Gantt Center to celebrate 50 years with new programming and events


The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will celebrate its 50th year with a year-long special programming plan in 2024.

The Gantt Golden Year will feature a series of performances, panel discussions, workshops and exhibitions, among other community events.

The Gantt Center, originally the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Afro-American Cultural Center, was established in 1974 as a way to preserve the city’s Black culture in light of urban renewal in Uptown Charlotte. It was renamed after Charlotte’s first Black mayor, Harvey B. Gantt, in 2009.

Since its inception, It has served as a space for Black creatives to connect and showcase their work.

 “In the spirit of our mission and in honor of our founders’ vision, celebrating this landmark year will ignite community engagement while trumpeting the contributions of the Gantt to the arts and cultural landscape of the Charlotte region,” David Taylor, President and CEO of the Gantt Center, said in a statement.

All of the 2024 programming will be centered around one of the Gantt’s five arts and cultural pillars: dance, afro-culinary foodways, literary talks and community forums, art exhibitions and music.

Special programming for each pillar is listed below:

Dance

The Gantt, along with Blumenthal Performing Arts, will present the world’s first Black classical ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, on Feb. 9 and 10.  The festivities will include a gala prior to the Feb. 10 evening performance. 

The Gantt will also offer a dance education series, led by local dance instructors and dance organizations, that will be available for K-12 and college students. 

Afro-culinary foodways

Food writer Stephen Satterfield will serve as the center’s 2024 Scholar-in-Residence.

Satterfield is best known for hosting the award-winning docuseries High on the Hog on Netflix. In the show, he travels the world tracing the origins of African-American cuisine.

In his role with the Gantt, Satterfield will curate three farm-to-table community dinners in March, May and October. 

He will partner with regional Black farmers, local restauranteurs, and caterers, to create unique dishes alongside regional chefs, such as Brian and Subrina Collier of the BayHaven Food Festival.

Literary talks and community forums

The Gantt will feature several events highlighting renowned Black authors.

The Gantt will launch The Big Read, a community-wide reading program where people read a specific book featured in Gantt Center programming.

The inaugural community-wide read will be Homegoing, one of Oprah’s Best Books of the Year, written by Ghanaian-American author Yaa Gyasi. 

The kick-off celebration, held on February 23, will feature the Kankouran West African Dance Company and the distribution of books. 

Gyasi will also lead a discussion on her novel.

There will also be a 1619 Project public talk featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones on July 11.

Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project is an initiative Hannah-Jones leads with the New York Times and New York Times Magazine to illuminate the impacts of slavery in the United States and highlight Black people’s contributions to the country. 

Hannah-Jones will host a public talk discussing the impact of the work.

It is also an Emmy-nominated, award-nominated six-part Hulu docuseries.

Exhibitions

The Gantt Center will showcase the work of a number of Black artists from the region and around the globe.

Each exhibition through 2024 will include celebratory opening and closing events, artist visits and talks, student tours and panel discussions with national and local artists, curators and art enthusiasts.

Notable exhibitions include the John & Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art and the installation of “Let The Mermaids Flirt With Meby Christopher Myers, which was featured at Art Basel in Miami, FL.

Music

The Gantt Center plans to incorporate more music into its programming under the direction of award-winning gospel and soul musician Dennis Reed.

Reed will be the Gantt’s Musical Artist-in-Residence and will curate a series of music experiences over the next year.

Major events include a Juneteenth concert at Knight Theater and a concert series featuring local and national artists. These events will be paired with pre-concert conversations and special dining experiences.  

The center will also offer classes and panel discussions with world-renowned musicians and creative professionals.

For a full list of programming and dates, visit the Gantt Center’s website.



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