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North Carolina Is A Mecca for Art Lovers
North Carolina has hundreds of museums and galleries to suit art aficionados – you can find great collections in cities and villages from the mountains to the coast.
The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh has a wide collection ranging from local works to international masterpieces. The new light-filled wing has European masterpieces and American classics, and there are 29 Rodin sculptures, including The Thinker, plus a Picasso, Egyptian mummies, and African tribal art.
In Charlotte, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art just opened in 2010 and already is a major collector of mid-century modern art – there are works by Miro, Picasso, and Warhol. The Uptown Mint Museum has internationally-renowned collections of American, contemporary, and European art.
The Asheville Art Museum has an outstanding permanent collection of regional and national works and curated projects focusing on items of contemporary interest. On the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts has paintings from prominent local artists.
North Carolina’s quaint towns are home to fantastic galleries. Some of the best in are beautiful Blowing Rock – stroll Main Street and step into the Main Street Gallery or the Rock Galleries of Fine Art.
Frank Horton Museum Center in Old Salem
Located in Winston-Salem, the Frank Horton Museum Center in Old Salem is an informative and historic stop in the Piedmont region. Be sure to visit the museum and catch a glimpse of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts exhibits.
The Horton Museum Center also houses perks like a gift shop and the Old Salem Museums and Gardens Research Center and Library as well. Guests can also book special event and get-togethers at the MESDA Auditorium.
Cedar Creek Gallery
For the art aficionados visiting Creedmoor in North Carolina’s northern Piedmont Region, the Cedar Creek Gallery is the answer. Created in 1968 on a former tobacco field, the gallery started as one building, and has since expanded to over 10 structures.
Cedar Creek Gallery offers space for onsite, resident artists producing pottery, blown glass, and more. Events include the National Teapot Show, the Spring Festival, the Fall Festival, and the Art of the State show.
The Cedar Creek Gallery campus is also home to the Museum of American Pottery.
Sam Bass Gallery of Motorsports Art
Located in the town of Concord in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, the Sam Bass Gallery of Motorsports Art is a delightful stop outside of Charlotte for any and all NASCAR fans. The gallery showcases artist Sam Bass’ extensive collection of NASCAR artwork, including numerous paintings and prints.
Also found at the gallery is Bass’ collection of NASCAR products, including helmets, uniforms, and sheet metal designed by Sam Bass himself. The gallery also houses a great deal of souvenirs, collectibles, replicas, and more.
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture
Chock-full of outstanding Piedmont area history, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African America Arts and Culture is a four-story cultural hub, showcasing African American art contributions. The center frequently brings in new and enticing exhibits – while past exhibits include the Kinsey Collection, African American Art Since 1950, America I AM, and so much more.
Visitors enjoy perusing the permanent collection at the Charlotte Gantt Center, housing works by artists like Jacob Lawrence, Ann Tanksley, and Romare Bearden. The Gantt Center hosts a full calendar’s worth of events as well, including workshops, live performances, and film screenings.
Hickory Museum of Art
Established in 1944, the Hickory Museum of Art is located in downtown Hickory, set in the Piedmont Region of western North Carolina. HMA is North Carolina’s second oldest museum, and houses 19th, 20th, and 21st-century American art.
The Hickory Museum of Art is part of downtown’s SALT Block along with other cultural sites like the Catawba Science Center, the Patrick Beaver Library, and the Western Piedmont Symphony.
Mint Museum Randolph
Located in Charlotte, the Mint Museum Randolph was opened in 1936 and holds the title as the state’s first art museum. Visitors enjoy viewing the extensive galleries and exhibits featuring collections like Ancient Americas, European, and African art.
Other attractions at the Mint Museum Randolph include the reference library, a dazzling theater, and, of course, the museum gift shop so guests can take home their own unique piece of art. Explore the museum by your own accord, with either a self-guided or group tour.
Mint Museum Uptown
Located in Charlotte, the Mint Museum Uptown houses extensive collections of contemporary American and European artwork. The awe-inspiring building was built in 2010, encompassing five stories and 145,000 square feet. The primary, permanent exhibit is the Craft + Design collection – featuring numerous ceramics, woods, glasswork, and much more.
Visitors will be treated to plenty of amenities as well, including the Jakes B. Duke Auditorium, the Lewis Family Gallery, and a restaurant and gift shop as well. The museum frequently hosts workshops and lectures, so visitors can truly get the most out of their experience.
North Carolina Museum of Art
The vibrant Capital City of Raleigh began displaying an art collection in 1929, a few years after the North Carolina State Art Society was formed. It marked the formation of the North Carolina Museum of Art. By 1947, authorization was given by the North Carolina legislature to purchase American and European artwork. It remains the country's first art museum to be created from state funds.
Visit this impressive art museum to view the variety of art from the African, American, Ancient American, Egyptian, European, British, Spanish, French, Italian, Northern European, Modern, Contemporary and Judaic art collections. Stroll through the 164-acre Museum Park, showcasing the outdoor art collection and enjoy walking along the three-mile path.
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art
Edifying experiences across North Carolina are plentiful – from the many different children's museums across the state, to some of the best playhouses and community theaters. During your next visit to Winston-Salem, be sure to explore the very popular and always enriching Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.
Found northwest of downtown, near Wake Forest University, the SECCA is a premier arts and education destination in the state. Admission is always free at SECCA, and it's been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1979. SECCA was originally founded as the Winston-Salem Fine Arts Gallery in 1956. Visit today and enjoy a guided tour.
Asheville Art Museum
Experience a selection of the local flair and culture in North Carolina. Founded in 1948, the Asheville Art Museum is a leader in the North Carolina Mountains cultural scene. the Asheville Art Museum offers guests the chance to preview outstanding collections of 20th and 21st century American art in Asheville.
You'll discover great art at the Asheville Art Museum, much of which focuses on work significant to the southeast. As the only community-based nonprofit visual arts organization in western North Carolina, the Asheville Art Museum is a must-visit attraction, and 50,000 square feet within is truly a sight to behold.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Located in Charlotte, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art features 36,500 square feet of modern art collections. The museum was founded opened in 2010 and now houses an impressive collection of post-WWII artwork.
The collection is split into three focuses – the European Perspective, the School of Paris, and American and British Artists. Designed by renowned architect Mario Botta – the museum’s architecture is a sight to behold in and of itself.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Located in Winston-Salem, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art is a great place to visit for history buffs in the Piedmont region. Set in the over 1,000-acre home, the museum features permanent American art collections ranging from the colonial to modern era.
Guests frequently enjoy visiting the home and touring the grounds on foot, as well as exploring Lake Catherine which is located behind the museum. The Babcock Wing Gallery features great temporary exhibits in the 3,000 square foot gallery.
Arts of the Albemarle
Located in a century-old former department store, Arts of the Albemarle is the focal point of an increasingly flourishing arts community in Elizabeth City. Vibrant varieties of art, music, theater productions, and more can be found here.
Regular events, such as on the first Friday of every month and their “SPLASH” during the first week of June, are often held here to the delight of all its North Carolina coast visitors.