13 Blumenthal Fellows Showcasing Work at CIAF

Sep 21, 2022 / Press Releases

Blumenthal Performing Arts is bringing some of the most exciting contemporary international artists to Charlotte for CIAF, the ambitious, fun-filled arts and culture festival that will infuse the city with more than 200 things to see and do NOW through October 2nd. In addition to bringing international artists, 13 local artists with the Blumenthal Fellowship Program are showcasing incredible work at various festival locations from Uptown to South Charlotte. The Fellowship Program is one of the many ways in which Blumenthal is committed to uplifting the local talent that is abundant in the Queen City. For more information about CIAF, visit charlotteartsfest.com


Blumenthal’s dedication to local artists was cemented with Immersive Van Gogh, for which the performing arts center employed 52 locals to participate in ways big and small, from painting Van Gogh–style picnic tables and murals, to selling merchandise in the gift shop, to the Artists-in-Residence program, which provided funding, studio space, and exposure to the exhibit’s huge number of guests for 15 local artists. 


Blumenthal has continued to spotlight local artists with the Artists-in-Theaters program as a regular part of its theater season. For every Broadway show, a visual artist is engaged to display work at the theater that compliments or is inspired by the themes represented on stage. 


Now, with CIAF, local artists have even more opportunities to showcase their work, from assisting in building large-scale installations by visiting international artists to participating in the Blumenthal Fellowship Program, the new initiative that highlights local artists and the incredible array of innovative works they are creating. The 13 Blumenthal Fellows participating in CIAF were originally scheduled as part of the program’s former iteration with Charlotte Shout!’s Made in CLT. Due to the pandemic, many of the fellows’ installations were put on hold; now, they finally have the opportunity to showcase their work in a big way with CIAF. Installations will be on display in various locations throughout the city, from Romare Bearden Park to Ballantyne’s Backyard.


“We are so pleased to finally be able to present these Blumenthal Fellows artists,” says Bree Stallings. “After opening the applications a year and a half ago, to see them being built and installed is such a vision fully realized. There is nothing better about my job than to show local working artists ways to interact with the ‘big dogs’ of the installation and performance art world and have our audiences see both, side by side. I am so excited to see our crowds react with these pieces and to see where these artists end up next, and we are forever grateful to be a small steppingstone along these talented artists’ career journeys.”


More information can be found at charlotteartsfest.com


Projects by the Blumenthal Fellows include: 


Tree of Life

By Angela Kollmer

Constructed primarily out of reused, clear plastic bottles, this massive tree boasts a complex root system through which you can physically walk. During the day, it appears opaque. However, at night multi-colored illumination highlights the connections of the different branches, like a circulatory system. As you take notice that this remarkable tree is made out of what is in your own trash can, the title, “Tree of Life,” becomes ironic as there is nothing living about this tree. There is no way that anyone can manufacture a living, breathing tree. The wonder will slowly become somber as you realize these hundreds of upcycled plastic bottles are only a fraction of what Charlotteans use each year.


September 16–October 2, Romare Bearden ParkFree.  




By Audrey Baran and Ryan Persaud

Grid is a movement and music collaboration between Charlotte-rooted artists Baran Dance and Sweat Transfer. Unset to a dynamic, electronic score, this structured improvisation explores themes of chance, coincidence, and collective pattern making. Each weekly performance will offer a unique composition created in real time, reflecting the ephemerality of collaborative and collisional experiences. 

Sep. 23 and 30, Romare Bearden Park. Free. 


QC Crown Towers

By Blumenthal Fellows Jason Payne and Bunny Gregory 

Five towers form the five points of Charlotte’s ubiquitous crown logo. Each tower is a representation of the ingenuity and ideals of the artists Jason Payne, Bunny Gregory, and other local artists. The people of the city are the ones that bring it to life with their energy; each tower is illuminated from within to illustrate that the crown shines forth from all involved in the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area.

September 16–October 2, Ballantyne’s Backyard. Free. 


I Am

By Blumenthal Fellow David Butler

With so many amazing reasons to love the City of Charlotte, it can be easy to forget what makes the city shine…its people! Artist and Charlotte native DavehasWingz documents the city center and its visitors with limited edition Polaroids. If you find Dave roaming the streets of uptown, simply ask him to take your picture and he will gladly provide you with a free memento that will serve as not only a reminder of an amazing night in the city but also a constant reminder that people are what help Charlotte shine and our voices are what help Charlotte be great.

