Levine Center for the Arts Paying Off for Charlotte

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    Levine Center for the Arts Paying Off for Charlotte

    Organizations See Significant Increase in Attendance, Institutional Memberships

    PR Newswire

    CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The arts community continues to see growing membership and participation at Levine Center for the Arts despite the economic turbulence felt by the city of Charlotte in recent years. The Campaign for Cultural Facilities, which raised the funds for Levine Center for the Arts, was recently awarded the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2011 Award for Excellence in Fundraising.

    Levine Center for the Arts comprises four arts and culture facilities, including Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater and Mint Museum Uptown.

    In 2010, Leon and Sandra Levine, through The Leon Levine Foundation, stepped forward with a $15 million gift that concluded a fundraising effort to raise $83 million. Launched in 2005, The Campaign for Cultural Facilities was a private endowment campaign created to support numerous arts and cultural organizations. In tribute to the Levines' generosity, also recognized by a $5 million gift in their honor by Duke Energy, the cultural campus was named Levine Center for the Arts.

    Now, more than one year since their gift and eight months after the Mint Museum Uptown opened, membership and participation among the cultural partners of Levine Center for the Arts has improved considerably. Traffic and interest in the facilities continues to grow.

    "The Levine Foundation gift, which was the culminating gift in a community-wide effort, set the stage for the amazing cultural destination we have today in Levine Center for the Arts. With a diverse offering, a central location and cutting-edge facilities, Levine Center has put Charlotte on the national arts scene," said Scott Provancher, president, Arts & Science Council. "Each of the four cultural partners play a pivotal role, and their leadership and partnership make Levine Center for the Arts a model worth emulating."

    The Mint Museum, currently featuring "From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland," has seen a substantial increase in memberships in the past year. Additionally, the Gantt Center's membership has doubled during the same time period. In January, their Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration more than doubled the number of visitors from the previous year. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art—whose Niki de Saint Phalle exhibit was featured by the Wall Street Journal in April as a "Don't Miss"—has also seen a steady rise in memberships. Knight Theater, operated by Blumenthal Performing Arts, has been filling its nearly 1,200-seat venue for performances ranging from Tony Award-winning shows such as "Next to Normal" and "Avenue Q" to MOMIX, an internationally acclaimed dance company.

    There is also a renewed spirit of collaboration among the diverse members. This September marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Romare Bearden, a 20th century African-American artist and writer from Mecklenburg County, N.C., who is described as a "descendent" of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s-1930s. The Gantt Center will mount three exhibitions in celebration of Bearden and his influence. Additionally, the Mint Museum Uptown will present 100 works of art from its holdings as well as from private donors.  The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will host a concert at Knight Theater to celebrate Bearden through music. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art will present a series of in-school artist residencies at several Charlotte middle schools with students who will study artists inspired by Bearden.

    About Levine Center for the Arts

    Levine Center for the Arts is one of Charlotte's key cultural destinations, comprised of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater and Mint Museum Uptown.

    Levine Center for the Arts was made possible through the Campaign for Cultural Facilities, the support of the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and the generosity of The Leon Levine Foundation, one of the country's largest and most impactful philanthropic organizations.

    SOURCE Levine Center for the Arts