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Art After Dark

  • About This Program

    We're celebrating Black Music Month and Caribbean-American Heritage Month for our June edition of Art After Dark and the party ends one hour later at 11:00 PM! Don’t miss this evening of arts and culture-centered conversation, performances, gallery tours and art making. #ArtAfterDarkCLT

    Program Schedule

    6:00 PM - 11:00 PM
    Gantt Center Exhibitions open to public

    Explore our recently opened exhibit, A Woman’s Work: Selections from the John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African American Art, featuring selections from our permanent collection.

    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    Guided Tours leaving on the hour from the Harper-Roddey Grand Lobby

    6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
    For The Culture hands-on art with Natalie Chanel

    Celebrate Black Music Month by creating your own mixed media album covers inspired by the work of contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas and others. Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite photographs to incorporate into the work.

    Natalie ChanelNatalie Chanel is an artist, small business owner and a Visual Arts Specialist for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. She has ten years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. She received her B.F.A. degree from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia and her M.A. degree from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. During the summer months, Chanel travels to different countries to learn about different ethnic cultural practices and the different textile and artistic traditions that have been passed down over time. She is currently working on a photography project that sheds light on the murders of black men at the hands of law enforcement and spotlighting highly intelligent black males in high schools throughout the Charlotte public school system.

    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    Visuals and Vibes

    Join Mad Skillz, Preach Jacobs, and Chris Charles for a conversation and screening. Music Videos in the 21st Century, What’s inspiring them, how are we making them, and who’s watching them?

    Mad SkillzBorn in Detroit, rapper Shaquan Lewis, otherwise known as "Skillz" or “Mad Skillz,” spent time in Fayetteville, North Carolina before landing in Richmond, Virginia, where he attended high school and soaked up all the Rakim, Kool Moe Dee, Run-DMC and anything he could get his hands on. He's the guy who spun on cardboard as a kid, sprayed graffiti, and deejayed by connecting his mother’s turntables together. Never in a million years would he think that years later he would become an in-demand songwriter, producer, artist & deejay. ​ A standout English student, Skillz honed his rap skills and enrolled in talent shows all over town. His response to an ad in The Source magazine led to an opportunity to perform at the New Music Seminar in New York City. He finished second in a freestyle competition and drew the attention of Atlantic Records, who quickly signed him. He became known for ghostwriting raps for other artists like Diddy and Will Smith, and eventually signed to Timbaland’s record label, touring with Missy Elliott. Skillz’ released his classic track “Ghostwriter” with the underground label Rawkus Records and recorded six studio albums in 2002. He is also the creator of the television show Hip Hop Confessions. Learn more at

    Preach JacobsPreach Jacobs is a hip-hop artist, writer and founder of Cola-Con, the nation's only hip-hop/comic convention. His music has been featured on NPR and Okayplayer. He has a podcast 'The Negro League' on his Mo' Betta Soul network that includes event programming in the southeast. His latest column is featured in the Columbia weekly Free-Times titled "Fight the Power" speaking about hip-hop, politics and social awareness.

    Chris CharlesBorn and raised in Brooklyn, NY with dreams of becoming an architect, Chris Charles studied Architectural Engineering at SUNY Farmingdale College of Technology prior to a "short" 12-year stint as a US Army Paratrooper. After some years in the private sector as an IT professional, Charles then earned a degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham and has been able to use his technical training and natural ability to successfully carve a niche for himself in local and national markets. His client list includes Red Bull, Spike Lee, Moleskine, Durham County, renowned architect Phil Freelon (designer of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and Harvey B. Gantt Center), The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Toyota, and Grammy Nominated artists such as The Foreign Exchange, Rapsody, and Nnenna Freelon. Learn more at

    7:05 PM - 7:50 PM
    Lyrics in the Lecture Hall

    Mad Skillz shares insight from the classroom to the concert.

    8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
    A Journey Through Black Music

    Through conversation, movement and more we'll explore the various vibes that encompass black music from around the African Diaspora.

    8:15 PM - 9:30 PM
    Ted Talks and Chill: Artists as Activists

    Join the host of the "Oh" Show herself, Ohavia Phillips, as we explore the history of musicians using their platforms to highlight and address social issues. Do artists owe it to the community to use their voice for more than their song?

    Ohavia PhillipsHailing from Charlotte, NC, by way of Brooklyn, NY, Ohavia "Oh" Phillips, M.S., is one of a kind! Her charisma, infectious personality, & warmth make her a favorite in any circle! Receiving her B.S. from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her M.S. from Walden University, Ohavia is a successful media personality around the city of Charlotte and a thriving talk show host of her YouTube show, The Oh Show. Her experience and love for people has led her to be a highly demanded speaker across multiple platforms.

    8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Reggaeton Dance Class

    Join Dina Badaway for a high energy dance class to Reggaeton beats. Reggaeton combines the rhythms and chat styles of dancehall and hip hop layered with Latin American vibes, Spanish/Spanglish lyrics and melodies.

    Dina BadawayChoreographer and dancer Dina Badaway teaches various dance styles including Hip Hop, Heels, and Classical Egyptian Belly Dance to a wide range of audiences throughout her hometown Charlotte. She currently teaches weekly classes at MoveStudio and monthly workshops through SkillPop and at studios around the city. Over the past 10 years, Badaway has choreographed for weddings and performances, danced with Oneaka Dance Company in "Distant Relatives: African Fusion," developed choreography for National Dance Day and Taste of Charlotte 2016, and loves to learn new dances to grow and connect with people of different cultures.

    9:15 PM - 10:15 PM
    African Diaspora Dance and Discussion w/ Moving Spirits

    Join dance scholar Tamara Williams for a workshop and discussion exploring African Diaspora dances from the United States, Cuba and Brazil.

    Tamara WilliamsTamara Williams is a native of Augusta, GA, where she began her dance training. She earned her BFA in Dance from Florida State University and received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in collaboration with The American Dance Festival, The Forsythe Company, and Frankfurt University. She is a certified GYROTONIC(R) Trainer, Reiki Practitioner and Capoeirista. In 2011, Williams created Tamara LaDonna Moving Spirits, Inc., a contemporary arts organization dedicated to performing, researching, documenting, cultivating, and producing arts of the African Diaspora. Williams continues to serve as Artistic Director. Tamara is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance of African Diaspora Forms, at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

    9:30 PM - 11:00 PM
    Listening Lounge

    Join Gena Chambers on the rooftop to end the evening with live music.

    Gena ChambersA true Southern girl, Gena Chambers hails from Columbia, SC, where the Baptist Church was the catalyst for her humble beginnings. Because her family is rooted in music she flourished and her love of it was carefully cultivated. While Chambers favors R&B, her musical palate includes tastes for Jazz, Pop, Country and Hip Hop as well. Her singer/songwriter/performer talents provided the opportunity for her to travel all over the country. Some of her more notable acts include performing with or opening for jazz legends such as Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Will Downing, Jonathan Butler and R&B giants like Raheem DaVaughn, Sheila E, and Shelea. Chambers was also bestowed the prestigious honor of performing for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 at the Democratic National Convention. Her passion for music is evident in her life’s work as she has painstakingly crafted a multifaceted repertoire. She is the quintessential artist, a true showpiece of the Charlotte music scene.

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