Creative Crossroads: Uptown's new arts venues | CLT Blog
NC Dance Theater

Creative Crossroads: Uptown’s new arts venues

Posted on 28 Jun 2009 by James Willamor

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

This is the second in a series titled “Creative Crossroads” — where we take a look at the current state of arts and creativity in the city.

Next year looks to be the biggest for arts in Uptown since the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center first opened its doors in November of 1992. No less than five new arts venues are set to open to the public in 2010, with the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art recently announcing its grand opening will be on January 2nd. The opening of the venues — the Knight Theater, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Mint Museum, the Afro-American Cultural Center, and the NC Dance Theater –  marks an important crossroads for growth of Charlotte’s arts community.

A rundown of the projects and photos showing construction progress after the page break:

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art recently announced it will open to the public on January 2nd, 2010. The museum, with its impressive terra cotta tiled exterior and giant cantilever, was designed by renowned architect Mario Botta. Botta also designed the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Bechtler collection includes many European and American mid-Twentieth Century artists, including Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jean Tinguely, Le Corbusier, Alberto Giacometti, and many others.

Mint Museum:
Mint Museum

photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

The expansion of the Mint Museum will increase their total combined square footage by 60 percent. The new facility will also feature a museum gift shop with 50 percent more space, a café with indoor and outdoor terrace dining, a grand room for rent and special events. In addition, the new museum will feature a special events space with rooftop terrace that is twice the size of that currently available at the North Tryon Street facility. The museum plans to open in Fall of 2010.

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture:
Harvey B. Gantt Afro-American Cultural Center

photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

The new 44,000 square foot Afro-American Cultural Center will feature three state-of-the-art galleries, classrooms, presentation spaces and a multi-purpose theater/lecture hall facility. The center was built atop the entrance ramp on College Street which leads to the six underground levels of the Duke Energy Center. The side of the building facing the surface parking lot was intentionally left blank in anticipation that the lot will one day be redeveloped. The African American Cultural Center is currently located in the historic Little Rock AME Zion Church in First Ward.

Knight Theater:
Knight Theater

photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

In addition to being the primary venue for the NC Dance Theater, the new Knight Theater will host Opera Carolina and the Charlotte Symphony. It will also host musical theater, concerts, tours, lectures, and film. With 1,150 seats on two levels, the Knight Theater will fit in between the 434 seat Booth Playhouse, and the 2,100 seat Belk Theater. The theater is scheduled to open in January of 2010.

NC Dance Theater:
NC Dance Theater rendering

rendering: NC Dance Theater; view this rendering on their website

NC Dance Theater

photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

The new NC Dance Theater facility will be located on North Tryon Street next to the McColl Center for Visual Arts. The building will have six rehearsal studios, three of which will overlook Tryon Street. The facility will also have offices, a costume shop, and dressing rooms. The main performance venue for the NC Dance Theater will be the Knight Theater. The facility is set to open in Spring of 2010.

The following sideshow is a chronological tour of the construction progress of these arts projects:

photos: James Willamor; view this slideshow on Flickr


  1. Carl Fuerstman 28 Jun 2009 at 12:03 PM

    I spent my first 25 years growing up in Charlotte. On Saturday mornings I us to take the “4 Country Club” bus from Seneca Place to the “Square”. My early memories is the old Home Federal Building being torn down and replaced with what is now called the Trust. Things moved along at a snails pace back then but I still went to Tanners, Mr High Style, Brownlee Jewelers and checked out anything that looked like something new would be built.
    I now live out my fantasies vicariously through your talented eyes and I just wanted to let you know that this exported ex Charlottean truly appreciates the efforts you put into showing off Charlotte in such a promising way.
    I surely hope that my music reaches folks in the same way that your photography reaches me. Thanks again.

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