Local Arts

What’s up this week in Charlotte’s visual arts?

“Fickle,” 2015, by Holly Fischer.
“Fickle,” 2015, by Holly Fischer. Courtesy of the artist

Where to go

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“Jared,” 2016, by Jordan Casteel, at the Gantt through July 8. Courtesy of Martin H. Nesbitt & Dr. Anita K. Blanchard

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“Undone” (detail), 2012, by Alison Saar: At the Gantt through July 8. Courtesy of the Artist and L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Just one more week to catch the current round of exhibitions at the Gantt before they close on July 8. It’s amazing to have the work of such stellar artists in Charlotte and these shows are probably some of the best the Gantt has organized. In particular, don’t miss out on seeingJordan Casteel: Harlem Notes.Casteel, a graduate of Yale University’s MFA program, painted most of these intimate portraits while completing a yearlong residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Another gallery features sculptures, paintings, and works on paper by Alison Saar, arguably one of the most important sculptors working today. Check out these two shows by strong, female artists. You won’t regret it.

Who to meet

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“Matriarch,” 2016, by Holly Fischer. Courtesy of the artist

Holly Fischer, one of several N.C.-based artists selected for Gendered: An Inclusive Art Show,” a juried exhibition organized by the Young Affiliates of the Mint Museum. Several of Holly’s incredible ceramic works were selected by a panel of arts professionals for the exhibition, currently on view in The Mint’s (underused) fifth floor space. Holly lives in Raleigh, teaches at Meredith College, and was recently featured on the HappeningsCLT blog as one of our latest Carolina Art Crushes.

What to do

Be an advocate for the arts. A great place to start learning is the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) study, which looks at the arts’ economic impact, both nationally and in North Carolina. (Download it or order it from Americans for the Arts website.) It’s the largest study of its kind ever conducted, and uses data from fiscal year 2015. Nationally, it says, the nonprofit arts industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity in 2015 – $63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations, and $102.5 billion more in event-related expenditures by their audiences. In the Mecklenburg County region, it says, the economic impact of arts and cultural organizations and their audiences included more than 10,000 full-time-equivalent jobs supported through the arts; $242 million in household income paid to residents; $13 million generated for local government; and $16 million generated for state government. These numbers – and this study – have power, so familiarize yourself if you want to encourage the growth of arts and culture in our community.

Each week, Grace Cote, Lia Newman, and Kati Stegall offer Observer readers a to-do list on immersing yourself in visual arts around town. Newman is director/curator of the Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College, Cote is senior coordinator at Jerald Melberg Gallery, Stegall is Art-in-Transit program administrator at the Charlotte Area Transit System, and they collaborate on the blog HappeningsCLT (happeningsCLT.com).

For a seasonlong visual arts calendar, go to: www.charlotteobserver.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article100517602.html.

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