Artists in Theater
The Artists in Theaters program commissions local artists to showcase their artwork that is in conversation with the themes of touring Broadway shows. AIT was created to integrate the Charlotte visual arts scene with the institutional performing arts, to get local artists to participate as audience members in our shows (for many of whom it is their first show experience), and to showcase our impressive local artists to a new audience of interested patrons and supporters.
Learn more about Artists in Theaters
Madelyn Hernandez (they/he) is a Charlotte-based illustrator who focuses their time on making Black, curvy and queer mermaids and fae. Through their fantasy-based art Mad prioritizes representing souls of color and of various sizes and gender/sexual identities reflecting their pool of peers and friends. By challenging the stereotype of this traditionally white avenue of art-making, Mad shows that even in, and especially in, the fantastical world, we can be and look like anything.
Tiya Caniel is a North Carolina-based Black, queer creative who thrives when she is well-fed, loved, rested, and connected with joy. She creates to flourish. By working in different mediums, it allows her to play and lean into her personal liberation. She aspires to incite feelings of joy, curiosity, intrigue, self-expression and liberation through her works.
Carla Aaron-Lopez is an artist-educator from Charlotte, NC. After graduating North Carolina Central University in 2006 with a BA in Graphic Design, she moved to Atlanta to attend Savannah College of Art & Design. In 2009, she graduated with a MFA in Photography and in 2012, received a MA in Printmaking. In 2010, she began her teaching career at Fort Valley State University as an adjunct professor and has been a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools arts educator since 2014. King Carla describes herself as an Artist, Mother, Educator and Villain. When asked about her work, she says: "Here are my goals as an artist: create multidisciplinary images and text that is centered around celebrating American Black culture from the dirty South, women of color as cosmic super beings and the natural language of the American Negro. I wear the upside down crown of villainy until you recognize me as king. Heavy is the head that wears the crown."
Nicki Rhodes is a multi-media artist and painter in Charlotte, NC. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She currently works as a freelance artist in her studio. Nicki pursues work utilizing a variety of mediums including traditional oil/acrylic on canvas. She incorporates embroidery, collage, digital media, and installation works in her craft as she explores pushing the limits of her practice.
Into the Woods
Into the Woods Of Our Own Memories
The artist, Malu Tan, has lived in many places. She was born in the Philippines, moved to London in adulthood, crossed the Atlantic to New York City, and now lives and works here in Charlotte. Like many Charlotte transplants, Tan is no stranger to the transitory feelings of nostalgia and longing for a familiar place. “I hope that my installation will remind viewers of the importance of finding joy in the present, even when they are far away from home,” Tan expressed. During the run of Into The Woods, visitors will see the real blossoms of suspended Yoshino cherry trees, whimsically hanging in the rotunda of the Belk Theater. Entitled ‘When I Think of Home,’ the living installation takes a literal cue from the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Fairy Tales - Dreamy or Nightmarish?
This series of mono-prints for Into The Woods expands on a project I’m currently working on inspired by the original Grimm's fairy tale editions of 1812 and 1815 highlighting the dark side and social issues of the stories very much in line with James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s take for the book and musical. In 1812 the Brothers Grimm released their first edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen, now known as Fairy Tales, which was a collection of stories gathered in Germany that had often been spread orally. These stories were recorded in the way they were told and are quite different from the Disney versions known today. They are sexist, misogynistic and often horrific. While magic is frequently featured making the stories feel like make-believe, many of the issues they contain are still true today. The stencil technique I use for the mono-prints allows for not only beauty but a haunting feeling and mystery which I feel complements our relationship to these stories. Our society still struggles with violence, murder, oppression, poverty, and abuse and they still happen within families as they do in the Grimm’s stories. Pulling elements from the story and creating prints that feel both haunting and storybook-like, this series explores the fantasy, absurdity, and social issues contained in the stories. Life is beautiful and ugly, hopeful and tragic, full of wonder and fear. You are invited to step into the fairytales and reassess what your assumptions are. Is it really a magical place or a nightmare? Has our society evolved or do we just pretend that it has?
Fine Lines and Life Lines
Elisa Sanchez is an artist and tattooer in Charlotte, NC. She draws with ink and fire on a variety of surfaces. Her body of work treads the line between print and fine art illustration, both in style and concept.
"My drawings center around aesthetic juxtaposition. Soft lines drawn on a hard surface, floral elements disturbed by decay, life interrupted with death. A consistent thread throughout my work is the combination of natural elements combined with the uncanny."
Come From Away
Freedom Through Curiosity
"I am creating a surreal world without gravity to invoke a sense of freedom, exploration, desire, curiosity and humor."
