Arts & Science Council

Connect with Culture Days: Hours of free fun at 13 ‘culture hubs’

Free access to arts, science, and history experiences will take place Jan. 25-26 at community spaces across Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Residents can experience multiple events at venues close to home. Advance registration required for some activities.

2017 African Dance Class by Charlotte Ballet. On Jan. 26, this Connect with Culture Days activity will take place in the East Charlotte area. An Afro-Caribbean dance class will take place at a Pineville venue. Other cultural dance workshops are on tap in multiple areas. (Photo by Jon Strayhorn)

ASC’s popular Connect with Culture Days returns for its fifth year with a weekend of nearly 80 free arts, science, and history experiences at neighborhood venues across Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This year’s event connects with ASC’s 60th anniversary.

“Everyone deserves to experience arts and culture regardless of where they live or what they can afford,” said ASC President Robert Bush. “Connect with Culture Days brings a sampling of our vibrant cultural community beyond Charlotte’s Center City and directly into neighborhoods.”

With the launch this year of “arts and cultural hubs,” ASC is making it easier for residents to experience diverse events in one place. On Saturday, community spaces in 13 areas around Mecklenburg — from Davidson to Ballantyne — will open their doors to a spectrum of experiences ranging from dance workshops and theater performances to STEM/STEAM-focused activities and hands-on visual art programs.

The fun kicks off Friday night with five events at venues around Charlotte (see list below). Arrive early, as space may be limited and ASC cannot guarantee seating. Some experiences, such as poetry slam workshops and tickets to theater productions, require advance registration, which is now open.

2015 African Drum Circle. On Jan. 26, this Connect with Culture Days activity will take place in the West Charlotte area.

Here is a sampling of Saturday events at cultural hubs; check out the full schedule.

EAST CHARLOTTE: Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Drive
Experiences for all ages: Free tours of the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, Latin Jazz Experience El Ritmo, a Taste of the World culinary journey, performance excerpt from Sweet Jenn, Food from Home with local historian Tom Hanchett, West African dance class by Charlotte Ballet, a journey through 25 years of Queen City history, and a swing jazz performance by the Mark Larson Combo. For ages 5-17, a robot-programming STEM event presented by Digi-Bridge.
NEARBY: The Light Factory (1817 Central Ave.) in collaboration with Opera Carolina presents Voices from the Photo League for all ages. Discover the fun of clay and wheel-throwing at Clayworks, 4506 Monroe Road (18 years and older — registration required).

NORTHWEST CHARLOTTE: Northwest School of the Arts, 1415 Beatties Ford Road
Experiences for all ages:  Story Time with a Ballerina by Charlotte Ballet, a music performance by the Charlotte Symphony Prelude Ensemble, Number Drummer — an  interactive math and music experience, the wonders of the universe with Discovery Place Science, and Be A Lion (The Musical) by BNS Productions. For adults, Two Trains Running, an August Wilson play, presented by BNS Productions.

STEELE CREEK: Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church – Gym, 9401 S. Tryon St.
Experiences for all ages:  Story Time with a Ballerina by Charlotte Ballet, Lego WeDo 2.0 — robot-building and programming with Digi-Bridge, a performance by Jazz Arts Initiative, Indian classical and folk dances presented by Dr. Maha Gingrich and company, and Recuérdame — an Acrobatic/Circus piece honoring Latin American traditions presented by The Nouveau Sud Project.

Digi-Bridge will host robot-building and programming events in several areas: Ballantyne, Cornelius, East Charlotte, Steele Creek.

WEST CHARLOTTE: Barringer Academic Center, 1546 Walton Road
Experiences for all ages: African Drum Circle presented by Drums 4 Life, Repertory Dance & Cirque Works by Caroline Calouche & Co.,  The Healing Force by Tosco Music, Story Time with a Ballerina by Charlotte Ballet. NEARBY: The Carolinas Aviation Museum (4672 First Flight Drive) invites children ages 5-8 to engage in hands-on STEAM experiences with Little Aviators. Registration is required.

Also on Saturday, enjoy free admission to Center City museums, including Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts.

Purple Charlotte Steppers will host dance classes on Friday and Saturday in the North End area.

Friday night kickoff events:

Dance Workshop with Purple Charlotte Steppers:  6:30-7:30 p.m., Camp North End, 1824 Statesville Ave.
Coding on Canvas with Discovery Place | Ukulele Sip & Strum with Arts+:  6:30-8:30 p.m., Resident Culture Brewing, 2101 Central Ave.
Live Music & Musical Petting Zoo with Girls Rock: 7:30-8:30 p.m., 10 Park Lanes, 1700 Montford Drive
Beer Choir with Carolina Voices | Pop-up Dance Performances by Baran Dance | “Friendge” Interactive Art Project with Andrea Vail: 7-9 p.m., 7th Street Public Market, 224 E. 7th St.
Every Brilliant Thing with Three Bone Theatre | Live Music with Jazz Arts Initiative:  7-8 p.m | 8:15-10 p.m., Town Brewing Company, 800 Grandin Road

Browse the full schedule of Connect with Culture Days events, Jan. 25-26.

About Connect with Culture Days
The first Connect with Culture Day took place Jan. 10, 2015. The second Connect with Culture Day took place Sept. 19, 2015, as part of ASC’s Cultural Free For All, a three-day cultural event that included Charlotte Symphony’s first Symphony on Tap performance and ASC’s first Culture Feast. Last year’s Connect with Culture Days, on Jan. 26-27, 2018, saw more than 11,000 people participate.

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