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Gantt Center Presents Gullah Artist Jonathan Green Friday December 3

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will host a reception and Charlotte book release for artist Jonathan Green Friday, December 3, 2021 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  Considered one of the nation’s most important living painters and printmakers of the southern experience, Green’s newest book, Gullah Spirit: The Art of Jonathan Green, reflects his maturing artistic vision and the freedom and contentment he’s gained through painting.

“We’re proud to bring Jonathan Green to Charlotte to celebrate his newest book,” said Gantt Center President & CEO David Taylor. “Through his paintings, Jonathan has documented a way of life that we’re slowly losing and it’s crucial that we share him and his amazing work with the community.”

Much of Green’s work derives from memories of the artist’s childhood growing up in South Carolina’s Gullah culture. These descendants of enslaved people established a rich culture with a distinct dialect, farming practices and artistic traditions – such as sea grass basket weaving – that are directly tied to West Africa. Green’s work reflects a rich sense of history, place, and his intimate knowledge of that culture.

Tickets to attend the celebration are $25 for Gantt Center members and $50 for the general public. Signed copies of Gullah Spirit and Green’s first book, Gullah Images, will be available for purchase.  Green also contributed an essay to the catalogue for Visual Vanguard: An Exhibition of Contemporary Black Carolina Artists, currently on view at the Gantt Center. The Visual Vanguard catalogue will be available for purchase, as well.

About The Artist

Acclaimed for his vibrant depictions of everyday life in the Lowcountry, Green – who grew up in Garden’s Corner, South Carolina – graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982.  He has received honorary doctorate degrees from both University of South Carolina and Coastal Carolina University for capturing and recording Southern culture and history.

While his appeal and perspective are truly modern and cosmopolitan, Green looks to the familiar images of his ancestral home for the subjects of his paintings. It’s through his narrative style that Green captures and records the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah community in which he was raised.

The celebrated artist designed the sets and costumes for Spoleto’s 2016 production of Porgy & Bess and his work has also served as a catalyst for other art forms. “Off the Wall & Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green,” produced by the Columbia City Ballet of South Carolina, brings music, dance and twenty-two of Green’s paintings together in a powerful return to the elements of classical ballet. In addition, his paintings have been included in publications addressing American and African-American history, literature, food-ways, visual arts, and healthcare.

Green’s work has been embraced by collectors and critics throughout the world and can be found in private as well as major museum collections in the US, Japan, Germany, and Sierra Leone. Currently, Green resides and paints in Charleston.

About The Book

"With this book, Jonathan Green continues to be the authoritative herald of Gullah visual arts. With his unique aesthetic sensibility, bold fashion designs, and vibrant colors, Green uses scenes from daily life to deftly explore Gullah culture, family, community, and deep spirituality. The result is simultaneously a gorgeous work of art and compelling memoir."— Bernard Powers, professor emeritus of history and founding director of the Center for the Study of Slavery at the College of Charleston

About Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is a multi-disciplinary arts institution located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1974, the Gantt Center’s mission is to present, preserve and celebrate excellence in the art, history and culture of African-Americans and those of African descent through visual and literary arts, dance music, film, educational programs, theatre productions and community outreach. The Gantt Center features fine art exhibitions from around the world and is home to the nationally celebrated John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, which was generously donated by Bank of America, and is accessible online.

Named for Charlotte civic leader and former mayor Harvey Bernard Gantt, the Gantt Center is housed in an inspired and distinguished award-winning structure designed by architect Philip Freelon, co-designer of the new Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). For more information about the Gantt Center and the Initiative for Equity + Innovation, visit

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2021

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