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Arts: The Vault is Open at the Mint Uptown
Private collections of Black Charlotteans shine as the Mint Museum kicks off the "Year of the Collector"
On July 1, the Mint Museum Uptown opened "The Vault” in its special exhibition galleries.
Curated by artist Jessica Gaynelle Moss, the exhibit kicks off the Mint’s “Year of the Collector,” a series featuring the private collections of local Charlotteans. Both “The Vault” and the series as a whole are a continuation of the Mint’s mission to provide diverse cultural perspectives to Charlotte audiences.
“The Vault” kicks off the “Year of the Collector” with pieces from the homes of four families, all of them Black collectors local to Charlotte. The offerings evoke both the institutional and the esoteric.
Judy & Patrick Diamond and Christy & Quincy Lee have focused their home collections on paintings, sculpture, and prints. Pieces like 2019’s “Water” by J. Stacy Utley — a sprawling mixed media meditation on the relationship of water to African American culture — are the sort of museum selections that feel familiar in the gallery space and make up much of these two collections.
The bulk of Nina & James Jackson’s collection, however, is made up of more than 50 Black Santa Claus dolls and figures. Curated as a living room Christmas decoration, the display is full of detail and variety. Audiences are sure to be glued to the barrier between them and the collection to get as close as possible to the intimate presentation.
Cheryse & Christopher Terry, owners of Archive CLT on Beatties Ford Road, are collectors of an even wider variety of Black cultural ephemera including hundreds of vintage magazines, a Malcolm X vinyl record, and a quarter panel from Bubba Wallace’s stock car to name just a few of the pieces. Cheryse Terry expressed that, prior to interest from the Mint, she did not realize she was amassing a collection that others would find precious. A Charlotte native, she is excited to be a part of the exhibition. “I used to go on field trips here when I was a kid,” she said, gesturing to the room.
As the curator of “The Vault,” Moss focused on Black collectors of Black art.
“From research to acquisition, these collectors are diligent about building relationships with artists over time, uplifting the narratives of the historically excluded, and utilizing their capital to effectively shift the market for Black artists to thrive.”
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With the variety present in this show, Moss also seeks to expand the notion of the collector in the world of fine art. “We are democratizing the collection,” she said.
In addition to works from the four private collections, artworks from the Mint’s collection are also on display, including works by Charles Alston, Elizabeth Catlett, and Romare Bearden.
“The Vault” is on display from July 1 through September 17, with special events throughout. Admission to the Mint Uptown will be free July 15-16 for the opening celebration weekend. Access to “The Vault” is included with a general admission ticket to the Mint.