Smithsonian Coming To Charlotte With ‘Men of Change’ Exhibit

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The Smithsonian is partnering with the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture and Levine Museum of the New South to bring the dynamic exhibition Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. to the Charlotte community, October 8, 2022 – March 12, 2023.

The exhibition presents the narrative of a nation through the profiles of significant African American men who are icons in the country’s historical and cultural landscape. Created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), Men of Change is made possible through the support of Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford.

“In the spirit of our mission and legacy, bringing Men of Change to Charlotte is a great gift and honor,” said David R. Taylor, president and CEO, Harvey B. Gantt Center.  “We are excited to collaborate with Levine Museum of the New South to showcase the stories of these iconic men who have contributed greatly to the good of our society, and to celebrate the local Men of Change in our community.”

“The Gantt and Levine Museum strive to ignite dialogue and engagement that connects the community through history, art, culture, and celebration.” Said Kathryn Hill, President and CEO, Levine Museum of the New South. “Collaboration is one of the Museum’s founding values and we hope this partnership around Men of Change inspires the community to visit both museums to hear the voices and share the stories of these extraordinary men.”

A diverse group of artists, advisors, academics, curators, and museum professionals determined the men chosen as Men of Change. The exhibition highlights revolutionary men—including Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, W.E.B. DuBois, and Kendrick Lamar—whose journeys have altered the history and culture of the country through politics, sports, science, entertainment, business, and religion. Each biography is paired with original artwork by a noted artist that illustrates the subject’s unique contribution. The exhibition weaves a collective tapestry of what it is to be an African American man, past and present, and the legacy that only strengthens across generations. 

“We hope that by experiencing Men of Change visitors will see a lesson for us all, regardless of gender, race or nationality,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “In these men we see an absolute ideal and a well of inspiration that encourages us to become our best selves.”

The Gantt and Levine Museum share this exhibition which revolves around seven themes.  The Gantt will display StorytellersFathering, and Imagining, Levine Museum will display Catalysts, Myth-Breakers, and Community, and both museums will display Loving.

“Ford and the Smithsonian have a shared commitment to honoring people and achievements that reflect America’s diverse culture,” said Mary Culler, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Ford Fund is proud to bring Men of Change to Charlotte to help showcase the legacies of African American men who have changed the world for the better.”

During the exhibition’s run, both museums will partner on community programming aligned with the exhibition and each museum will feature a special temporary exhibition that highlights local Charlotte “men of change” who have inspired and influenced positive change in their communities. The Men of Change exhibition will feature a talk-back section, encouraging visitors to nominate local men in Charlotte who they would like to acknowledge.  

With a generous gift from Wells Fargo, the Charlotte community sponsor, free admission is made possible to both institutions while this exhibition is on view. ”We believe Wells Fargo has a tremendous opportunity to make a positive impact in the communities where we work, live and serve,” said Michelle Lee, head of Regional Branch Banking for Wells Fargo and a member of the Gantt board of directors. “Our support for this exhibit, as well as arts and culture overall in Charlotte, connects directly with our commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in ways that will result in sustainable progress and lasting impact.”

Men of Change opens Saturday, October 8 at both the Gantt and Levine Museum. For more information about the exhibition, visit menofchange.si.edu, ganttcenter.org, and museumofthenewsouth.org

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