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ALERT: The Gantt Center galleries will be temporarily closed to the public for installations beginning on Tuesday, January 18 and will re-open on Friday, January 28.

Open Air: Artist Conversation With Charly Palmer

  • About This Program

    Charly Palmer was born in 1960 in Fayette, Alabama and raised in Milwaukee. He relocated to Chicago to study Art and Design at American Academy of Art and School of the Art Institute. As a graphic designer and illustrator, he has run a successful design studio with a Fortune 500 clientele. As an instructor, he teaches design and illustration and painting at the post-secondary level—most recently—Spelman College.

    Palmer's work is in private and public collections which include Atlanta Life Insurance, McDonald's Corporation, Miller Brewing Company, the Coca Cola Company and Vanderbilt University. In 2020, TIME Magazine turned to Palmer for the cover of their July edition titled "America Must Change" and earlier that year, his portrait of John Legend became the cover art for his album "Bigger Love." Palmer's previous work His Story, belonging to the estate of Maya Angelou, was auctioned by Swann Gallery in 2015. His work was commissioned for the 1996 Olympics and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    He completed a project with the Green Bay Packers which features art for the Lambeau Stadium. Palmer also illustrated two children's books, There's A Dragon In My Closet and Mama Africa—a children’s book chronicling the life of Miriam Makeba—for which he received the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, GA. Learn more at

    Charly Palmer is represented by ZuCot Gallery. Visit their website at

    Artist's Work

    Left: the cover of TIME's "America Must Change" June 26, 2020 issue. Cover art by Charly Palmer. Image courtesy of TIME. Right: Charly Palmer's portrait of John Legend, which appeared on the cover of his album "Bigger Love."

    How To Participate

    This free virtual program will be streamed on the Gantt Center's official YouTube channel.

    Gantt Center's YouTube channel

  • About The Host

    Dexter Wimberly is an independent curator who has organized exhibitions and programming in galleries and institutions around the world including The Third Line in Dubai, The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, KOKI ARTS in Tokyo, The Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Wimberly’s exhibitions have been reviewed and featured in publications including The New York Times and Artforum, and have received support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. He is the co-founder of the financial literacy platforms Art World Conference and Art World Learning. Wimberly is also a Senior Critic at New York Academy of Art, and founder and director of the Hayama Artist Residency in Japan.

    Learn more about Dexter Wimberly at

  • About Open Air

    Open Air is a monthly series of virtual studio visits and intimate conversations with Black contemporary artists across the United States. Join us as we get a behind-the-scenes look at exciting new art as it's being created while connecting particular works to some of the most pressing issues of our times. Historically, African-American artists have been compelled to make their own way within the art world, challenging traditional ideas of cultural representation and creating their own systems of merit, criticality, and reward outside of the mainstream.

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