Thursday, February 21, 2013

Art and History

Last weekend our Allie drought finally ended. Praise God! If was so wonderful having Allie back with us and our family complete. As usual, we crammed a lot of quality time into a short amount of actual time. I'm gonna break this into two posts so it doesn't drone on forever!

Zach took Saturday off so he could spend more time with Allie. We decided to spend it checking out some of the sites downtown we had never visited before. One of them was the McColl Center for Visual Arts.
Located in Uptown Charlotte, the MCVA is located in a former Presbyterian church. This gothic-revival structure was designed by J.M. McMichael and built in 1926.
Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, the church's membership dissolved in the 1950s.  The building was sold in 1981 and stood empty for many years. In 1984, a homeless woman sought refuge in the abandoned structure and accidentally burned it down. Nothing was left but an empty shell. For over 10 years it sat, black and crumbling, until Bank of America bought it with the intent of establishing an urban artist's community. Four years later, the 30,000 sq ft renovation was complete. The doors of the McColl Center have been opened since 1999 and it is now a nationally acclaimed contemporary art center dedicated to connecting art and artists with the community. The center houses 9 artist studios and more than 5,000 sq ft of gallery space that is free to the public. The artist studios are filled with artists participating in the residency program which is dedicated to supporting artists from every corner of the globe. Due to the cyclical nature of the residency program, new artists are constantly moving in to the center so there is always something new to see.
I love this brick
Walking through the galleries

Our favorite collection was by Mary Tsiongas
Favorite piece
Using green screen effects, a figure is superimposed on a landscape painting by Albert Bierstadt. The figure interacts with and appears to digitally manipulate the painting. This piece explores time, as well as a historical space between painting and digital media.

Exploring amazing studio space for residences
and their work
After a delicious gluten-free lunch at Toast
we headed over to explore the Billy Graham Library. Zach and I were stunned that Allie had never heard of him before! The Billy Graham Library is actually not a library at all. We were stunned by the 40,000 sq ft facility that shares the life and legacy of America's most famous evangelist. Designed to reflect Billy Graham's journey from "a humble farm boy to an international ambassador of God's love," the barn-shaped building is situated on 20 beautiful acres not far from the place Billy Graham grew up.

The tour starts with Bessie, a talking cow from Billy's childhood farm
and includes everything from video footage from the beginning of his ministry
to equipment from his radio show
to a plethora of memorabilia and photographs from his life. 
Billy Graham's preaching bible
Travel bag and passports
Guns turned in by converted gang members
Photographs of Billy with everyone from Walt Disney to Martin Luther King to Johnny Cash. He was also a spiritual consultant to 11 US presidents. 
Billy's motorcycle, given to him by some foreign dignitary
At the very end of the tour, after the final theatre, there is an array of illuminated, glass crosses that lead to a humongous Thomas Kincaid painting. 
Allie holding one of the crosses
About 1/4 of the Kincaid painting
In addition to touring through the library, Ruth Graham's grave site, and memorial prayer garden, you can also tour through Billy's childhood home that has been restored and relocated to the property. The house was originally built in 1927 on a dairy farm about 4 miles from where it stands today.

Zach and Allie walking inside
You can walk through the main floor of the house which includes the living room, dining room, office, sitting room, and kitchen. It's pretty cool to see all this old stuff in pristine condition. It's like going back in time. :)
The Billy Graham Library truly impressed us. Not only were we blown away by the story of Billy Graham and how it was presented, but by how intentionally they created the library to be a place that people can come to know and follow Christ. This truly carries on Billy Graham's legacy while bringing Jesus all the honor and glory. We totally recommend you visit this place (it's free) if you ever visit Charlotte. 

All in all we had an awesome art and history day exploring the treasures of Charlotte. I love our city and my family!

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