Board presented with public arts ideas

The Board of Commissioners was approached by two organizations last Thursday about displaying public art in and around the new town hall building.  On the agenda at the last board meeting, Nicole Bartlett of the Arts and Science Council and Tony Billotto, Laura Sussman-Randall, Marta Brown, and Romie Mizell of Mint Hill Arts asked the board to consider representing Mint Hill through art.

Bartlett explained that many cities and towns install permanent pieces of public art for their communities.  Charlotte has numerous pieces, including the typewriter keys at Imaginon.  The Writer’s Desk, as it is called, is a monument to local writer Rolfe Neill.  She also offered examples from Rock Hill, Davidson, and other Charlotte locations, as well as types of art, including statues, plazas, photography, and tapestries.

Bartlett said one of the most important aspects of public art is the connection to the community; it is very local.

She outlined a basic plan for the creation of public art for Mint Hill.  Funding would come from the county, the Arts and Science Council would manage the project, and the design would come from a volunteer board of citizens from the town.

Mint Hill Arts representatives asked the board to consider letting them display art in the two gallery hallways in the new town hall building.  They offered some details as to how the town could partner with the organization for professional displaying and no extra work for the town.  The arts group currently displays work in the old town hall building.  Mizell presented professional hanging devices that would eliminate the need to put nails in the walls.  Billotto explained the intake process for their monthly art shows, demonstrating the professionalism and detail-oriented organization of Mint Hill Arts.  The all-volunteer group is made of dedicated artists who would jump at the opportunity to display local work in the new space.

“I got an the opportunity to go into the new town hall, and wow, was I blown away.  We have been looking for a new facility that was larger where we could really exhibit art the way it needed to be exhibited, where people could come in from the community and see it.  And here it was, two beautiful galleries built one above the other that had great lighting, a beautiful place to hang it,” said Mizell.  “That’s why we are requesting the opportunity to do this for you and for the community in this facility.”

They also presented the board with the idea of a permanent piece of artwork with the working title theme of Life in Mint Hill.  Mint Hill Arts and the town would ask artists to come forward in a juried show where the board was the panel.  The winner would receive the prestigious award of having artwork forever displayed in the town hall.  Billotto suggested the area around the grand stairway as a good location for such a display.

“Public art is the expression of the spirit of the community in which it takes place,” said Sussman-Randall.

The mayor thanked the arts representatives for their presentations and ideas, and said they will continue the conversation in the future.

The public is invited to get involved with this month’s Mint Hill Arts show during Mint Hill Madness.  Last Friday was the opening reception of the new show, but winners were not announced.  That’s because the public has not yet voted.  It’s a people’s choice show, and everyone is invited to cast a vote.  Visitors can see the gallery, located at 11205 Lawyers Road, Suite A, to gain an understanding of what Mint Hill Arts is, what local artists are doing, and how they can get involved.


Madness Beauty Pageant looking for applicants

Heather Helmendach was crowned Miss Mint Hill Madness last year. After a year of service she will hand off her crown to the next winner at the September 22 pageant. Photo courtesy of Lenn Long/

The Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant is calling for applications.  The pageant will take place at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church September 22, a week before Mint Hill Madness.  Applications, found online at, and the $50 entry fee are due September 1 and can be turned in at the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce, Todd Younker State Farm Insurance, Abbey Rose Florist, Big Guy’s Pizza, First Citizens Bank, or Bob Lucas Allstate Insurance.

This year prizes include a $500 scholarship for Miss Mint Hill, a trophy, crown, sash, bouquet courtesy of Abbey Rose, and a cash prize for queens in each group, a trophy for Robinson Orthodontics’ Smile Winners in each group, a trophy and $50 off a portrait session with for the photogenic winners in each group, a free portrait session for the overall photogenic winner, and a trophy for each runner up in each age group.  Queens from the eight age groups will also ride in the Mint Hill Madness Parade September 29.

Age groups are divided into Baby Miss for three to 12 months, Toddler Miss for 13-24 months, Tiny Miss for two to three years, Little Miss for four to six years, Young Miss for seven to nine years, Junior Miss for 10-12, Teen Miss for 13-15, and Miss Mint Hill for 16-18.  Contestants six years of age and younger will compete in the 10 am pageant, and the older contestants will compete at 4 pm.

Competitions include Smile Wear, requiring a Robinson Orthodontics/Mint Hill Madness t-shirt and denim bottoms of choice; Beauty Attire, requiring Sunday dress for ages 12 and younger and pageant or prom style dress for ages 13-18; Photogenic, requiring an 8×10 photo at registration; and the Miss Private Interview for the Miss Mint Hill group, requiring a five minute interview starting at 1 pm September 22.

This is the first year the Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant is providing a scholarship, sponsored by Robinson Orthodontics.  Scholarship money is awarded after one year of completed service as Miss Mint Hill.  Community service includes attending Mint Hill’s tree lighting ceremony, helping with the senior lunch at Christmastime, and assisting with the Lions Club pancake breakfast.

Last year’s winner, Heather Helmendach, will attend the pageant.  She is throwing the first pitch at the August 12 Knights game in Fort Mill.

For more information visit the Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant Facebook page, or contact pageant director Julie Shillingburg at


New road closings announced for Mint Hill Madness

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Town officials announced today that Highway 51 from Cresthill Drive to Lawyers Road will be closed during festival hours from 5 pm Friday to 6 pm Sunday. Originally one lane of Highway 51 was to stay open, but due to safety concerns, all four lanes will now close. Police urge those who are not attending the festival to avoid the area. For more on Mint Hill Madness, check out our annual double issue of the Mint Hill Times on newsstands Thursday.


Police announce road closings for Mint Hill Madness

Hard to believe Mint Hill Madness is almost here. The parade on September 25 will start on the Highway 218 side of Matthews-Mint  Hill Road and proceed up to Brighton Park. If you are trying to use Highway 218 or Lawyers Road on that day, you may want to consider a different route. Mint Hill Police said today the detour will be “lengthy.” The roads will be blocked from 8:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.  From John Rowell of the Mint Hill Police Department:

Individuals not attending the event are advised to avoid the downtown Mint Hill area during this time. Traffic is expected to remain slow and congested from 5 p.m. Friday (9-24) through 6 p.m. Sunday (9-26) due to the Mint Hill Madness Festival.


A map of Madness: What the festival will look like at its new location

The Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce moved the Mint Hill Festival this year from Fairview Park to the town square (Lawyers and Hwy. 51). This photo, from Dana at town hall, shows where everything will go. The festival will take place the weekend of September 24. In this week’s Mint Hill Times, find out why Presbyterian, one of the main sponsors, pulled its funding, then over the weekend recommitted. (Want to see a larger picture? Click here:  Madness 2010.)