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Unmasked: An Introspective Conversation with Creatives

  • About This Program

    Local creatives reflect on the multi-layered effect the pandemic has had on their lives.

    For this special installment of Unmasked, we sit down with some of Charlotte's brightest local creatives for a transparent conversation about the current climate, and how it has heavily influenced their artistic experience.

    With a combination of vulnerable perspectives and diverse input, we will cover some of the challenges and advantages the pandemic has presented to creatives both personally and professionally. We will answer questions of innovation and mental health in the creative sphere during this difficult time, along with relevant resources for all creatives and art consumers of the alike.

    The evening's facilitator, creative consultant Dave Butler, joins photographer and image activist Alvin C. Jacobs Jr., painter and gallerist Whitney Austin and muralist and educator Bree Stallings as we dive deep into analyzing the effects of COVID-19 from an artistic viewpoint.

    The discussion will be streamed via the Gantt Center's YouTube live channel at 7 pm on Tuesday, May 12.

    To contribute your perspective to the conversation, please complete a 2-minute audience survey here.

    Gantt Center's YouTube channel

    How To Participate

    Viewing this program is free and open to the public. To chat during the program and contribute your perspective, you will need a YouTube account with a Gmail email address prior to the program. If you do not have a YouTube account, click here for a step-by-step tutorial on creating a YouTube account.

  • About the Facilitator and Panelists

    David J. Butler

    David J. Butler is a Charlotte native and creative consultant working in arts, education, and culture. Currently working for the Whitaker Grp - as Director of Community Initiatives he leads community engagement efforts for three store brands across nearly 15 cities nationwide. He is a founding member in Hue House, a Charlotte based creative agency that supports culture and community by providing resources and funding opportunities for those who create and preserve them. Dave also co-owns AWOL - a creative development firm bringing context to culture through education and curated experiences.

    For the near future, Butler continues to create opportunities and drive conversation around the necessity for North Carolina to invest in creative industries and pursue projects that peak his creative interests through his private consultancy and art practice.

    Bree Stallings

    Bree Stallings is a Charlotte-native artist, muralist and illustrator who also writes curriculum and teaches for many of Charlotte's major nonprofits and institutions, including the Gantt Center, where her work, an interactive sculpture, Unwanted Southern Conversations is also on loan.

    Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr.

    Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr., a native of Rockford, IL, is a professional photographer and image activist currently living in Charlotte, NC. He is also the 2018-2019 Gantt Center artist-in-residence who was commissioned to photograph the award-winning images in the Gantt Center's exhibition Welcome to Brookhill. His distinctive aesthetic is marked by a propensity toward highlighting stark contrast and in dealing in the black & white - both in photography and in the world. This talent for capturing the heart of his subjects on camera has led to him being named one of Charlotte Magazine's 2018 "Charlotteans of the Year" and Creative Loafing's "Best Photographer of 2018." Welcome to Brookhill also received top honors by Creative Loafing readers as "Best Exhibit of 2018."

    Whitney Austin

    Whitney Austin is a nationally renowned artist who has toured all over the United States showcasing her work representing African American culture and history. Known for her sold-out art showcases, the Charlotte, NC-based Austin quickly grew to prominence after opening two art galleries and counting a number of art-celebrating celebrities as clients.

    Austin's brand and artistic ventures have expanded from original paintings to live paintings at events, paint classes, prints and webinars designed to help others launch their own successful art galleries. Just like her art, Whitney is many things. Her touch is modern, yet soulful and abstract but realistic. Her pieces bring a calming sense of peace but are painted with power showcasing culture and history.

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