Mint Museum's 'It Takes A Village' Highlights Charlotte Arts Collectives
Graphic art. Murals. Photography. Textiles. Giant jellyfish.
If that combination sounds like it runs the artistic gamut, that’s because it does. Art is made by many different people with many different backgrounds from many different places. And that’s kind of the point of “It Takes a Village,” the new exhibition at Mint Museum Randolph that showcases the work of 25 different artists representing three different Charlotte art collectives.
Three gallery rooms are set aside for the exhibition, one apiece for works from the three collectives, BLKMRKT, Brand the Moth and Goodyear Arts. The exhibition features works by artists from diverse backgrounds using diverse techniques, including several involved in public art and murals across Charlotte, such as the Black Lives Matter mural in uptown last year.
Jen Sudul Edwards, the Mint’s chief curator, said in an announcement about the exhibition that Charlotte's artist collectives are “exceptional.”
“We have an extraordinary number of creatives coalescing into our communities that celebrate local artists’ works on a larger, louder platform, and that also work together to form this highly productive, engaging creative machine.”
During a preview of the exhibition this week, Sudul Edwards said “It Takes a Village” gives the collectives’ artwork a “more conventional presentation” to show off their talents.
“Not only are you making work that is truly pushing the boundaries and innovating in ways that are beyond expectation on the part of us as an audience,” she told artists at the preview, “but that you are really talented makers, that you’re trained, that you have techniques that fit in with what we would expect to see in an art museum.”
A second — and different — version of the event is set for this fall at the Mint's uptown location.
BLKMRKT, one of the collectives featured in the exhibition, has an event space and was started to offer artists of color a safe creative environment. The collective's display at the Mint has a large mural, photography, paintings, prints and a video project.
BLKMRKT's Carla Aaron-Lopez said many collectives exist mainly “in the underground” and aren’t typically featured in a city’s main art institutions — often intentionally.
But Aaron-Lopez told reporters Sudul Edwards was willing to look at the collective “beyond surface value.” And she noted Charlotte’s cultural importance to the Carolinas — especially the city’s Black artistic culture.
“This is the beginning,” she said. “This is the beginning of Charlotte acknowledging its Black arts history beyond the (Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture).”
The nonprofit Goodyear Arts is a residency program that supports local artists through funding, space and other resources. The collective’s display for “It Takes a Village” features fabrics, paintings and sculptures from a variety of artists involved in the group.
Brand the Moth, a nonprofit like Goodyear Arts, helps create public art and support artists. The collective’s display at the Mint features work from five artists with displays ranging from paintings to colorful plants to big jellyfish.
“Our biggest thing is collaboration,” said Brand the Moth’s Sam Guzzie. “We believe that by artists coming together and collaborating with all our unique skills and abilities, that we actually lift the entire community together.”
The Mint is inviting people to celebrate the exhibition Friday at 5 p.m. with a party for adults. BLKMRKT artist Dammit Wesley will be the DJ, and the galleries will be open. There’s a formal grand opening Saturday at noon with food trucks and live music from DJ Fannie Mae. At 2 p.m., Sudul Edwards and artists from the collectives will hold an informal panel. Admission is free for both events.