Charlotte Art League: an introduction

The Charlotte Art League, Charlotte’s oldest nonprofit art gallery, reopened in NoDa North at 4100 Raleigh Street in October 2018. Charlotte Art League, or “CAL” as its members refer to it, is the anchor tenant at the Station House, a mixed-use development campus located at the Sugar Creek Lynx Light Rail stop.

The Station House is a part of the Trailhead Adaptive Reuse Project, founded by Tony Kuhn and Flywheel Group. Kuhn and his team are redeveloping the space along the light rail and along the newly opened Sugar Creek bridge. When completed, the space will have a multitude of diverse tenants including arts and culture groups, nonprofits, offices, restaurants, and more. The project is on both sides of the Sugar Creek bridge, and a green space is planned under the bridge as a connector for the spaces.

The Charlotte Art League is thrilled to be in their new space at the Station House after losing their lease in South End to developers in late 2017. CAL currently occupies over 8500 square feet of the former Source Recycling warehouse. CAL offers wall display space and studios for artists at below market rate. Members of the Charlotte Art League are also eligible to enjoy discount entry fees in the organization’s monthly gallery exhibit, higher commission rates on pieces sold, opportunities to exhibit offsite, and special members-only workshops, talks, and programs.

As a nonprofit, CAL is committed to providing art opportunities to all populations. In addition to regular art programming open to the public, they also partner with numerous local agencies and outreach organizations to provide an art community that is specific to the organization’s needs.

UMAR holds weekly art workshops for their adult members with cognitive and developmental challenges, and Lifespan, a similar group, showcases their work at CAL. CAL also sells work from participants of Speak Up, the city’s homeless publication. Inspire the Fire has their training and rehearsal space for their youth members at the gallery, and this summer CAL is planning to have their first summer art camp for students on the autism spectrum. Guerilla Poets holds monthly poetry sessions in the CAL gallery, and SHIFT has life development meetings for at-risk youth. The Charlotte Art League has also hosted classes for Metrolina Association for the Blind (MAB) and has had special exhibits for the LGBTQ+ organization Time Out Youth, Mental Health America (MHA) of Central Carolina, and several schools and small community groups.

While work will continue at the Trailhead for the next year, the Charlotte Art League is excited about the completion of the Sugar Creek bridge and their easy access to the gallery via the Sugar Creek light rail stop. With CAL’s multitude of free and low-cost community art events, they hope to get with their business neighbors in NoDa and other groups along the Lynx Light Rail to develop a monthly Light Rail Crawl that will include art galleries, cultural offerings, and brewery stops.