By Matt Cosper
January 21, 2019
As winter drags on, it’s easy to double down on hibernation mode. But you must trust us when we say that this is not the play to make over the weekend of January 25 and 26. These days will mark the return of the Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Arts and Science Council’s programming bonanza known as Connect with Culture Days. Each year, the ASC invites the local citizenry to get up from the couch, turn off the TV and get back into the wider world. Connect with Culture Days spans across the region, with just shy of 80 experiences and events to choose from. These events are free of charge and they represent a pretty comprehensive cross section of local culture and the diversity of our community. And, although the arts are generously represented, science and history are getting into the act with events at museums and historic landmarks, too. During Connect With Culture Days there are no excuses for missing out on something fun. To make it even simpler, we’ve hand picked a handful of events that we think are certain to delight.
For The Family (family friendly):
Story Time with a Ballerina at Camino Community Center
4-7 years old
Saturday, January 26 from 2:15 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Camino Community Center – 201 Stetson Dr, Charlotte, NC 28262
Bring your young book worms to encounter books that will hopefully set the stage for a lifelong love of reading. Ballerinas from Charlotte Ballet will be on hand to read their favorite children’s stories to the kids. An added bit of fun: Kids (of all ages) are encouraged to show up in costume!
West African Dance Class at Charlotte Museum of History
Saturday, January 26 from 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
West African Dance is a gorgeous tradition of deep rhythm expressed through music and movement. Charlotte Ballet presents this workshop featuring Teaching Artist Javonne Spearman, originally from Liberia West Africa. Dancers will be led through a series of movements with origins in traditional dance. This workshop and sharing are open to students of all ages. No previous experience is required.
Be A Lion at Northwest School of the Arts
Saturday, January 26 from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
NS Productions has made a big splash on the local theatre scene in a relatively short period of time. Award winning musical Be A Lion is the show that put them on the map with it’s original take on what happens in the aftermath of The Wizard of Oz. Song, dance and story are a combination that is hard to beat for an afternoon with the family.
Solar System Spectacular at Northwest School of the Arts
Saturday, January 26 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Enter the Starlab and experience our vast and wonderful universe. Learning about the sun, planets, asteroids and moons of our solar system will be a mind blowing experience for the whole family. This experience will take place in the gym at Northwest School of the Arts.
ELECTRICITY! at Sam Lerner Center at Foundation of Shalom Park
Saturday, January 26 from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Red Herring Puppets illustrate how the discovery of Earth’s invisible magnetic force and static electricity led to humanity’s harnessing of electromagnetic energy. Historical figures and famous scientists are portrayed by puppets in this show that teaches how careful application of the scientific process led to the invention of the compass, the lightning rod, the battery, the motor, and the electric light bulb.
Accordion Bookmaking at Pineville Elementary School
Saturday, January 26 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Participants will cycle through various stations moving through the steps required to create a book. A variety of skills will be employed in the process to create one-of-a-kind, handmade books to take home at the end of the workshop.
STEAM Experiences | Guest Speaker Community Event at Carolinas Aviation Museum
5-8 years old
Saturday, January 26 – from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Little Aviators 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Full STEAM Ahead 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. | Guest Speaker Community Event 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
Location: Carolinas Aviation Museum (4672 First Flight Drive, Charlotte 28208)
Little Aviators (Pre-K-K students) is a hands on experience for little ones focusing on different types of airplanes in activities designed to improve coordination and fine motor skills.
Full STEAM Ahead (1st-3rd) lets students use LEGOs and air power (guided by Bernoulli’s principle) to build and race cars in an aerodynamic challenge.
Guest speaker former flight attendant Lynda Bouchard turned her adventurous spirit and thirst for travel into a twenty year career in aviation, flying for Piedmont Airlines / US Airways.
