Charlotte Millennial Art Program Creates a New Type of Young Professionals Group

March 26, 2018 5:21 pm


When the word millennial comes up in conversation or in articles, it’s usually associated with social media, student loan debt or avocado toast. But what about art?  

The Charlotte Millennial Art Program, also known as MAP, started with the idea to introduce young professionals to art and to learn about something new. Despite the name, the group welcomes members who are millennial in age as well as millennial at heart. 

“The vision of this organization is that it’s a way to try to get young people into art galleries and get exposure and learn something that they may not be exposed to in their normal day to day,” says Colin Keil, the president of the Charlotte MAP.   

CLT MAP was founded in 2016 with the help of Larry Elder, who started Elder Galley in South End. Keil was one of the first members in the group, attending the inaugural event after he saw it in his Facebook feed. Keil and the CLT MAP steering committee now work closely with Sonya Pfeiffer, the current owner of Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, who has continued to support MAP when she took over Elder Gallery earlier this year. 

“They’re our sponsor for this entire series and we’re very grateful,” says Keil. 

Thanks to Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art’s support, CLT MAP’s speaker series is free to attend. The small, intimate discussions typically have around twenty to thirty people each month and have covered a range of topics over the years. 

“In the early days we did an art history lesson, kind of a brief, 30-minute overview of art history since the cave paintings,” says Keil. “We had a live painting demo from Stephanie Neely, who is a really talented artist who works in oil pastel. We’ve also had Carmella Jarvi, who is a glass artist.” 

Each regularly scheduled meeting takes place on the last Wednesday of the month. There’s no need to join MAPs ahead of time or register in advance, just show up for a free informational presentation along with local beer and snacks.  

“Wooden Robot is very generous and has provided wonderful beers and Queen City Catering has been a great partner to us for snacks,” says Keil. “Art and beer, how could you go wrong?” 

For their March event, CLT MAP will welcome Wendy Hickey, the founder and executive director of ArtPop Street Gallery, a program that brings art to unexpected places.  

 “I know that her unofficial title around town is the Fairy Art Mother,” says Keil. “Her goal for art pop, which is kind of similar to our goal for CLT MAP, is exposure and putting art in people’s faces in places and locations that they may not be exposed to it normally.” 

 Along with their monthly events, CLT MAP has also started doing field trips. 

 “We do events the last Wednesday of every month as a regular meeting time but we do try to schedule some extracurriculars,” says Keil, citing a recent trip to Charlotte pottery studio Clayworks. “We did an actual hands-on pottery demo and class.”  

CLT MAP has more exciting experience-based events in the works and hopes to announce them soon. Through these learning opportunities and monthly informative discussions, CLT MAP has created a new type of young professional organization.  

“A way to learn was something I didn’t really find in a lot of young professional groups,” says Keil. “There’s certainly a lot of networking, which is great and is certainly a valuable part of any young professionals association, but the thing that makes this unique and why I wanted to help out with it was because there’s a teaching focus.” 

Learn more about CLT MAP and sign up for their email list to learn about upcoming events here. 

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