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On Display: Gantt opens 4 new exhibits showcasing African-American art

CEO David Taylor says the Gantt’s newest series is the most exciting yet.

"Simple Passion, Complex Vision: The Darryl Atwell Collection of African-American Art" is one of four exhibits opening this weekend at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.


Art lovers take note. The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is debuting a new series this weekend themed Moments. Memories. Masterpieces.

Showcasing noted collectors who are preserving African-American art, the Gantt’s newest season will consist of exhibitions displaying contemporary collections, figurative and abstract paintings and mixed-media sculptures.

A drop-in event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. to unveil the first four exhibitions. The community is invited to explore the extensive private collections of Darryl Atwell and John and Vivian Hewitt, along with the works of North Carolina natives Miya Bailey and Sloane Siobhan of Charlotte. The daylong event will consist of docent-led tours, art-making workshops and a conversation with curator Michael D. Harris and Vivian Hewitt, one of the Qcity’s highly noted art collectors.

Gantt Center President and CEO David Taylor said this season promises to be one of the most exciting yet.

“We are launching a new series of exhibitions featuring prominent private art collections assembled by African Americans,” he said. “The opportunity to introduce Darryl Atwell’s collection to the world right there in Charlotte is both a privilege and an honor for the Gantt Center. Darryl’s commitment to ensuring the preservation of African-American art is a key driver of his passion for collecting master artists such as Sam Gilliam and emerging artists just launching their careers.”

About the artists and exhibitions:

Simple Passion, Complex Vision: The Darryl Atwell Collection of African-American Art – Atwell’s collection is one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art. In the past decade, he, who lives in Washington, D.C., has amassed an impressive collection that reflects his personal tastes with a focus on younger, contemporary artists with an array of sculpture, large paintings and unusual media expressions by rising stars. Featured artists include Nina Chanel Abney, Radcliffe Bailey, Kevin Beasley, Chakaia Booker and Zoe Carlton among others.  (More)

“Folding Sheets” by Jonathan Green is one of several works by master artists featured in the “Instill & inspire: Selections from the John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art” opening this weekend at The Gantt Center.

Instill & Inspire: Selections from the John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art – For more than 50 years, the Hewitts visited galleries, artist studios and exhibitions collecting hundreds of paintings, etchings and sketches. This exhibition, featuring one of the most comprehensive collections of African-American art in the nation, features works by Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden and other master artists including Margaret Burroughs, Jonathan Green, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Ann Tanksley and Henry Ossawa Tanner. (More)

Immortal: A new Series by Miya Bailey – Through his paintings, Bailey explores his personal memories of happiness and pain. Memories, visions and dreams are part of the human experience and are kept immortal by writers, filmmakers, and visual artists alike. As Elie Wiesel once said, “Without memory, there is no culture… there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”  In this series, created specifically for the Gantt Center, Bailey explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts. (More)

Sloane Siobhan: Archetypes of the Subconscious – Siobhan, a Qcity native who attended Northwest School of the Arts and studied art at Appalachian State University, explores notions of growth, loss and the inner battle of the mind, spirit and heart. Her raw emotions follow the loss of her mother in November 2016 and serve as the conduit for her artful expression of love, heartbreak, remembrance and grief. Siobhan characterizes these emotions and thoughts with power animals, such as pandas, tigers and grizzly bears combined with antagonists like bees for example. Her visual works invite the viewer to go beyond aesthetics into the embodiment of emotion that is so raw, it is often too complex to express with words. (More)

In pieces such as this one titled “Overthinking,” Charlotte-based artist Sloan Siobhan combines stunning power animals such as grizzly bears with honeybees in her works to portray raw emotion and the inner battle of the mind, spirit and heart.

General admission to Saturday’s community opening is $5. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at GanttCenter.org. Click here for more information.

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