Self-Guided Experiences inspired by Judy Moody & Stink – The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure at ImagineOn
Saturday, January 26 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Book walk, Scavenger hunt, pirate-themed activities)| 10:30 a.m. (Family Story time – ages 0-5) | 2 p.m. (Story Explores – Blackbeard the Pirate – ages 5-11)
Location: ImaginOn (300 E. 7th Street, Charlotte 28202)
Children’s Theatre has crafted a suite of activities for different age groups based on their play Judy Moody & Stink – The Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt! Activities include a scavenger hunt, a family storytime anda deep dive into the life and times of Blackbeard the pirate, who was the scourge of North Carolina’s coasts in the early 18th century.
Neighborhood Dreams, Drop-In Collage Activity, Community Coloring, Guided Tours and Community Quilt at Harvey B. Gantt Center
Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Free Admission, Drop-In Collage Activity, Community Coloring)
Neighborhood Dreams: This version of the traditional story circle, participants are encouraged to create an art piece reflecting their hopes and dreams for the future of their neighborhood. Collected digitally, the stories gathered will be shared with local agencies. This activity will take place in the Multipurpose room.
Drop-In Collage Activity: Participants are invited to create collages of text, images and ideas, representing the things they want for the city of Charlotte. This activity will take place in the Harper-Roddey Grand Lobby.
Community Coloring: Little ones are able to wish Charlotte a happy 250th Birthday by coloring the city the way they see it. This activity will take place in the 3rd floor Mezzanine.
Community Quilt: Participants will create panels showing (through text, drawing or painting) their communities: both the present reality and the hoped for future. Once completed the pieces will interlock, creating large quilt.
Beer Choir with Carolina Voices | Pop-up Dance Performances by Baran Dance | “Friendge” Interactive Art Project with Andrea Vail at 7th Street Public Market
*Friday, January 25 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
In addition to enjoying the sounds of Beer Choir with Carolina Voices and pop up performances by Baran Dance, attendees are able to participate and contribute to Andrea Vail’s “Friendge” project. Participants will learn to make tassels which will be added to a larger piece of art encouraging inclusivity and community connection. Follow the project on social with #makinfriendge.
Muddy Fun at Clayworks
18 years and older
Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. + 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Location: Clayworks (4506 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28205)
Registration instructions: If you do not have a Clayworks account, click the “X” in the top-right corner of the login popup. Then complete the registration form. You do not have to login in order to register.
Be sure to register for this event as it is sure to fill up quick. This event is what sounds like. You and your partner can get your hands dirty creating pottery with the craftspeople of Clayworks.
Free Admission at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Bechtler will be offering tours and hands-on art making activities. The Bechtler’s permanent collection is a gift for lovers of the bold images and experimentation of 20th century modernist painting. The current show, Bechtler Unseen, focuses on works from the 1950’s and 60’s. Strolling leisurely through a museum and discussing the work on display is a wonderful way to show your partner the way you see the world.
Free Admission and Tours of the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite at Charlotte Museum of History
Saturday, January 26 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Visit the Revolutionary War-era home of Hezekiah Alexander, the oldest surviving structure in Mecklenburg County, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Alexander homesite is a portal into the past, into a simpler time before Charlotte was really Charlotte. The site is overflowing with historical information to be sure, but it’s the time traveling trippiness of the whole thing that will make this a date to remember.
Free Admission to Levine Museum of the New South
Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: Levine Museum of the New South (200 E. 7th Street, Charlotte 28202)
Be sure to visit the Levine’s permanent exhibit “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers,” a walking timeline of Charlotte’s history since the Civil War. In the upstairs gallery are several excellent exhibits including “K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace,” “Through The Lens” and “Colorism”. The Levine Museum is a real point of pride for the city. It’s exhibits are thoughtful and even handed, illuminating the good, the bad and the ugly of our fair city, and the larger landscape of the southeast.
Public Art Walking Tour presented by ASC
Saturday, January 26 from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. | 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: Tours will begin in the lobby of the Carillon building at 227 W. Trade Street and end at Romare Bearden Park
*Registration Required. First come, first served.
Charlotte’s urban core has some magnificent public art, including the iconic “Sculptures on the Square” at Trade and Tryon and the signature creation “Spiral Odyssey” at Romare Bearden Park. This walking tour is an opportunity for ASC staff to fill you in on the stories behind these works and others.
