Seeking & Finding Creative Inspiration in Charlotte

Spaces in the Queen City to get your creative juices flowing

As creatives, our minds are constantly spinning ideas around, vitally in need of continuous inspiration and to be a part of something we are passionate about. If we keep our eyes open and know where to look, Charlotte provides us with plenty of inspiration. As one of the fast-growing cities, buildings are being torn down and built up at an extremely rapid pace, which can make knowing where to look more difficult. To help, I’ll share some of my favorite places to find inspiration in the Queen City, places proven to be vaults of artistic currency for myself and the other creatives here at AC&M Group.

When people hear “Charlotte” the first thing that comes to their mind might not be “Creative Arts”. The traditional power houses, NYC, LA, Seattle, and Austin seem to hold those titles, but if living in Charlotte for 8+ years has taught me one thing it’s if you dig deep enough here you will almost always find what you are looking for.

So, let’s start in uptown:

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Levine Center for the Arts, located off of Tryon St. in Uptown Charlotte, is the foundation for fine arts in the city. Walking down the street you encounter various cultural institutions all in one area including the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the Knight Theater (performing arts), and the Mint Art Museum Uptown. Most high-profile and international exhibits come through these museums and they are financially partnered with big names like Bank of America and Wells-Fargo.

McColl Center for Art + Innovation
McColl Center for Art + Innovation

Grassroots art has been flourishing in uptown with the nationally acclaimed McColl Center for Art + Innovation, located in a once abandoned church, and the recent creation of the Goodyear Art Center. Both providing studio, gallery space and a healthy community for artists to work and thrive. They also host numerous exhibits and allow the public a glimpse into artist’s studios as they work.

Expanding out from Uptown, the most notable artistic neighborhoods are Plaza Midwood and Noda, each with their own amazing street art, galleries, and studios. One unique venue is Twenty-Two in Plaza Midwood, a bar and gallery with monthly rotating exhibits featuring local and national artists.

Twenty-Two
Twenty-Two

Businesses like The Common Market create open communal areas for people of diverse backgrounds to meet and share ideas. Having these social locations where artists can meet and gather is vital for artistic innovation. They generate the perfect atmosphere for artists to inspire each other and continue to create masterpieces.

Art in the Queen City would not be complete without adding in the beautiful colors brought by multicultural artists. Latin American Contemporary Art (LaCa) just outside uptown is a great place to admire such art. LaCa strives to make a connection between Latin American artists and the growing art scene in the city. When visiting LaCa you can expect to find unique exhibitions from various artists that you will more than likely not find anywhere else.

Lastly, one art form that seems to be rapidly growing in our city is Street Art. Although murals and graffiti in Charlotte are not world famous, there are still some amazing pieces placed around the city. The upside to Street Art is it is free to admire, the downside is you never know how long it or the building it is on will last.

Though Charlotte may not be an art hub like other cities, if you take the time to look around there’s no denying there’s inspiration all around waiting for you. Art and culture intertwine in various capacities throughout the Queen City, ranging from museums to wall murals on distinct buildings and even local cafes. No matter where you’re searching, you can find something that speaks to you, inspires you or gets your creative juices flowing.

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Photo credits: Matt Dees @mattydees27

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