America I Am, Other Exhibits Converge on Charlotte for DNC

Categories: Blog, Cultural Partners

By Karin Reed, Arts & Science Council

As Charlotte welcomes thousands of delegates and media from around the world for the Democratic National Convention, the museums at the city’s Levine Center for the Arts are showing major national exhibits. Largest among them is Tavis Smiley’s America I Am: The African-American Imprint at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

America I AM is making its eighth stop at the Gantt Center.

This vast exhibition is divided into 12 galleries and covers more than 10,000 sq. ft. Based on the question, posed by W.E.B. DuBois, “Would America have been America without her Negro people?”, the exhibit takes you on journey through the last 500 years and highlights the African American impact on culture, religion, and politics.

America I AM begins with the Africans voyage to North America. Displayed on the wall is another W.E.B. DuBois quote that reads “Before the pilgrims landed we were here.”  Neon footsteps lead you into the first gallery which features dungeon doors from Cape Coast Castle also known as the “Doors of No Return.”  African contributions to the Americas such as instruments, spices, and traditional celebration are highlighted as well as what life was like in America for Africans.

The second floor of the Center features significant events in American history like the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, World Wars I and II as well as the Civil Rights movement. It also emphasizes effectual African Americans and their contributions to the time period. More than 200 artifacts and relics are on display including Fredrick Douglas’ proof of freedom, Rosa Parks’ arrest report, and the key to a jail cell that detained Martin Luther King, Jr.  America I AM also features memorabilia from present day African American idols like Serena Williams, Prince, and Michael Jordan.

While touring America I AM you will learn about African heritage and the African American impact in a unique way. This exhibition is visually interesting and entertaining, and a great educational experience.

To learn more about America I AM visit More information about the Harvey B. Gantt Center can be found at

Mint Museum Uptown 

The Mint Museum Uptown features two major exhibits for convention goers. The pin collection of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the artwork of Thorton Dial take center stage.

During her career in public service, Madeleine Albright famously used her jewelry to communicate diplomatic messages. Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection reveals an intriguing story of American history and foreign policy as told through Secretary Albright’s jeweled pins.

To learn more about Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection, click here.

Thornton Dial is a keen observer of the human spectacle and its narratives of corruption and moral strength, folly and triumph. As an artist, he has spent the last two decades exploring the truth of American history and culture in all its complexities and contradictions. This exhibition presents a major survey of Dial’s work, an epic gathering of over thirty large-scale paintings, sculptures and wall assemblages that address the most compelling issues of our time.

To learn more about Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, click here.

Bechtler Museum of Art

Opening on August 31 is the Bechtler’s homage to Alberto Giacometti and his place in the Bechtler family’s history.

Giacometti: Memory and Presence celebrates the extraordinary relationship between the Bechtler family and Alberto Giacometti. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art will present sculptures, paintings, prints and drawings spanning the artist’s oeuvre that reveal the aesthetic evolution, emotional power and existential qualities of his creations. Works from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art collection as well as loans from European institutions and Bechtler family members will be on view.

To learn more about the exhibition and the Bechtler, click here.