The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Romare Bearden Park opens this weekend with special events taking place August 30 through September 1. The 5.4-acre park located at 300 South Church Street pays homage to Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden, who is best known for his textured collages and modernist blending of abstraction and representation. Although Bearden spent most of his adult life away from Charlotte, he maintained family connections to the Queen City and often portrayed nostalgic recollections of the rural South.
The park’s design is meant to evoke elements of Bearden’s life and work, with two large gardens that reference the paintings “Madeline Jones’ Wonderful Garden” and “Maudell Sleets Magic Garden”; a Big Moon lawn for informal play and event gatherings; the Childhood Muse Plaza with an interactive water feature; the Paris Memory bistro reminiscent of the Parisian parks Bearden visited while studying in Paris; and finally the Evocative Spine, which has water and art features and serves as the main thoroughfare through the park. Importantly, the Romare Bearden Park will be host to arts events throughout the year, with a music series from April to September, art and photography classes, five art shows a year and festivals celebrating Bearden’s life.
The Mint Museum Uptown, just a block away from the new park, has the largest collection of Bearden’s work, having organized two nationally touring exhibitions “Romare Bearden, 1970-1980” and “Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections.” The Mint also features a permanent Romare Bearden Gallery devoted to his work. For the grand opening of the park, the Mint will led free Bearden-themed tours at its Uptown location at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Tours will depart from the corner of MLK and Church Streets, 15 minutes before the tour’s scheduled start time.
A range of festivities will kick off the grand opening of the park. Concerts, dances, poetry, drum circles and children’s art activities will last the whole weekend. For a full schedule of events, check out the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation site.