Breaking Down the Wall Between Music and Art

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The Charlotte Symphony and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art at the Levine Campus of the Arts uptown have partnered together to present a day of music and art for families through the Lollipops Family Concerts at the Knight Theater and Family Days at the Bechtler.

Through the collaboration, Lollipops Family Concerts and Family Day at the Bechtler are coordinated on the same dates, giving families the opportunity to explore two of Charlotte’s big-ticket arts organizations in one midday family outing.

Doors open for Lollipops Family Concerts at 10 a.m. Concert ticket-holders can join in pre-concert festivities before a hour-long musical story presented by Charlotte Symphony musicians, which are often highlighted with onstage puppets or actors performing the story.

Stations are set up throughout the Knight Theater with coloring pages that feature instruments drawn as cartoon, word searches and crosswords for older kids, and a station where kids can make their own musical shaker.

A drum circle invites guests to play a variety of percussion instruments, and learn a bit about rhythm, steady beats and other professional instruments played around the world, says Chris Stonnell, director of education for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte also hosts its Musical Petting Zoo during the pre-concert festivities where children can hold and play all kinds of symphony instruments.

“It’s a mixture of educational activities, and arts and crafts around a musical theme,” says Stonnell. “We like to teach (children) something, and we want them to them to enjoy what they are being taught in a memorable environment.”

Immediately following each Lollipops performance, guests can literally walk through from the Knight Theater to the Bechtler Museum via a sliding glass wall that is open after the performance and connects the two facilities.

Activities at the Bechtler Museum’s Family Day program are tailored to match the music heard at the Lollipops concert, says Christopher Lawing, vice president of programming at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, presenting an opportunity for a parent-child conversation about different art forms.

Families are given a backpack filled with coloring books, puzzles and sketchpads that they can take with them as they tour the museum. There are also hands-on activities, which may include sculpture, painting or printmaking, in addition to a scavenger hunt throughout the galleries.

“Family time is so pressured and limited,” says Lawing. “This collaboration doesn’t add more time to a family outing, but a richer connection between two different art forms.”

Both Stonnell and Lawing agree that the collaboration of music and art help ignite children’s minds by connecting stories and art forms. “Eighty-five percent of the time, I see kids and parents have light-bulb moments connecting the music to the art without prompting,” says Lawing.

Family Day activities are not limited to Lollipops attendees. Admission to the Bechtler Museum on Family Day is free for children and half-price ($4) for adults.

The next Lollipops concert is “Tubby the Tuba” happening Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. at the Knight Theater, followed by Family Day at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art from noon to 4:30 p.m. Find more information at and