Feature Articles

April Issue 2000

The Charlotte Art League Celebrates Its 35th Anniversary in Charlotte, NC

The need to create is rooted deep in our being. Of all the creatures in the world, man is the only one to create artwork. As early as 30,000 BC, man expressed himself with the creation of visual images. Examples of these first efforts still haunt the caves of the world. It is not man's opposable thumb that sets us apart from the animal kingdom; it is the desire to recast the universe in art. Today we are still compelled to translate the stimulus of our senses into a visual record. Artists have always sought each other out for help and support, forming colonies or groups, although it is well know that the haunt of choice for such people would be a Parisian café.

Here in Charlotte, NC, artists have found a home with the Charlotte Art League (CAL) in what used to be an old biscuit factory on Camden Road, in the Queen City's South End. During the year 2000, CAL will celebrate its 35th Anniversary as one of the most successful art groups in the region.

Founded by Annie Ackerman, Wilma Allen, Doris Banisch, Dot Davis, Marie Dorsey and Kay Mitchell the Charlotte Art League began as a small group, meeting in the homes of friends. Now a 501 c3 charity, CAL has grown to the largest organization of its type in the area. Currently its ranks have swelled to 275 members. The League's members are primarily artists, though there are also those who just admire and love the arts.

Much hard work by its members has turned a neglected shell of a building into a facility to be proud of. In the CALeidoscope Gallery revolving shows are hung that feature the works of exhibiting members. There are also; nine working artist's studios, workshop and painting spaces, as well as a meeting hall. CAL's mission is to support and develop the talents of artists in NC's Piedmont area. Members and guest gather for monthly meetings every 3rd Tue., Sept. through May. The highlight of the meeting is a guest artist, who shares thoughts, insights and often, their techniques for creating. The meetings, gallery and the artist's studios are open to the public, free of charge, as are many events and art shows. The building is open 11am to 3pm Thur. through Sat., and artwork is always offered for sale. The League also participates in Charlotte's monthly gallery crawls as well.

The Charlotte Art League also offers workshops taught by talented and successful artists to help continue artistic education. This year, CAL is offering nine different opportunities to expand artists horizons in; experimental water media, collage, Caren D'Ache, watercolor, acrylic, and most importantly marketing. One of the most rewarding parts of being a member of CAL is to watch your friends reach an exiting new level in their work.

Many local businesses have offered CAL's members space to hang artwork for sale and display, including: Talley's Green Grocery; Charlie's Restaurant, The Manor Theatre, and Presbyterian Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Hospital.

CAL has enjoyed the sponsorship of such individuals as Laura Parker, and Mr. & Mrs. Ron Guerrette, as well as the corporate sponsorship of Smith, Helms, Mullis & Moore LLP, Sonitrol, Bell South, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Guytanos and support from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts & Science Council as well as many others. In this last year, CAL has supported other charities, such as the regional Scholastic High School Art Competition and Second Harvest Food Bank.

The League offers juried art shows, with prizes (funded by sponsors and the League) going to the most meritorious pieces. Last year $3,500 in awards was given to participating artists. The League's Spring Competition, sponsored for the second year by Smith, Helm, Mullis & Moore LLP, was open to any artist who wished to enter, as CAL seeks the best artwork to put before the public. The show will continue at the CALeidoscope Gallery through Apr. 29. The public is invited to come and help the Charlotte Art League celebrate its 35th Anniversary of nurturing the arts in Charlotte.

For further info check our NC Institution Gallery listings or call the League at 704/376-2787, e-mail at (calart@BellSouth.net) or on the web at (http://www.charweb.org/arts/open/cal).

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