Gantt and McColl Centers Unite to Highlight Culture and Diversity Initiatives

CHARLOTTE, NC.- Through the creation of a shared Creative Director position, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and McColl Center for Visual Art have taken a historic first step to formalize their relationship. This new partnership unifies and amplifies their voices in the community, while strengthening the organizations’ shared-interest in leading diversity and art education initiatives with an emphasis on community engagement with the arts and artists.

“Art has a natural way of bringing people and ideas together,” says Suzanne Fetscher, President and CEO of McColl Center for Visual Art. “We are proud to be partnering with the Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. This alliance is a natural extension of the educational and programming initiatives that we are both doing – showcasing how art and artists can be used as catalysts for social advancement.”

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and McColl Center for Visual Art are forging an agreement that will enhance the strengths of both institutions. Starting on July 1, 2010, Ce Scott, presently Director of Residencies and Exhibitions at McColl Center for Visual Art, will become Creative Director for both arts organizations. Scott will lead this endeavor by solidifying the relationship and immediately launching joint programming. “It is an honor for me to share my creative vision and leadership with both organizations,” said Scott.

“This partnership has extraordinary possibilities,” says David Taylor, President and CEO of Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. “We are living in a global community and arts education is a powerful tool that can foster and promote cultural awareness. Our commitment to working with McColl Center will also allow us to leverage the uniqueness of both organizations, create the Gantt Center ’s artists-in-residence program and enhance our education and outreach programs.”

Both organizations are supported by the Arts & Science Council. “The Arts & Science Council is pleased to see these important cultural organizations collaborating to reach a broader audience and serve the community,” said ASC President Scott Provancher.

Scott has been employed at McColl Center for Visual Art since before its opening a decade ago. She is originally from Detroit , Michigan , and has an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is an artist and educator and has exhibited her work regionally and nationally as well as served on local and national cultural arts boards. She joined Fetscher to launch educational programs at the fledgling artist colony envisioned by CEO of Bank of America, Hugh McColl, Jr.

Since those early days, the Center has grown to become nationally renowned for its artist-in-residence and other program offerings. The Center ranks among the top three artist-in-residence programs in the nation according to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

In October 2009, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-Arts + Culture, named for former Charlotte mayor and business leader Harvey Gantt, opened its new facility at the South Tryon Street Cultural Campus. The Gantt Center has promoted African-American art and its influence on American culture for the past 35 years. They offer a variety of cultural experiences, including visual arts, performance, film, literature and education outreach.

The Gantt Center will welcome their first artist-in-residence, Fahamu Pecou, an Atlanta-based artist whose work seeks to expose stereotypes of African-American masculinity reflected in contemporary media. Pecou will be co-located at the McColl Center for Visual Art this fall.

Another yet-to-be-named Gantt Center artist-in-residence will be selected for McColl Center ’s winter session. Both Pecou and that artist will be featured in a joint exhibition of work created while in residence at McColl Center for Visual Art at the Gantt Center in summer 2011. Both the residencies and exhibitions will be key to education and outreach experiences, including summer children’s camps shared between the organizations.

The organizations have worked together in the past leading up to this formal relationship. Several artists associated with the Gantt Center have been artists-in-residence at McColl Center for Visual Art, including San Francisco artist Willie Little, Chapel Hill’s Juan Logan and Atlanta-based Michael Harris, a professor at Emory University who is presently a curatorial consultant with the Gantt Center . The Gantt Center and McColl Center for Visual Art are also investigating the possibility of developing an artists-in-residence international exchange program to promote African outreach efforts.

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