When Carla Aaron-Lopez began curating the second installment of the Charlotte Local-Street 2022 art series, with Mint Museum chief curator Jennifer Edwards, her goal was to top the first installment in March of last year with 40 artists.
As I listened to her discuss the art series developments, she had just finished an artist’s panel discussion for a film viewing at The Gantt. Her passion is infectious and she knows no strangers. Charlotte is her home and what she wants is for black and brown artists from the area to not only have opportunities to showcase their work but to also have economic ones as well.
“The goal is to show up and show out for the culture” when it comes to the work, Lopez explains. And that she does. Charlotte’s Local-Street at The Mint exceeded expectations. When I asked Aaron-Lopez what is her why, she says “I wanted to give people the opportunities I did not receive [as a beginning] artist.” This year she wanted to push young voices into the forefront.
There is young talent in this city and the surrounding areas. Alex Echevarria, 11, a Belmont middle schooler, and Rajuma Bey, 19, a UNCG visual art student, are just a few examples of the exhibit’s fresh talent showcased at the exhibit’s second installment.
Bey met Aaron-Lopez when his parents rented a space in Camp North End to showcase his work. She was blown away. Bey has three pieces in Local-Street “The Reconstruction of Osiris”, “Two Brothers, One Home” and the “Power of the Mind.” His work examines the African American identity, mythology, and popular cartoons.
And Alex Echevarria’s, a sketch artist and clothing designer, sketchbooks were also on display along with Aaron-Lopez’s son. Echevarria says, “I saw Carla’s work in a show, I got to meet her, and she invited me to visit her [studio] at BLK MRKT. She looked at my sketchbooks and gave me some feedback.”
Looking at his sketchbook and talking with him, he’s quite serious and is not stopping anytime soon; you can see some of his influences like the late Keith Harring. His grandfather is well-renowned artist Juan Logan.
Some of the 60 artists featured included the work of Dammit Wesley, Roni Nicole and Cedric Umoja, Justin Ellis, Anuja Jain, Joanna Henry, and J. Stacey Utley.
Charlotte Local-Street 2022 is a three-day pop-up artist exhibition created to open up spaces in the city that were not available to local black and brown artists and the greater Charlotte areas. The North Carolina Arts Council, The Arts and Science Council, and Charlotte Is Creative non-profit organizations are sponsors of the project.
The Charlotte Local-Street 2022 installment will be showcased until this Sunday, June 26 at the Mint Museum Uptown. You can learn more about the Charlotte Local-Street series at The Mint by following @iamKingCarla on Instagram.