Thursday, February 27, 2020
Every outing we take is an opportunity to experience something that makes us more interesting. That’s equally true for both outdoor adventures and cultural excursions. Sometimes the latter can feel a little daunting, especially for families with young kids. But why not start with art? There is tons of art around town and plenty of family-friendly ways to experience it. Here are six fun options:
Levine Center for the Arts, which comprises Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and Mint Museum of Uptown, now offers free guided stroller tours at 10:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month through May.
To take a stroller tour, register with the host museum in any given month, show up with an easily-maneuverable stroller, and check your angst at the door. This art outing was made for your whole family to enjoy.
Uptown Art Walking Tour
Here’s how to take the public art walking tour.
Art Walk on the Rail Trail
There are dozens of bright, quirky and curious displays scattered along the Charlotte Rail Trail, the paved path that borders the Lynx light rail track from SouthEnd to Uptown.
The Rail Trail offers a good way for people of all ages to get outside, get moving (walk, ride, scoot or push a stroller), and see something new. And there are lots of food options when you want to take a break.
Here’s how to take an Art Walk on the Rail Trail.
Mint Museum Uptown Family Room
One of our favorite places to spend a morning is the Lewis Family Gallery at The Mint Museum Uptown. One section of this space is stocked with art supplies and devoted entirely to personal creativity. It’s easy to spend hours making artwork – whether that’s coloring with crayons, doing origami, stringing beads, or constructing a multi-media project.
And, the museum also offers curated activities, like ART Pack scavenger hunts, and programs, like Sunday Funday. Check event schedule and learn more about the Lewis Family Gallery at The Mint Museum Uptown.
Take a Mural Walk
Here’s how to take 10-stop mural walk in Plaza Midwood.
Purser Hulsey Park
Here’s a fun combination: Art and fresh air. That’s what you’ll at Purser-Hulsey Park in Matthews. About 15 miles from uptown, it's a relatively short, easy drive to get there. It boasts plentiful parking, a large community garden, a little free library and, most notably, some really fun trails.
Someone with notable artistic talent has painted at least a hundred rocks and placed them along the trail loop. All of them are beautiful, and some are especially witty. Visitors are encouraged to pick them up and leave them in a new spot along the trail as they hike (this is an especially effective motivator for young hikers!). And, park visitors are invited to bring their own painted rocks to add to the mix.
Here’s how to experience Purser-Hulsey Park.
So, go on. Commit to being more interesting. Art is a good place to start and opportunities to find it in Charlotte abound.
Thursday, February 20, 2020
I remember gaping at the mural, amazed at its detailed enormity, on display for all of uptown see. It's probably been since then that have I been captivated by that kind of public art. Those images of Muggsy, LJ and Zo are long gone, but, in recent years in particular, a new wave of mural art has found home in Charlotte. These days, facades of buildings across town are adorned with funky, colorful, thought-provoking images. Some pieces are obvious, some more obscure, but all are worth a gander.
But where to find them? Charlotte Agenda has one of the best guides I've seen. It is super comprehensive and helpful -- especially the interactive map.
For an afternoon activity, I suggest taking the following 10-stop mural tour through Plaza Midwood. This approximately 1-mile loop will give you a taste of the eclectic neighborhood and the wall art that makes it so colorful.
Stop #1: Head east on Commonwealth Ave. away from town. Turn left onto The Plaza. The first mural is at Sushi Guru (1217 The Plaza). Artwork: Sushi by Darion Fleming.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Art! It's everywhere. Charlotte's got loads of public art adorning parks, walls and corridors all over the city. And more is constantly being installed, thanks to both public and private commitments and a 2003 ordinance that appropriates one percent of eligible capital improvement project funds for public art. (Check out a list of current and upcoming projects.)
Arts & Science Council's walking tour podcast, which guides visitors from one installation to the next, offering insight on both the art and the artist. The background information on the pieces includes helpful commentary on medium and the artist's inspiration.
Before you go, I print (or at least downloading to your phone) the tour brochure.
How to get there:
The public art walking tour begins in the lobby of the Carillon Building at 227 West Trade St. It ends around Spectrum Arena. Parking is available on the street or public lot, but you might consider taking the Lynx light rail into town.
Don't forget to take:
Thursday, February 6, 2020
26 nature preserves located throughout Mecklenburg County, which means you probably live close enough to one to make a quick trip on a whim.
We've been to many of our local nature preserves and some of our favorites are Big Rock Nature Preserve, Evergreen Nature Preserve, Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, and RibbonWalk Nature Preserve. Recently we checked out Clarks Creek Nature Preserve and will definitely add it to our rotation.
trail map.) This terrain is good for all ages and skill levels. I recommend the Bluebird Loop, which is a little over a mile long. It will take you through some wooded areas and you can tack on loops to go by the creek or the pond.
Our weather is so whacky these days, it's hard to know what to expect. But the next time a spring day sneaks up on you in February, keep nature preserves in mind. Clarks Creek is one of many wonderful options we have around here.
How to get there:
Clarks Creek Nature Preserve is located at 5542 Hucks Rd., Charlotte, NC 28269.
Don't forget to pack:
- Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen: The trails are only partially shaded.
- Comfortable shoes: Something supportive for easy terrain.
- Water: Stay hydrated. You can refill if needed at the Clarks Creek Community Park across the street.
- Snacks or a picnic lunch: Spread a blanket or enjoy the picnic shelter.
- Bugspray: Fend off mosquitoes in summer months.