Local, national, and international visitors take part in 24-hour celebration
The Mint Museum welcomed a record-breaking 17,000 visitors to its new facility in uptown Charlotte during its grand opening weekend on 1-3 October. The debut of the Mint Museum Uptown was accompanied by a 24-Hour Grand Opening celebration, featuring free admission, live entertainment, and art activities for all ages.
“The enthusiastic support and overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from members and guests made our opening weekend a tremendously rewarding experience to me and to the entire staff, who worked tirelessly to make this event such a success,” said Executive Director Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson. “Even more satisfying was observing the galleries full of diverse audiences experiencing the Mint’s collections in new ways, and seeing a subsequent spike in memberships over the weekend.”
The 24-Hour Grand Opening celebration kicked off on 1 October with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:00 p.m., followed by a variety of activities for all ages during the next 24 hours. Friday evening events included an inaugural First Friday celebration and a Takeover Friday party, featuring music and dancing into the wee hours. Saturday activities included a Pecha Kucha Night Charlotte, museum tours, films, artist demonstrations, a poetry slam, and art-making activities for children and families in the Lewis Family Gallery. Special partnerships with Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure and the Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance allowed hundreds of people to walk, run, and bike to the Museum during opening weekend.
“After years of planning and fine-tuning the educational components of the new Mint, we were thrilled to see children and families diving into the interactive art stations in the Lewis Family Gallery,” said Director of Education Cheryl Palmer. “The excitement exhibited by our young patrons reinforces our belief that arts education is a critical need in the community.”
During the week preceding the grand opening, the Mint Museum Uptown held several “soft openings” for approximately 1,500 supporters, members, and community partners. Net sales from the Museum Shop during opening weekend totaled more than $10,000.
Designed by noted architectural firm Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston, the Mint Museum Uptown was the final attraction to open in the Levine Center for the Arts, located in the heart of Charlotte’s business district. Housing the internationally-renowned Mint Museum of Craft + Design, as well as American and contemporary art and select works from the European art collection, the 145,000-square-foot facility includes two full floors of galleries, each featuring 12,000 square feet of permanent collection space and 6,000 square feet of changing exhibition space. A dramatic multi-story atrium, named for the late Robert Haywood Morrison in honor of his foundation’s generous gift to the Museum, serves as a central hub of activity and features a 60- by 60-foot glass curtain wall offering spectacular views of the urban landscape. The building also includes a café, the Lewis Family Gallery, painting and ceramics studios, classrooms, a 240-seat auditorium, a Special Events Pavilion with outdoor terrace, and an expanded street-level Museum Shop featuring crafts of the Carolinas and showcasing merchandise that complements both the permanent collection and special exhibitions.
Following the opening of the Mint Museum Uptown, the Mint Museum Randolph, located in the historic Eastover neighborhood, will reinstall its galleries dedicated to the art of the ancient Americas, decorative arts, and historic costume, among others. For more information, visit www.mintmuseum.org.
The Mint Museum is a unique gathering place for people to experience art through significant and varied collections, engaging exhibitions and innovative educational programs. Established in 1936 as the first art museum in North Carolina, the Mint Museum Randolph is housed in what was the first branch of the United States Mint and exhibits collections of art of the ancient Americas, decorative arts, and historic costume, among others. The Mint Museum Uptown houses the internationally-renowned Mint Museum of Craft + Design, as well as American and contemporary art and select works from the European art collection. The Mint Museum is funded, in part, with operating support from the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Inc.; the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources; the City of Charlotte; and its members.