Gantt Center to celebrate 40th anniversary - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Gantt Center to celebrate 40th anniversary

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Art historians such as Bernard Kinsey, and civil right's activists that include Myrlie Evers and Angela Davis have all contributed to Charlotte's cultural landscape at a place called the Harvey B. Gantt Centler.

David Taylor is the Gantt Center's President and CEO, and he applauds the collaboration that has provided a firm foundation.

"I think it's a great public private partnership that's really made it work."

Founded initially in 1974 as the Afro American Cultural Center, the old Little Rock AME Zion Church was home for more than two decades.

Five years ago it moved into a new Tryon Street showplace, and was named after Charlotte's first black mayor Harvey B. Gantt.

This year it turns 40.

Dr. Herman Thomas is a former board chair from the 1970s.

He said, "We expected that the Little Rock Church would not service our needs for a long period of time, but at the time it was the best we could obtain."

Dr. Thomas's tenure was long before the Gantt Center had a national reputation and could attract the works of well known artists of Charlotte's Romare Bearden, or Charleston's Jonathan Green as well as Tavis Smiley's America I am exhibit to name just a few.

Much like it's first year of celebrations, the center over the next year will roll out a series of events acknowledging the past, present, and future.

"We are reaching out to the rest of the world and making it indeed clear that African American culture is indeed an intrical part of American and world culture now," Thomas said.

A series of exhibits and festivities begin next month and will continue through June of next year.

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