Free Admission & Tours at Historic Rosedale Plantation
Saturday, January 26 from 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Grounds) | 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m. (House Tours)
Location: Historic Rosedale Plantation (3427 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28206)
Explore the beautifully restored 200 year-old home and see trained blacksmiths demonstrating metal craftsmanship in reconstructed historic blacksmith shop throughout the day. Be sure to stroll through the gardens at leisure.
Latin Dance Class at Nations Ford Road Elementary School
Saturday, January 26 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Teaching artist Lorraine Crittendon of Charlotte Ballet, will be leading a fun filled Latin dance class appropriate for all ages. Participants will explore Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue, dance styles born in the Caribbean, steeped in the rhythms of Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Coding on Canvas with Discovery Place | Ukulele Sip & Strum with Arts+ at Resident Culture Brewing
*Friday, January 25 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Two events will be going down at Resident Culture. Discovery Place is responsible for Coding on Canvas, an activity station where participants will use robots to paint pictures that they can then take home with them. Arts+ is putting on Sip & Strum, a ukulele Jam. There will be a brief introductory session before participants let it rip and rock out on their ukes deep into the night. Kids are welcome to participate and folks can even vote on what songs get played next!
Every Brilliant Thing with Three Bone Theatre | Live Music with Jazz Arts Initiative at Town Brewing Company
*Friday, January 25 from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m | 8:15 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Location: Town Brewing Company (800 Grandin Road, Charlotte 28208)
Tania Kelly, one of our best local actresses, stars in this one woman show acclaimed for its humor, candor and heart. That this is a collaboration with Jazz Arts Initiative adds yet another layer to an already compelling proposition. Do not miss this!
Music Performance presented by Mariachi Gavilanes Gabriel at Camino Community Center
Saturday, January 26 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Camino Community Center – 201 Stetson Dr, Charlotte, NC 28262
Mariachi has evolved over time since it emerged as a style of music in the rural villages of 18th century Mexico. Much more than a musical genre, Mariachi is a way of living, an expression of a cultural revolution rolling through the history of Mexico.
El Ritmo! with Dapper Street Productions – Charlotte Museum of History
Saturday, January 26 from 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Ricardo Ortega and Sonbocha’; present El Ritmo, The Latin Jazz Experience. A full hour of Latin, Salsa and Afro Cuban music, the rhythms are infectious, soaked with through with longing and love. Bandleader Ricardo Ortega, has put El Ritmo together to share this beautiful music in a brand new way.
Jamming Through the African Diaspora presented by A Sign of the Times at Sam Lerner Center
Saturday, January 26 from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: 5007 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28270
A Sign of the Times will share stories of the real people of the African Diaspora through music, poetry and dance. An hour of fun that shares knowledge to lift up culture. You’ll leave with a smile on your face and love in your heart.
Culture and cuisine go hand in hand. Put on your stretchy pants and prepare to take a culinary tour around the world.
Taste of the World at Charlotte Museum of History
Saturday, January 26 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
A globe trotting adventure through the cuisines of a whole host of countries, cultures and traditions. This program promises samples of food from Asia, Africa and The Middle East, as well as from locales a little closer to home including the Caribbean and the American South. Vegetarian options available. Our favorites might be:
- Lang Van
- Letty’s for vegetarian option
- La Shish Kabob
Food from Home presented by Dr. Tom Hanchett at Charlotte Museum of History
Saturday, January 26 from 1:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Enjoy an interactive slide talk exploring food traditions in our city – both longtime Southern favorites and new dishes arriving with newcomers from across the U.S. and around the world. Charlotte’s rock star historian, Tom Hanchett, has made a mission of celebrating the food scene in Charlotte, especially the cuisine of our diverse immigrant communities. This interactive slideshow and talk is a not to be missed encounter with a gifted raconteur.
Check out the full schedule of events for Connect with Culture Days January 25 + 26.