HappeningsCLT on Creating Community

More than anything, the HappeningsCLT team wants to be part of a lively, innovative, collaborative arts community. Right here in Charlotte. We have been thinking about what makes community for awhile. It’s part of the reason we started this blog. But here are some other suggestions we have.

  • Hey, Mint Museum of Art, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and Harvey B. Gantt Center, we have an idea for you. Why don’t you all stay open late (and not charge admission if possible) on Wednesday nights – maybe even just once a month? We promise that collaborating will not dilute your audience, but rather it will develop it, while nurturing a collaborative arts community here in Charlotte. We bet Irina at the New Gallery of Modern Art would join in as well. A few restaurants might offer some specials and voila, before you know it you’ve got yourself an uptown art event attracting a large, diverse audience. We think something so easy will have many benefits – for the museums involved, the nearby restaurants, and more importantly, the community of arts and art enthusiasts. Let’s give it a try, no?
  • This suggestion is also for the Mint Museum as well as the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. We need you to support even more local and regional artists in addition to bringing in all of the amazing ones you work with from around the world. There aren’t many venues for Charlotte or NC-based artists here in the Queen City. Mint Museum: maybe you can dedicate one small space to North Carolina artists, as the North Carolina Museum of Art has done. Or perhaps a triennial exhibition dedicated to showing NC artists would be a good idea. What about your fourth floor space? (Maybe even let HappeningsCLT curate something for that space).
  • Artists: let’s stop acting like we live in a competitive, corporate city. Yes, in many ways we want you to behave professionally, and we definitely want you to maintain good business practices, but you don’t need to entirely follow the same rules as the banks in order to make art magic happen. If you want to see something happen, make it happen. HappeningsCLT really believes in this, so instead of just whining about the fact that there aren’t enough opportunities for emerging and mid-level local artists, we are now teaming up with Garret Tichy and #weloveclt to present six exhibitions over the next year @809. More about that soon! But really the point is: use your creativity to figure out how to make things happen and to shape this city and art community into what you want it to be. We don’t need to follow corporate rules. While a little competition is healthy, we advocate for collaboration and partnerships. And remember, some of the most successful collaborations involve dialogue with individuals outside of your field…maybe your friend working in tech.
  • Patrons: we hear that you like to buy art in bigger markets. You know, it sounds better to say you bought that painting in NY or even just down the road in Atlanta. But if you love this city and want it to grow you have to support the creative class. People often complain about the disappearance of galleries from NoDa, once known as an art district. Did you support these galleries? Did you buy artwork at these venues? If you want to save what remains in Charlotte, please purchase your next piece of art from any of our local galleries including Elder Art Gallery, Jerald Melberg, New Gallery of Modern Art, Hidell Brooks, Sozo Gallery, Shain Gallery, and Lark & Key to name a few.


  • To the powers that be: Perhaps you intend Uptown Charlotte to just be a central business district but we really doubt this to be the case. Based on the investments previously made into the Levine Center for the Arts we think you have visions of a thriving, lively, cultural uptown that attracts lots of visitors. We have some news: we aren’t there yet. We don’t have a waterfront area uptown but let’s capitalize on what we do have: young creatives. Everyone knows that artists move into areas that need lovin’, invigorate that area, and then get forced out by rising costs. We aren’t advocating for the latter part of that sentence but what about the first part? Artists need affordable studio space, better yet: live/work space. Young creative entrepreneurs need more affordable work and retail space so they can start awesome handmade accessory/design shops, treasured locally-owned coffee shops, or new hip galleries. While we too need to shop at Walgreens occasionally (and are pretty pumped about the announcement of the new Whole Foods uptown), big box stores don’t create a cultured uptown. We really believe that if creative folks can afford to live and open businesses in uptown, everyone else will come to shop, view art, eat delicious food, and drink soy lattes.

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