Starting in the 1970’s Al-Rawi was a political cartoonist in Baghdad, Iraq where he received his BS degree in Education and Psychology. He immigrated to the United States in 1980. Al-Rawi worked as a graphic artist for many companies for over fifteen years. Today he teaches painting at CPCC and he also teaches illustration, comics, and animation for children. Al-Rawi exhibited his paintings locally IN Charlotte, NC at The McColl Center for the Visual Arts, Greenhill Art in Greensboro, Center of the Earth Gallery, and The Museum of the New South. He was selected to paint a public mural for the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Nationally exhibited at The Art Council of Greenwood, SC, New Vision Gallery Marshfield, WI, Ward-Nasse Gallery, New York, and Atlanta, GA. Internationally he exhibited in group shows in London, Cairo- Egypt, Skopje-Macedonia, Baghdad-Iraq, and Amman-Jordan.
Beauty & Hope at the Intersection
MyLoan's piece "One Nation...for ALL", (2017, life vests, whistles, paint, wood).
Born into a Buddhist household in Vietnam, MyLoan Dinh escaped her war-torn country as a child with her family. She moved between refugee camps, resettling as a sponsored family by a Lutheran Church in the Appalachian Mountains, and ultimately found a home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her most recent paintings, sculptures, and installations draw from the shuffling, cross-cultural entaglements that comprise her experiences with faith and identity.
A Soldier's Play
Race & Culture As Artistic Mediums
DAMMIT WESLEY is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses a variety of media to create large-scale works that dissect themes of Race and American Consumerism. He can be located at his studio BLK MRKT CLT in historic Camp North End.
Identity Through Celebration
Photographer | Self-Portrait Artist - Dionna explores Black identity and temporality through her lens, using a Nikon camera. Photography is the medium by which she documents the complexities of Black history, existence, and potential. Her work, both through her self-portraiture and with her muses, stands to empower and represent Black culture individually, collectively, and generationally.
Jagged Little Pill
Sculpture As Pain Relief
Wood block print, wood block and steel sculptures Video
Bethany Salisbury's work focuses on the many layers of an individual's mental health and the animal and plant forms used to communicate those inner narratives with the outside world. Humans are made of countless parts and layers and mental health is a strata of genetics, chemistry, experience, environment, relationships, therapies, exercise and nutrition. The unfiltered truth of animals and plants is expressed through her layers of printmaking, drawing and painting in an attempt to reduce stigma and engage conversation on mental health. Bethany is a recent MFA recipient from Winthrop.
Dear Evan Hansen
Data Visualization As A Social Tool
Data Driven Paintings about Mental Health Statistics Video
Humanity inspires Tara.
She uses paint to study and honor the human experience.
Working with vulnerable populations in North Carolina motivated Tara to create visual representation of their numbers.
Through a variety of mediums, her work is often informed by real-time statistics and explores themes that impact society as a whole such as veteran suicide, mass shootings, issues against women and children and more. During Tara's process, she tirelessly counts brushstrokes and uses symbols that notate specific points in time. Tara's quilted community pieces are created from data-drawings that have been deconstructed and reconstructed as a way to weave various issues and experiences together.
As with all her pieces, Tara's purpose is to grow awareness and start conversations.
For Dear Evan Hansen, she studied mental health data impacting adolescents in North Carolina and across the country.
This series honors youth who are struggling today.
Pop Queens and Celebrating Femininity
Pop Art/Pink Ladies Installation installation
Jen Hill has been doing art full-time for 5 years, and her splatter and sparkle-inspired art is a cornerstone of the city. The Kernersville native and East Carolina University graduate is known for her bright colors, drippy style, and pop art references. Whether she is making Warhol-esque portraits of her favorite female inspirations, or creating large-scale messy masterpieces, Jen is constantly exploring the many facets of her creativity.
To Kill A Mockingbird
Reclaiming Black Joy
Photography light box installation
"When you're a Black man in the South, you see things like big cars, gold grills, gold chains, and other grandiose materials as status symbols. Often, we don’t even know where that thought process of idolization comes from, where did these cultural motifs begin?
What exactly do they represent?
I explore these concepts within my work.
I want to bring these extravagant looks, colors, and mannerisms to current times. I do this in hopes of learning more about myself and the people around me, and what does it mean to be Black in the South and to have value? I want to be able to connect these Black stories together and find our subtle cultural connections, outright or unspoken. Yes, we are all Black but that doesn’t make us all the same, yet we are often viewed as a monolith. Grouped together, we are often negatively seen by those outside of our own culture and especially by those outsides of our own race. This is an exploration in positive group-wide storytelling."
