Local Arts

Here’s how to ‘Connect with Culture’ in Charlotte – for free

More offered in “Connect with Culture” days: African dance class, with Charlotte Ballet.
More offered in “Connect with Culture” days: African dance class, with Charlotte Ballet. Jon Strayhorn MAC330

For two days in January, you can experience everything from learning ballroom dance with the Charlotte Purple Steppers to listening to story time with a ballerina from the Charlotte Ballet.

And for how much? It’s all free.

Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council is putting on its fifth annual “Connect with Culture Days” Jan. 25 and 26, where community members can try out, and see, and do all kinds of arts and science.

That could mean watching a performance by the Number Drummer, in which Troy Kryzalka teaches math while creating music. Or maybe it’s using robots to paint pictures with Discovery Place at a brewery.

“The core of ASC’s work is ensuring access to arts and cultural experiences,” said Krista Terrell, vice president of marketing and communications for ASC. So the two-day event “is an opportunity for residents and visitors to sample all of the wonderful and diverse cultural amenities and organizations and artists that live and work here in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.”

Clayworks - Muddy Fun.JPG
Among the “Connect with Culture” activities: Clay fun with Clayworks. ASC

Maybe you’ll choose to head over the Charlotte Museum of History to experience one of last year’s favorites, called “Taste of the World,” where attendees can sample food from local, diverse restaurants.

Or maybe you’ll enjoy free admission to some of the city’s museums, including the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture, the Levine Museum of the New South, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Mint Museum.

“Story time with a Ballerina” has been the most popular event in the past, Terrell said. Ballerinas from Charlotte Ballet will read tales they choose themselves: “Peter Pan,” perhaps, or “Sleeping Beauty.”

“It’s important for (community members) to understand the incredible depth and breadth of the amazing cultural experiences we have in this community,” said ASC President Robert Bush. “It’s not just the obvious that we all think about, but it’s the things that are new and emerging, and Connect with Culture Days gives you a chance to sample things for free.”

This year, ASC designated a series of culture “hubs” to host events, so people don’t have to travel far to try things out, Bush said. The hubs range from community centers to schools.

ASC was more strategic this year about where to put which events, Terrell said, and tried to put things where residents said they wanted to see them. For example, the South Charlotte hub at the Sam Lerner Center at Foundation of Shalom Park, which has a sizeable senior citizen population nearby, will offer a senior movement class by Charlotte Ballet.

Whatever you choose, nearly 80 experiences and more than 20 locations around Charlotte are ready, according to the ASC website. Note: Some events have age requirements, and require registration beforehand. Find registration and a complete list of activities and locations here.