City considers funding priceless traveling art exhibition at Mint Museum


CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County officials are thinking about contributing half a million dollars to bring priceless art to the Queen City.

A traveling Picasso Exhibition has chosen the Mint Museum Uptown as one of its three stops in the entire United States. The temporary exhibit will cost a pretty penny, but leaders in the art community think it will be worth it.

The Picasso Exhibition will debut with 80 original paintings in the Spring of 2023. Staff from the Mint Museum said it will be an amazing opportunity for Charlotte to showcase its thriving art scene on a global stage.

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Before the city agrees to dish out at least $250,000 towards the exhibit, council members have questions.

“I’d just like to understand, what’s the return on investment from the public?” asked Councilmember Victoria Watlington in Monday’s City Council meeting.

With additional tax payer money, representatives from the Mint say they would be able to have a number of free admission days, make the exhibition free for children under a certain age, and free for CMS art teachers.

“It just makes sense that a traditional but one of the most innovative groundbreaking artists Pablo Picasso would find a home here at the Mint. It’s just exposing the Charlotte community to all of the weird and innovative directions you can go in art that then leads to real creative thinking and industry,” said Dr. Jen Suduel Edwards, Chief Curator of Contemporary Art Mint Museum.

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Bree Stallings, Art Director for the Van Gogh Experience in Camp North End, said Charlotte’s art scene has changed a ton since she was a kid growing up here.

“We have this identity is like a banking city and like old money, but I definitely think that identity shifting to it becoming more of a creative city that we have a lot of talent here in Charlotte, so I’m just working to create as many opportunities it’s possible to put the talent on deck,” said Stallings.

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Stallings thinks the return on investment for art exhibitions is huge. The Van Gogh Experience has sold over 250,000 tickets, which brought in more than $10 million.

“It’s not just monetary, it’s cultural, right? And so it’s we’re trying to plant these seeds, so that in five, ten years, this becomes identity of Charlotte, and it makes a better reason to live here,” said Stallings.

The Council discussed the funding in Monday’s meeting but has yet to vote.

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