Experiencing Art in Charlotte With Kids

All ages are welcome at Charlotte's art and cultural venues.
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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Levine Center for the Arts is uptown Charlotte’s one-spot for art and culture. Here you find the Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture, and Knight Theater. Each time I visit any of these museums, I am reminded how great each is for families to experience art, and how each has dedicated programs for children. 

The Mint Museum Uptown offers its self-guided ARTventures scavenger hunts, and hands-on art and play opportunities at the Lewis Family Gallery. The museum also has a monthly Sunday Funday program with free admission for children and special activities that tie to a current exhibition. 

Family Day at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is held on various Saturday afternoons throughout the year, and includes hands-on art activities and special museum tours. Kids are admitted free.

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture’s ongoing Family First program is designed for families with children ages 5-10 to join in discussions and gallery experiences together. Programs can include making art, dancing or singing. Children ages 8-12 and their parents can also join in Jr. Studio workshops designed to explore processes and techniques in art making.

Charlotte Ballet and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra perform at Knight Theater and Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Lollipops Family Concerts, held at the Knight Theater, are one-hour concerts with activities before the concert that are designed to introduce children to the symphony. Charlotte Symphony Orchestra also hosts its outdoor Summer Pop series at Symphony Park near SouthPark. Families come for the Sunday concerts with picnics and blankets. Charlotte Ballet’s “Nutcracker” performance is a perennial family favorite during the holidays and is performed at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Take an Art Break

The creative and collaborative minds at Levine Center for the Arts make a monthly lunch date at the museum easier than ever with its ArtBreak series — a series of free 30-minute museum tours designed to be completed during lunch hour at the Mint Museum Uptown, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

The docent-led tours take place the third Thursday each month between noon-1 p.m., and are tailored around a specific theme that repeats for three months, allowing visitors to experience each of the three museums in succession. Art Breaks are great for parents who work uptown and want a quick art fix sans kids or a different lunch-hour outing with co-workers, but it’s also a great opportunity for parents who homeschool or during summer break.

Easy Access

Levine Center for the Arts Museum Access Ticket allows you to visit the Mint Museum uptown, the Bechtler Museum and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for $20 within a 48-hour window. Admission is free for children younger than 5. carolinatix.org.

Each Wednesday from 5-9 p.m., admission is free at the Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph. 500 S. Tryon St. and 2730 Randolph Road.

Michele Huggins is editor of Charlotte Parent magazine.