Local Arts

Welcome to the Observer’s big, diverse 2019-20 Charlotte Arts Guide

Cool local arts performances in the 2019-20 season

Lawrence Toppman, a veteran Observer arts correspondent, shares some shows and events he's looking forward to seeing.
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Lawrence Toppman, a veteran Observer arts correspondent, shares some shows and events he's looking forward to seeing.

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Charlotte Arts Guide 2019-20

Here’s all of our stories on the new arts season. We’ll introduce you to the diverse group of people making vital contributions to the arts. You’ll find them in museums, on stage, in studios and even outdoors. And you’ll get our calendar listings for theater, dance, music, museums, literary events and visual arts.

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Welcome, friends, to the Observer’s 2019-20 arts season guide.

As the Observer arts editor, I’m excited to raise the curtain on the new offerings the diverse arts community has in store. There’s plenty to celebrate this season that’s really cool.

In fact, we put a spotlight on many things that are “obvious cool,” like the genie bursting forth in “Disney’s Aladdin” for much of September at Belk Theater, “La Boheme” from Opera Carolina in January and the Charlotte Ballet’s family-friendly “Sleeping Beauty: A Fairy-Tailored Classic” next March.

Also, violinist Itzhak Perlman playing Mendelssohn with the Charlotte Symphony in October? Well, that’s cool any time of year.

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Highlights in the new arts season include, clockwise from top left: “Disney’s Aladdin,” which will play here in September, artwork at the dupp&swatt gallery in Camp North End overseen by Davita Galloway and her brother, new projects from artist Ivan Depeña and concerts from the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, including with lead bassoonist Olivia Oh. Collage by Stephanie Bunao

And we look at “hidden cool” places and events, too.

That includes the only spot to hear free, professional chamber music: in the sanctuary of Providence United Methodist Church, for the Providence Chamber Music Series. And in November, Three Bone Theatre is producing the world premiere of “Protective Custody PRISONER: 34042,” an adaptation of Susan Cernyak-Spatz’s memoir of surviving Nazi concentration camps as a teen.

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Violinist Itzhak Perlman will be in Charlotte in October to perform Mendelssohn with the Charlotte Symphony. Evan Vucci AP Photo/File

Milestones and anniversaries

Then there are the folks on stage, in the galleries, at the museums and behind the scenes who play special roles in the new season.

People like Davita Galloway and her brother Dion Galloway. Their Camp North End studio, dupp&swat, “provides a safe place for the art community to come and thrive,” Dion Galloway said, as they embrace African American artists and other minority groups “who may be perceived as looked over or undervalued.”

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Tifferney White has been chief learning officer at Discovery Place since 2017, focusing on education, outreach, staff training and teacher development. Courtesy of Discovery Place

At Discovery Place, Tifferney White is the chief learning officer and remains focused on getting both children and adults excited about science. Cuba is on her mind this fall.

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Artist Ivan Depeña said he’s bringing studio art to street art with his new mural going up on Charlotte’s Rail Trail near Tremont Avenue. Alex Cason

You may be familiar with artist Ivan Depeña’s “Color Forest,” featuring 100 bright aluminum poles installed north of Bland Street along the Rail Trail not too long ago. We’ll let you know what’s next for Depeña, as he picks up a spray can to make another piece of public art along the light rail line. “It’s exciting to be back painting on walls,” he said.

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Maurice Mouzon Jr. has danced in the Charlotte Ballet for three years, and will be choreographing for the second company in the upcoming season. The Charlotte Ballet

This Charlotte Ballet season will be an especially important one for Maurice Mouzon Jr., whose serendipitous path through the world of dance will reach a new milestone soon.

And the next time you attend a Charlotte Symphony Orchestra concert, give a closer look to lead bassoonist Olivia Oh. We’ll show you how this woman of faith balances music and motherhood.

There also are several anniversaries coming up this year.

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Charlotte mixed media artist Nellie Ashford depicted African-Americans playing, voting and worshiping in segregated, small-town Charlotte in her 2016 Gantt Center show. Observer file photo

The Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture celebrates 45 years of operations, as well as its 10th year in its uptown building. And the nearby Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is marking its own 10th anniversary.

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“The Firebird” by Niki de Saint Phalle in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Observer file photo

Meanwhile, the McColl Center For Art + Innovation held a 20th anniversary gala in April, where it launched a fundraising drive with a $1 million donation from the McColl family. The center debuted on Sept. 16, 1999, in the restored former First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church on N. Tryon Street.

Many of the stories, videos and photos you’ll see in the guide are funded through an Observer underwriting project with the Thrive Campaign for the Arts, which supports arts journalism in Charlotte.

Finally, here’s where you can find all of our arts guide stories online in one place: charlotteobserver.com/topics/charlotte-arts-guide. Enjoy.

And now, on with the show...

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