Connect with Culture Day Adventure Guide

By Erin Maddrey

January 22, 2016

If you’re one of those people who constantly talk about how there is nothing to do in Charlotte, mark your calendar for Connect with Culture Day on January 28 and be prepared to change your point of view of the Queen City.

Presented by the Arts and Science Council (ASC), Connect with Culture Day includes more than 20 free cultural experiences that will take place at various times and locations throughout Mecklenburg County. From food and art events, and everything else in between there will be something for everyone.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

The first Connect with Culture Day was in January 2015 and with each year the experiences and opportunities have grown for participants. This year is no exception.

“What’s new this year is the opportunity for residents to engage in more participatory experiences,” said Krista Terrell, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “This includes learning about and playing instruments through the Musical Petting Zoo by the Symphony Guild; creating pottery using a wheel at Clayworks; learning about and creating oil paintings, mixed media, stop animation short film and more from creative individuals that live and work in our community.”

A full schedule of ASC’s Connect with Culture Day activities and participating cultural organizations is available here, but we came up with some recommendations for the day that fit a variety of preferences and show Charlotte as a thriving cultural and creative playground.

*Plan to arrive early for events, as space may be limited and ASC cannot guarantee availability/seating. Some experiences require pre-registration.*

For The Fam (family friendly):

There are numerous opportunities for every member of your family, including the little ones. From story time, to animals, to dance, here are some of our picks.

Musical Petting Zoo with the Symphony Guild

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – ImaginON (300 E. 7th Street)
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Matthews Community Center (100 McDowell Street, Matthews)

Meet members of the symphony and get hands-on experience by being able to learn about their instruments and the music making process. Caution: Do not feed the musicians.

Carolinas Aviation Museum

1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Carolinas Aviation Museum (4672 First Flight Drive)

Located at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the Carolinas Aviation Museum is the premier aviation museum in the Carolinas, with history reaching back to the very birth of aviation. Check out the latest in aircraft design and technology including US Airways Flight 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson.” From Kitty Hawk to space travel, from the glamour of the early days of commercial aviation to the war in Iraq, the museum is perfectly placed to tell the remarkable story of American aviation and the central role of the Carolinas in that story.

Carolinas Aviation Museum. Photo by Jonathan Cooper

Story Time Reading with Ballerina Candace Ricketts

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Independence Regional Library (6000 Conference Drive)

Dress up in your best attire and have a real-life ballerina read her favorite stories to you and the kids.

African Dance Class with the Charlotte Ballet

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – First Baptist Church-West/Family Life Center (1801 Oaklawn Avenue)

Shake your booty, burn some calories all while embracing the beauty of West African dance.

African Dance - Charlotte Ballet - Photo Credit Peter Zay
Photo Credit Peter Zay

Date Options:

Tired of the standard dinner and a movie date with your boo? Why not switch things up by getting cultural before you get romantic.

Self-Guided Garden Tours at Wing Haven

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Wing Haven (248 Ridgewood Avenue)

Take a stroll hand-in-hand with your sweetie through Charlotte’s own secret garden. Bonus points if you bring hot chocolate if it’s chilly outside.

The Levine Center for the Arts Museums 

All day until the museums close – South Tryon Street

Can’t decide where to go on Connect with Culture Day? Make it easy on yourself and head to the Levine Center for the Arts. Home to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and the Mint Museum Uptown, you can hit multiple museums for free.

ASC Studio 345 Experience: Printmaking, Light Writing, Stop Animation Short Film

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Spirit Square (345 N. College Street)

Get crafty with your date and learn to use a Canon DSLR T3 for light painted images in photography and experiment with stop animation film.

Lightwriting - Studio345-2
Lightwriting Studio345 at ASC (345 N. College Street)

Activities for your squad:

Frequenting breweries can sometimes be a fun pastime, but why not switch up your weekend traditions and add a side of culture, crafts, and education to your plans.

Hands-On Art: Model Magic Maquettes, Colorful Keychains, and Watercolor Paintings

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (420 South Tryon Street)

Make fun keychains or paintings for a friend or family member and take in the sights of the Bechtler’s Relaunched and Rediscovered exhibit on the fourth floor.

The Light Factory

12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – 1917 Central Avenue, Charlotte

Explore two hands-on photographic processes in this unique experience. Guests will make a photogram, or a photographic image without a camera in the Light Factory community darkroom. Also, learn about the cyanotype photo process, where you use light sensitized fabric squares to compose a design exposing the fabric to sunlight. The results will be dreamy image that will look beautiful framed in your house.

Crazy Catapults by Discovery Place

2:00 p.m. – 5 p.m. – Free Range Brewing (2320 N. Davidson Street)

Science educators from the Discovery Place will be on hand to teach participants about the art and science behind building a catapult. After you build your catapult, you can test your invention and play catapult cornhole.

Crazy Catapults by
Discovery Place at Free Range Brewing.

Music Lovers:

Toe-tapping, finger snapping music is something that crosses cultural boundaries. It doesn’t matter where you were born, what religion you practice, or what language you speak… melody and rhythm can transcend differences. Here are some great options for all music lovers.

Interactive Performance of JAZZ IS… presented by Jazz Arts Initiative

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Beatties Ford Road Regional Library (2412 Beatties Ford Road)

Join the Jazz Arts Quartet and get to see a performance, including improvisation, from a professional ensemble’s perspective. This event will be a fun and interactive way to learn about Jazz, led by Jazz Arts Initiative Artistic Director, Ocie Davis.

Diggin’ History Through Music and Dance

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School (500 Bilmark Avenue)

Through spoken word, music, and dance, audience members will be treated to a historical retrospective of the struggles and successes of Africans and African Americans as they helped shape our nation.

African Drum Circle presented by Drums4Life

3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Charlotte Museum of History (3500 Shamrock Drive)

A circle has no beginning and no end. Not only will you get to enjoy the sounds of percussion instruments, you’ll be able to participate in the circle. Instruments will be provided and no musical experience is necessary.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

The Tortoise and The Hare presented by Opera Carolina’s Opera Xpress

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Community House Middle School (9500 Community House Road)

We’ve all heard this story of determination before, but now you can hear it with a twist. This musical adaptation of Aesop’s classic fable is reimagined as the slow, yet determined, Tortoise wants to try out for the track team. When she is not accepted to the team, she challenges the Hare to prove she deserves a spot on the team.

Food Lovers Unite:

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 Sampling

1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Charlotte Museum of History (3500 Shamrock Drive)

Want to travel the world through cuisine? Several local restaurants will be on hand to sample delicious food. There will be 10 Charlotte restaurants including Lang Van, La Shish, Mama’s Carribean, Dim Sum, Las Delicias Bakery, Midwood Smokehouse, and more.


Letty’s – Sweet Potato & Black bean vegan chili
Lang Van – Hu Tieu Xao Kho Thap Cam
Portofino’s – Baked Ziti
La Shish Kabob – Hummus & Pita Bread
Midwood Smoke House – BBQ
Three Amigos – Guacamole & Salsa with chips
Las Delicias Bakery – Churro
Dim Sum – Young Chow Fried Rice
Mama’s Caribbean – Jerk Chicken

Samples are free. One sample per person from each table; no repeat table visits

Taste of the World at Charlotte Museum of History (3500 Shamrock Drive) Photo by Jonathan Cooper

*Plan to arrive early, as space may be limited and ASC cannot guarantee availability/seating. Some experiences require pre-registration.*

Check out the full schedule of events for Connect with Culture Day. Have fun and remember to use the hashtag #CultureForAll.

*ASC Charlotte is a proud partner of CLTure*

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