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Double connections with culture (and it’s free!)

Jan 17, 2018

Connect with Culture Day makes pairs you wouldn't expect.

The Arts & Science Council's annual free event Jan. 26-27 has doubled the number of sites and expanded its lineup.

"We really see that this is something that people all over Mecklenburg County are coming to love, and want to be a part of," ASC President Robert Bush said. "It really is an opportunity for us to say 'thank you' back to the community for the incredible support that they give the arts and cultural community here in Charlotte. It's also to say that there are so many opportunities for you to learn about and participate in. We want to make sure that citizens have that knowledge."

While the experience includes Uptown staples like free access to the Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum and Levine Museum of the New South Galleries to Charlotte Ballet-led workshops highlighting African dance at the Bette Rae Thomas Recreation Center (2921 Tuckaseegee Road), Connect with Culture has expanded throughout the city.

"There are just all kinds of opportunities," Bush said. "We're building on the success of our Culture Blocks program, where we are out in underserved areas of the county, making sure that there are cultural programing that those citizens want in their communities. We have a lot of programing in these areas that may not have the big flashy facilities, but they have facilities that are perfect for other kinds of experiences like dance classes or performances, or theater performances. Yes, people can come Uptown for some things, but they can also stay close to home for some things."

Traditionally a single-day program, ASC opted to expand its evening opportunities by partnering with local craft breweries.

"You can do one or two things on Friday night, and then do things all day on Saturday," Bush said.

Charlotteans can dance or sit back and enjoy music, with options from Friday night salsa lessons at NoDa Brewing with Rumbao Latin Dance & DJ Chan to an African Drum Circle with Drums4Life at Plaza Midwood's Resident Culture Brewing to a performance at Lenny Boy Brewing featuring Nicci Canada & The Dapper Street Jazz Band. All brewery events run 6:30-8:30 p.m. and coordinate with art work from Ciel Gallery artists.

"This is building a lot off the success of the Charlotte Symphony actually doing chamber concerts in breweries," Bush said. "We're learning from them that there is an audience who likes to kick back and enjoy their and listen to live music. There's some really interesting new things that are really designed for young people on young people. It makes us a day and a half, instead of a single day."

By Ashley Mahoney, The Charlotte Post

Original story here.