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The Mint Museum Ignites Each Visitor's Inner Artist with Inspiring Pieces from the Global Art Community

By S. Mathur

The Mint Museum was actually originally a mint. In fact, it was the original branch of the United States Mint. The Museum began as a community effort to save the historic building from demolition.

Director of Public Relations and Publications Leigh Dyer relates that "Back in 1933, our founder Mary Myers Dwelle and a group of concerned citizens banded together to stop the destruction of the old Mint building in uptown Charlotte. They felt it should be used to create a cultural center for Charlotte, and amid the Great Depression, they managed to raise enough money to move it brick by brick to its current location in Eastover."

Mint Museum Randolph

It became the Mint Museum Randolph and now has a branch in Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts. From having no art collection at all, "The museum has grown dramatically," adds Dyer, "It now has over 35,000 objects and one of the largest art museum collections in the Southeastern United States. We have about 150,000 visitors each year and are one of Charlotte's most visited cultural attractions."

The galleries include art exhibits covering four and a half thousand years of human history, from the art of the ancient Americas, ceramics and decorative arts , fashion and European, African, and Asian art. There's a reference library with over 15,000 volumes, and a theater for lectures and performances. A browse around the Museum Shop reveals gifts and other merchandise relating to the permanent collection as well as the special exhibitions.

Mint Museum Uptown (day)

The Museum is celebrating its 80th anniversary as the Year of the Woman, which runs from July 2016 to June 2017. Dyer explains the choice: "We were founded by women, have been led by women, and we are celebrating women artists this fall with two exhibitions, Women of Abstract Expressionism, organized by the Denver Art Museum, and Fired Up: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists from the Toledo Museum of Art." The anniversary celebrations kick off with a weekend of free community events at both locations.

Another popular event at the Museum is the Taste of the Mint series, which combines cuisine and art. The evenings begin wth small plate and beverage pairings at the museum restaurant, Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth, which has been chosen as one of America's best museum restaurants by Travel + Leisure. This is followed by a private tour of the galleries and special exhibits.

Mint Museum Uptown (night)

Regular events at the Mint Museum include free Wednesday evenings at both branches, when there is no admission ticket from 5 to 9 pm. The popular Yoga at the Mint series is free to members. The idea that art is for all underpins the classes for adults, children and teens, which inspire hands-on creativity. Educational programming includes master classes, workshops, summer camp, lectures and film. Art for Educators gives teachers access to special exhibitions.

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