Anyone who has been in Charlotte for more than a few years knows just how much of the city can change in such a short amount of time. As Charlotte continues to expand rapidly, so does its artistic and cultural influences. For those looking to experience some of those influences up close, Charlotte art galleries and museums are an excellent way to do so. Get started on an artistic tour of Charlotte by visiting these top spots:
The Discovery Place
Discovery Place, a private not-for-profit educational organization based in the Carolinas, has four museums in three cities, but the original is in Uptown Charlotte, so this organization earns a spot on our list of Charlotte art galleries and museums. It was opened in 1946 by a teacher named Laura Owens. Since then, the museum has undergone several location changes and major renovations, but its mission is still the same. The museum remains dedicated to inspiring and educating students and teachers through STEM. You can visit Discovery Place at any of its four locations, including Discovery Place Science in Uptown, Discovery Place Nature in Freedom Park, and Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville and Rockingham, N.C. It’s a great place to spend a day learning about science while also having a lot of fun.
Harvey B. Gantt Center
Named after Charlotte’s first African-American mayor, the Harvey B. Gantt Center exemplifies the type of cultural consciousness Charlotte can enjoy when people come together. The center has held numerous exhibitions from renowned artists, including Russel Craig and Deana Lawson. It’s also become a safe place dedicated to opening a dialogue around the many injustices plaguing African-Americans and people of color. Visitors can find breathtaking art inside its gallery walls, as well as an abundance of resources for further learning.
The Latin American Contemporary Art (LaCa) Projects has grown into one of Charlotte’s most renowned art galleries in just a few short years. The gallery acts as a bridge between contemporary Latin American artists and the Charlotte art scene, as well as a Southeast location for regional art collectors to foster their appreciation for Latin American art. LaCa Projects has held exhibits for countless well-known contemporary artists, including Angel Gabriel, Eduardo Cardozo and Mariana Bersten. Stop by to see their latest collection of paintings and sculptures.
Levine Museum of the New South
Levine Museum of the New South is one of the most comprehensive collections of post-Civil War history in the country. The permanent exhibits, like the 8,000-square-foot “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers,”’ focus on history specific to the Charlotte and Piedmont areas, with six different spaces that illustrate how the South has changed since the Civil War. The museum also offers a rotating roster of temporary exhibits all serving to educate and challenge their viewers. It’s one of the most comprehensive windows into life in the North Carolina Piedmont that you can find anywhere.
The Light Factory
As an artistic space dedicated to building up Charlotte’s photography community, The Light Factory has a lot to offer. For more than 40 years, the center’s staff has worked hard to give everyone the opportunity to create, understand, and appreciate photography. The Light Factory is more than just Charlotte’s premier photography museum, however. It’s also an educational center that teaches both children and adults a wide range of photography skills. Students can learn everything from photojournalism to animation by attending their in-person or online classes.
Hodges Taylor Gallery
For forty years, Hodges Taylor has enjoyed a reputation as a successful and respected contemporary art gallery and consulting firm. Current owner and director Lauren Harkey continues that legacy by building upon relationships with artist partners, clientele, and the community. Today, Hodges Taylor remains a contemporary gallery, with a focus on promoting Southeastern artists in a range of mediums, as well as an art consulting firm providing services to both corporate and individual collectors.
Art House Charlotte
Art House Charlotte has made a name for itself by fostering a welcoming, casual environment to its gallery. Unlike some galleries that can feel a little intimidating, Art House Charlotte encourages their visitors to ask questions and let the staff help them browse. By adding affordability into the mix, this gallery is an excellent place to shop for original artwork without spending a fortune. It provides a very unique option on this list of Charlotte art galleries and museums.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art was founded after the Bechtler family merged their private collection into a public partnership with the city of Charlotte. Every part of the museum was designed to celebrate and showcase art in the best possible light. As only the second building in the US to be designed by renowned architect Mario Botta, even the building itself is a work of art. For those looking to view an international collection with some rare finds, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is the place to go.
Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art
The Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art firmly believes in the power of art as a means to understand the human experience. That’s why they strive to show off a wide range of exhibits each year. From the paper artwork of Jeong and Choon Yun to the glass sculptures of Marlene Rose, you’re sure to find something awe-inspiring within the gallery’s walls. The organization is dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for both visitors and artists. The Elder Art Gallery of Contemporary Art also hosts all kinds of artists’ talks and Q&As. Check out their website before you go to see what’s next on their calendar.
Mint Museum Uptown and Randolph
The Mint Museum is an internationally recognized museum with a rich history. Founded in 1936, the first Mint Museum opened up in what used to be a branch of the US Mint. Today, the organization prides itself as a leading, innovative museum of international art and design.
Visitors can find rotating collections of both contemporary and historical art from all over the world within its walls. Plus, the Mint Museum has two convenient locations to choose from: Uptown and Randolph. Want to bring some of the magic back home? The Mint Museum even offers online art activities for parents to try out with their kids. It’s an excellent place to learn something new and view collections you won’t see anywhere else.
Anne Nielsen Fine Art Gallery
If you want to view work from talented artists and maybe even give back to our local community in the process, then the Anne Nielsen Fine Art Gallery is the place to go. This gallery represents more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the world. Plus, a portion of each sale goes directly to local nonprofits working to better the Charlotte community. You can find the Anne Nielsen Fine Art Gallery in SouthPark, just 15 minutes from Charlotte’s Center City.
Not only is Shain Gallery a renowned contemporary art gallery in Charlotte, but also in the entire Southeast US. Originally established in 1998 in the Myers Park neighborhood, Shain Gallery now represents over 40 exceptional artists. In addition to showcasing a wide array of stunning paintings, Shain Gallery also works with individuals to find art that’s just right for their private collections. Whether you’ve been collecting art for years or just want to view some stunning work, you’ll love every moment spent at Shain Gallery.
Sozo Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in the city center of Charlotte, North Carolina. The gallery brings fresh, original artwork from local, national, and international artists to both well-established and new clients, corporations, and institutions. Sozo firmly believes in supporting art programming and community. Grier’s Gallery at Hemby Children’s Hospital was started with assistance from Sozo’s owner and artistic director, Hannah Blanton. It provides monthly art lessons to patients and families with the help of local artists. Sozo was an integral initiator and supporter in Charlotte Center City’s Uptown Crawl, a monthly, free-of-charge gallery and museum crawl to promote and support Charlotte’s growing artistic and cultural community.
Jerald Melberg Gallery
While the Jerald Melberg Gallery might seem unassuming at first glance, it actually houses art from a wide range of established artists. In fact, it has been a staple among Charlotte art galleries and museums for over 30 years. During that time, the Jerald Melberg Gallery has grown to represent artists from all over the US and Europe. Its owner, Jerald Melberg, strives to fill the space with what he sees as “visual poetry, something that is beyond simple decoration.” You can expect to find both realist and abstract work from artists such as collagist Romare Bearden and landscape painter Wolf Kahn when you visit.
Contributors: Liza Carrasquillo & Sunny Hubler