Information on:

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture

551 South Tryon Street

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture presents, preserves and celebrates excellence in the art, history and culture of African-Americans and those of African descent.

We ignite engagement and conversations that inspire, empower and enlighten all.


During the 1960s college campuses across the United States were vibrant with student protest movements. The campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) was no different. Students held sit-ins, demanding a forum to acknowledge the rich history and contributions of African-Americans in this country. After much discussion, campus leaders heeded the rallying cry of the students and developed a process to structure what became the Black Studies Center. Bertha Maxwell, an associate professor at the University served as the Center's first director. She also emphasized the importance of students giving back to the community.

Also at the time Mary Harper, a young assistant professor of English at UNCC pursuing her doctoral degree, became aware of a growing desire among African Americans to preserve Charlotte's historical legacy, increasingly jeopardized by "urban renewal" activities. Harper sought out Maxwell with her concept for an Afro-American Cultural and Service Center (AACSC), an idea that Maxwell quickly embraced. UNCC President Bonnie E. Cone, a strong supporter of Maxwell's commitment to preserving and promoting African-American history, joined the effort to establish the goals and principles that would make the cultural center unique.

They collaborated with influential elected official Fred Alexander, along with other progressive leaders including UNCC Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Dr. William M. Britt, Dr. William S. Mathis, Dean of Humanities at UNCC, Harry Golden, a Jewish writer, and Mamie L. Brewington, a long-standing community leader who served as the first board chair of what ultimately became the Afro-American Cultural Center (AACC). The AACC came to fruition under their guidance to provide the public with access to African-American culture through a broad range of exhibitions, presentations in the performing arts, innovative educational programs and a link between the greater Charlotte community and the university. To this day the spirit of collaboration with UNCC remains.

Since its founding in 1974, the dream of the first visionaries has elevated to unforeseen levels. Located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, October 2009 marked the opening of the Afro-American Cultural Center as the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. The naming of the new facility is in honor of Harvey Bernard Gantt, a well-respected community leader and businessman. He is a trailblazer as the first African-American student admitted to Clemson University and later served as Charlotte's first African-American mayor. This humble leader continues to impact the lives of the local citizenry and individuals well beyond the borders of Mecklenburg County.


Boss- C-

Friday, July 6, 2018
Amazing African-American culture and history in the artistic form! I went to GroupOn and got a great deal for two visitors at the Harvey Gantt Center. It was affordable and I felt so cultured. I highly recommend that you donate and visit! The building is a little chilly/ bring a wrap/jacket. (You're welcome!)

Ebony Collins

Sunday, July 1, 2018
We enlisted the services of the Gannt Center for our June 2018 wedding. We utilized the rooftop area for the ceremony and the reception and was completely satisfied with every member of the Gantt staff involved in the creation of our vision. In particular, Chanel Davis, Director of Special Events and Merchandising, was hired as our Same Day Coordinator and was the BEST decision we made when it came to the wedding! She was punctual, professionally, detailed, organized and knowledgeable of the logistics of a wedding inside the Gantt Center walls. She and her staff were vital to our special day and we HIGHLY recommend using the Gantt Center for your wedding and hiring Chanel as your coordinator.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Beautiful museum! I love the community outreach events and the various exhibitions. They change exhibitions a couple of times a year, so it's nice to go back and see work by different artists.

joyce christian

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Absolutely love this place every time I go the people are the nicest. I've been here quite a few times in the exhibits are always amazing and the music is great

Russell Gaines

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
From Cotton fields to Skyscrapers. This museum is very tasteful and educational. A must see as with the beautifully laid out city of Charlotte.

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media