Fiddler On The Roof
Honoring Tradition Through Jewish Futurism
Mike Wirth’s art beams us into a fantastical neon-lite future using digital painting tools and Jewish storytelling. A cosmic visual blend of retro-futuristic aesthetics, illustrative self-portraiture, and mysterious deep blue landscapes, Wirth explores a far-off Jewish future narrative where spirituality and technology have few boundaries. Set a few thousand years from now, Earth is long lost and the tiny sparks from creation as explained in the Jewish mystical text, the Sefer Yetzirah are almost all wholly found.
The protagonist is named "the Wanderer”, a future being whose prophetic mission is to sift the universe in search of the remaining sparks. Without fully knowing the ultimate outcome of his mission, the Wanderer diligently uses special holographic objects that are also high-tech spiritual tools. Objects like hamsas, pomegranates, and Tallis provide the Wanderer with an interface to command inter-dimensional travel, communication, and other spiritual/emotional tracking technologies. In this epic journey, questions about the origin of his lost ancestors on Earth and the universe's fate after the final sparks are all recovered follow the Wanderer across the universe and across his own soul.
Freestyle Love Supreme
Painted a Pillar in the Knight.
Painted a Pillar in the Knight
Dwayne Royall "Dooga"
Painted a Pillar in the Knight.
See Bird Go
Served as B-boys for a lobby performance in the Knight.
Hosted the Lobby Performance.
Beverly Smith, a mixed fiber quilt artist and a retired IB arts teacher who taught at West Charlotte for 20 years, installed some of her intricate quilts in the lobby of Booth Playhouse for the hit musical, Waitress. As the first art gallery-style installation for the Artists and Theaters program, there was shared symbolism between the non-traditional art medium and the musical production: pie. After seeing Smith’s work at Art Basel (specifically a work in Smith’s “Uppity” series called “The Blacker the Berry”), Stallings bridged a connection to Waitress’s main character, Jenna, a pie maker. The quilt incorporates a blackberry pie but also further examines the racial context of the word “uppity.”
Nill Smith is a painter whose art unravels the relationship between Europe and Africa, exposing their shared histories and the effects they had on humanity. During the pandemic, Smith, mentally drained from the heavy subject matter of her art, needed an escape, so she started painting cakes and pastries.
Liz created a pie-themed graphic that was used to cover our metal detectors for the 5-week run of Waitress.
Laurie live painted during our BBLA function and the media night for Waitress, creating an abstracted, bright pie painting.
Jesus Christ Superstar
Afrofuturism And Religious Symbols
Percy King makes three-dimensional mixed media works utilizing skills he has acquired as a carpenter and furniture maker over the last 20 years. Working from photographs, King digitalizes an image into shapes he can cut from various types of plywood and masonite. Layering these cut strips into a three-dimensional relief, he then recreates the image of his subject. To date, most of King's works depict African Americans and their experiences of everyday life.
What the Constitution Means to Me
Memorializing Women's Silent Rage
Doris Kapner is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily in ceramics and printmaking. The daughter of German immigrants and raised in New York, she earned her B.F.A. in Sculpture from Purchase College in 1994 and has worked in art galleries, as a TIG welder, police officer, homemaker, loss prevention manager, visual merchandiser, yoga teacher, and art instructor. This fluctuation between typical male and female roles informs her work. Doris began working in ceramics in 2015, creating undergarments, dresses, and handkerchiefs, often adding needlework and crochet, influenced by her upbringing. She has been exploring printmaking since 2022 as a selected artist of the Studios at McColl Center program in Charlotte, North Carolina where she has her studio.
Ain’t Too Proud The Life and Times of the Temptations
Jaianna McCants, a local visual artist who uses vinyl records as a canvas, created a Temptations-inspired step and repeat backdrop.
These artists kicked off the program as they were hired to live paint during the media day opening for Wicked, our first show back in theaters during a long respite in the pandemic.
Gil Horne Jr.
Additional Creative Works
Bridgette's abstract oil paintings were used as the graphics for BPA metal detectors, housed at the entrance in all of our theaters.
Kat's woven textile pieces were used as the graphics for generators and light fixtures that are used at the Charlotte International Arts Festival.
For Charlotte Conservatory Theater's production of WITCH in the Booth Theater, artists Hillary Siber and Chad Cartwright were commissioned to create installation pieces for the lobby space
MyLoan Dinh, curated show of artists for Moving Poet’s version Little Prince @ Booth I would change to change the picture and title from MyLoan to Moving Poets and say "For Moving Poets' production of Little Prince in the Booth Theater, Moving Poets co-founder MyLoan Dinh curated a show of artists in the lobby with themes relevant to the iconic show".