September 16–October 2, Ballantyne’s Backyard. Free. 


Heart and Sole CLT

By Destiny Wilson

Experience Charlotte’s most memorable and notable places through the contribution of the community in a most unconventional fashion…through the Air Jordan 1 High OG. Heart and Sole CLT preserves the city’s soul and history and combines it with the present by using the iconic shoe of one of Charlotte’s most famous residents, Michael Jordan, former professional basketball player and owner of the Charlotte Hornets, as the canvas.

September 16–October 2, Brooklyn Collective. Free. 


Wishes and Whispers

By Elizabeth Palmisano

Wishes and Whispers invites the public to engage with art in a playful way and reveal the wishes of Charlotteans hidden within. At first look, the artwork is faint and partially concealed, but once guests trigger the sensors, Whispers illuminate from behind and unveil dreams from the Charlotte community. Some Whispers require visitors to work together and activate multiple sensors simultaneously to reveal their message. 

September 16–October 2, Levine Avenue of the Arts. Free. 



Brooklyn: The Collective Memory

By Justin Hicks

The Collective Memory project commemorates and celebrates Charlotte’s once vibrant Black Wall Street community known as Brooklyn — upholding the legacies of those who came before us one brick at a time. The interactive experience invites people to learn the history of the once flourishing Brooklyn neighborhood through life-size portraits, archival books, and documented videos of former residents sharing their stories. Shedding light on urban renewal and the displacement of minority communities as a by-product, this immersive experience gives visitors an understanding of how we navigate the effects of moving people in and out of spaces as infrastructures grow. Collaborator: Sam Hoggs.

September 29–October 1, Studio 229. $5. 


Queen Charlotte’s Secret Garden

By Kimberly McGuire

Did you know Queen Charlotte was an amateur botanist? Imagine what her garden may have looked like and who she may have allowed to visit. Come and take a peek at this playful fantasy, with its enchanting scenery and colorful, light-filled surprises at night. 

September 16–October 2, Ballantyne’s Backyard. Free. 



PopBridge Creative Arts

By Meghan Nance

Cross the little red bridge for hands-on art creating, music making, and body moving fun! The littlest festival visitors (ages 2-7) can wander freely between interactive story time, a colorful open art table, a silly dance party, or calming sensory play as they are invited to touch, make, scoop, splash, dance, listen, draw, watch and wiggle. 

September 24 and October 1, Ballantyne’s Backyard. Free. 


Color Play

By Moving Poets (MyLoan Dihn and Till Schmidt) 

Come get immersed in the spirit of creativity, as a visual artist directs a dancer to use her body as her paintbrush. Everybody’s turn, footstep, and hip sway drive the development of the colorful and dynamic 15′ x 12′ performance painting. Through key phrases and creative triggers, a unique visual story unfolds connecting the painter, dancer, and audience. The artist also paints with large format tools: a mop, squeegee, broom, and leaf blower. The audience experiences the creation of the painting live and from multiple points of view through real-time live projection mapping (the painter’s perspective, bird’s eye view, stage view). There will also be an opportunity for audience members to direct the dancer. Participation is encouraged but not required.

Sep. 23–24, Booth Playhouse. $5. 

Mazing Shadows

By Blumenthal Fellow Oliver Hopkins

Mazing Shadows asks you to take an adventure with friends and family through a labyrinth constructed out of shadows. Try your best to navigate the many twists and turns and along the way enjoy a dazzling display of shadow-based art forming a beautiful world anyone can get lost in wandering and wonder.

September 16–October 2, Ballantyne’s Backyard. Free. 



By Rebecca Lipps and Thomas Whichard 

Just as water is life, without water, this art project does not exist. H20 is an interactive mural that requires visitors to splash it with water to reveal hidden imagery and messages. The message of H20, “Without water… this does not exist,” contains a double meaning. First, the plants and animals depicted in the mural were chosen because they depend on water to survive. Second, the imagery of the mural is hidden by a hydrochromic surface and can only be seen through the application of water. As you play and discover the art, consider water’s impact, and be kind.

September 16–October 2, Romare Bearden Park. Free. 



The People’s History of Charlotte

By WonderWorld

A short filmed to be displayed on the facade of the historic building, scored by CSO. 

Exact location to be revealed. Stay tuned! 


For CIAF events, tickets, performance times, and more, visit charlotteartsfest.com.


Watch the website and follow CIAF on social for updates, location details, and surprises! 

@cltartsfest     #cltartsfest