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It Takes a (Creative) Village to Make an Impactby Amanda Lea on June 9, 2021
In celebration of the grassroots art happening throughout Charlotte, The Mint Museum has organized It Takes a Village: Charlotte Artist Collectives, an exhibition presenting works of art from three of the city’s innovative artist collectives: Goodyear Arts, BLKMRKTCLT and Brand the Moth.
It Takes a Village is curated by Jen Sudul Edwards, Ph.D., chief curator and curator of contemporary art at The Mint Museum. The works on display are by artists of diverse backgrounds, many born outside the United States.
You’ll probably recognize many of the Charlotte creatives in this line-up. Many of the artists played a role in painting the Black Lives Matter street mural in uptown Charlotte last summer. Some have been featured in the Mint’s Constellation CLT series and were also involved with LOCAL/STREET.
Last summer, Edwards had conversations with Charlotte collective leaders about a collaboration to showcase local artists.
In talking through options, the concept for a dovetailed exhibition was born: A conventional exhibition featuring artists’ works in a more traditional gallery setting and collective take-overs in the fifth floor expansion space at Mint Museum Uptown.
“I really liked this opportunity — to see the technical experience and training these artists have,” said Edwards. “These aren’t just street artists or guerilla activists; they have academic chops, and the museum space highlights that.”
Exploring Two Worlds in One Place
For Edwards, the beauty of this project is the juxtaposition of the two worlds. “I love working with contemporary artists and seeing them push beyond the times we’re in,” she said. “They push tradition. They stretch it and blow it away, and then create something from the fragments.”
Brand the Moth and BLKMRKTCLT are each creating installations in Mint Museum Uptown’s Level 5 expansion space. Goodyear Arts has a series of performances planned on the front lawn of Mint Museum Randolph. The takeover installations are generously sponsored by Lovebolt, a nonprofit organization focused on ending systemic racism.
Collaboration is the ethos of Brand the Moth’s group exhibit.
“Together, we designed this gravity-defying sculpture, which, when separated, topples from its own weight. But joined together, it flows through itself, representing the power of connection through art,” explains artist and Brand the Moth Producer Hannah Fairweather.
“At the root of it all, we believe that it is through collaboration that community rises.”
Creating a Bodega-Like Environment
BLKMRKTCLT’s installation in the fifth floor expansion space will conceptualize a New York City bodega, said co-founder Will Jenkins (@simplisticphobia).
“Wesley [BLKMRKTCLT co-owner Dammit Wesley] and I have been mulling over this bodega concept,” said Jenkins. “It’s one of those places where you can get whatever you want. BLKMRKTCLT is like that.”
Jenkins, a digital content creator and creative consultant, will also have his own work on display at Mint Museum Randolph.
Carla Aaron-Lopez (@iamkingcarla), who will share her talents as a multidisciplinary artist, underscores the impact this exhibition has on Charlotte’s culture.
She said it’s events like this, where people of color are represented in nontraditional spaces in the art world, that have helped move the city’s Black culture over the last few years.
“It’s honoring people who haven’t been recognized and the Black art collectives that came before us,” Aaron-Lopez said. “It’s seeing these groups cultivate their own community and collective and add to the story … It’s being influential, not an influencer.”
Details & Opening Celebrations
It Takes a Village runs June 12 through Sept. 12 in the Jones-Dwelle-Belk galleries at Mint Museum Randolph. Collective installations will take place in Mint Museum Uptown’s Level 5 expansion space, culminating with performances hosted by Goodyear Arts during the closing weekend (Sept. 11-12).
Friday, June 11, 6-9 p.m. at Mint Museum Randolph
Pregame with this “adult celebration” featuring artist collectives BLKMRKTCLT, Brand the Moth and Goodyear Arts. Artist and BLKMRKTCLT co-founder DJ Dammit Wesley will be spinning some beats in Jones Gallery with a cash bar on the front terrace.
Saturday, June 12, noon-5 p.m. at Mint Museum Randolph
This family-friendly event will offer food trucks and DJ extraordinaires Fannie Mae and Dammit Wesley. Jen Sudul Edwards will host an informal conversation around 3 p.m. with the artist collective co-founders of BLKMRKTCLT, Brand the Moth and Goodyear Arts.