturday.

“It’s not about asking for donations. Obviously, if people want to do that that’s great, (but) it’s more about engaging the community and the arts, science, history and heritage experiences that are available here,” says Bernie Petit, communications manager for the Arts & Science Council.

Connect with Culture Day is about new experiences and new places, Bush says.

“It’s in cultural venues you’d anticipate going into, and it’s in places like the Collard Green Museum or a restaurant in Mint Hill. It’s about getting out there and trying something new,” Bush says. “You might find a cultural group you love, or a location you love, or discover benefits you didn’t know were available in this community.”