Each week, Grace Cote and Lia Newman 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, and they collaborate on the blog HappeningsCLT (happeningsCLT.com).
Where to go
Three exhibitions close soon at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture: “Charlotte Collects Elizabeth Catlett: A Centennial Celebration” marks the 100th anniversary of the painter, sculptor and printmaker’s birth. “AfriCOBRA Now: An Aesthetic Reflection” is a survey of work from 1968 to present by members of AfriCOBRA, founded in Chicago to make images to “reflect and project the moods, attitudes and sensibilities of African Americans independent of ... Euro-centric modalities”). And “I’m Walkin’ for My Freedom: The Selma March And Voting Rights” showcases a series of photographs by Matt Herron of the historic civil rights march, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
What to do
Take a workshop: The Light Factory revs up its workshops in early 2016 with Intro to DSLR (digital camera) classes in four parts this January, now available for member and nonmember sign-ups. This month, installation artist Kathryn Godwin of Studio Cultivate offers three evening options at the Goodyear Building uptown (small fee; materials included): Make holiday cards on Dec. 14; make a “merry modern wreath” on Dec. 16; or take the Festive Giftwrap workshop on Dec. 17 to amp up your gift-giving.
Who to meet
Painter Charles Williams! Williams has burst onto the art scene in Charlotte and beyond after finishing an artist residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation this summer: His current body of work centers on overcoming his fear of the ocean while learning how to swim, a story told through delicate watercolors and boldly rendered oil self-portraits. Williams had work on view at AQUA art fair in Miami, was reviewed recently in the Washington Post, and will be highlighted as the Sensoria artist during CPCC’s well-attended spring arts festival.