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.

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MH Arts celebrates America

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Mint Hill Arts hosted its monthly reception last Friday.  This month’s theme was America, and the exhibit runs through August 2.  Artwork included sculptures, woodwork, photographs, drawings, paintings, and textiles.  Landscapes, iconic images, and critiques came together in an expression of the complexities of the United States.

The organization recently voted for its executive officers: Tony Billotto, president; Larry Ferguson, first vice president; Marta Brown, second vice president; Becky Aranyi, secretary; Laura Sussman-Randall, treasurer.

“We just had an election for our executive committee officers, and one of the persons who has been instrumental since the day she joined mint hill arts, who is, I am inclined to say,  retiring from her office, is Laura Sussman-Randall,” said Sandra Smith.  “We thank you so much, Laura.”  Smith presented Sussman-Randall with a gift on behalf of the Mint Hill Arts membership.

“It’s been quite a ride, I’ll say that.  We’ve gone through a lot of manifestations, I think, this group. And it does always seem that the right thing happens at the right time for this group.  When we have trouble something comes through to pull us through, and we just need to keep doing that and keep acting as a community and I think we can continue to be great. I think we can do some really great things with this organization as time proceeds, so thank you,” said Sussman-Randall.  She was the president of Mint Hill Arts before becoming the treasurer.

Next month’s exhibit is Fire and Water Do Mix.  It is a juried show with two categories.  The fire category accepts artwork created with extreme heat, and the water category requires watercolor techniques.  Intake is Friday, August 3 from 4-6 pm, and Saturday, August 4 from 10 am to 12 noon.  Local artist Pam Winegard will judge the show.  There will be first, second, and third place prizes for both categories, and ribbons for honorable mentions.

September’s exhibit is a people’s choice show, and will collaborate with the Mint Hill Madness events.  The winner will be chosen by popular vote.

Photos by Amanda Waters.

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Juried art show winners announced

The Binders juried art show at Mint Hill Arts held its reception last Friday.  The gallery packed in a large number of guests for snacks, wine, and the announcement of winners.

“Binder’s is appreciative of the opportunity to be involved with the art show and being able to contribute as well as to participate in the judging of the art show,” said a Binders representative.  “A lot of work was beautiful, technically sound, really compelling artwork.”

Of the 95 entries, eight won prizes.  The judges said numerous pieces came just one or two points away from placing, and the original scoring had tied winners.

Honorable Mention Winners:

Chris Shanahan, “Sorrento, View of Vesuvius”

Susan Verville, “She Crab”

Tim Rinehart, “Red Vase”

James Fales, “Je Suis Desole”

Linda Sacra, “Silver Raku”

Winners:

3rd place – Laura Sussman-Randall, “Fly Away Home”

2nd place – Chris Pariano, “Carlyn”

1st place – Tony Billotto, “Strings Attached”

Best – James Fales “Le Printemp Est Arrive”

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Billotto brings culinary expertise to Mint Hill Arts

Heidi Billotto demonstrated her culinary skills at Mint Hill Arts. She arranged vegetable bouquets and provided a hands-on learning experience.

Heidi Billotto brought her culinary expertise to Mint Hill Arts May 22.  The food writer, reviewer, instructor, and caterer offered a free lecture and demonstration on culinary arts.
Surrounded by heaps of limes, oranges, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, Billotto cut curves and lines into produce to produce beautiful dinner party decorations.  Zigzagging her knife, she displayed blooming onions, blossoming peppers, tulip carrots, and rose tomatoes.  The bouquet was presented in a watermelon basket.  Cucumbers were sliced into leaves to add to the vegetable foliage.
Billotto dished out useful food tips as she sliced and arranged.  For example, purple peppers turn green when cooked.  Mushrooms should not be washed, but instead wiped with a paper towel, as they absorb water and will brown prettier when not soaked.  The oil in onions reacts with oxygen to make eyes water, and most of the oil is concentrated in the root end.  To avoid tearing up in the kitchen, cut off the top of the onion, peel it, and throw away the root end.  To present a bloomin’ onion and avoid the strong smell, soak the onion in cold water before presentation.  When cutting designs, as Billotto did with swirls in her mushroom caps, odd numbers look better than even numbers.  Try five swirls instead of four.
Billotto entertained her Mint Hill audience as she instructed them.  She expertly provided culinary lessons, patiently assisted her students, and provided some laughs along the way.
Billotto offers lessons in her home as well as private sessions.  She is featured in the local magazine Charlotte Living.

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Artists invited to enter June juried art show

Mint Hill Arts has teamed up with art supply store Binders for a juried art exhibit next month.  This is the first time the groups have joined together for such an event, though they have been working together in other ways for years.  The opening reception is Friday, June 15, from 7-9 pm, and the show will run until July 11.
The show is open to all artists, including non-Mint Hill Arts members.  Registration fees are $20 for members and $40 for non-members.  Artists can enter up to two pieces.
Any medium or combinations of media will be accepted, including 2-D and 3-D work, with few exceptions and restrictions.
Binders has provided all of the prizes—gift certificates, ranging from $25 to $150. Continue reading

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Mint Hill Arts settles into new space

 

Mint Hill Arts moved into its new space in the Mint Hill Plaza on Lawyers Road this January, signing a two-year lease with the option to renew.  The organization moved after four years in its first space off Matthews-Mint Hill Road.
The rented space includes three suites, one of which was not available for the first month and a half.  Now that all of the space is available, classrooms and galleries are being rearranged.  Renovations include painting walls and installing plumbing for washing brushes.

Continue reading

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