In 1974, the Afro-American Cultural and Service Center (AACC) began as the brainchild of Mary Harper, a doctoral student working under UNC-Charlotte professor Bertha Maxwell-Roddy. By 1976, the dream of these 2 women became a reality with the acquisition of operating space in Spirit Square, the former First Baptist Church. The AACC moved to the former Little Rock AME Zion Church in 1986. This institution morphed into the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture on October 24, 2009, when the new, modernist structure was dedicated.
While undergoing name changes through the years, the Gantt Center’s signature festival – GanttFest! – will remain a fun, family event. GanttFest! will be held on Saturday, July 26, 2014. Activities are taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission will be free for Gantt Center members. Military veterans and their families may also attend at no charge. General admission for non-members will be $5.
This festival for all Charlotteans serves as the opening event to mark the Gantt Center’s 40th anniversary. Ready for viewing are the Center’s 40th Anniversary exhibitions – The John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, “40 and Counting: Celebrating Forty Years at the Gantt Through Art, Culture and Community”, and “Selected Works of J. Eugene Grigsby, Jr.: Returning to Where the Artistic Seed was Planted.” A guided tour of “40 and Counting”, led by guest curator Kim Curry-Evans, will be conducted at 1pm.
More artistic festival features include Black Cinema, a DJ Showcase and live music by Mother Blues, Funk Rush, Story Squad, and A Sign of the Times.
Health and Wellness will be addressed by Morrison Healthcare chef Cary Neff, who will conduct a health-conscious southern cooking demonstration. Meanwhile, area food trucks will help to accommodate hungry festival goers.
Visit the Gantt Center website for details.