The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture announced today that it will honor renowned architect and museum designer Philip Freelon with its “Spirit of the Center” award for community impact at its Jazzy Holiday Gala. The annual black-tie event, hosting along with presenting sponsor Bank of America, will take place on Saturday, December 2, 2017, beginning at 6:00 pm at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom. The gala will feature cocktails, dinner, awards, entertainment and dancing. Jazzy is the Gantt Center’s major annual fundraiser and provides an opportunity for the institution to showcase the breadth of its community outreach programming and impact on arts and cultural education. This year, the Gantt Center has selected Philip Freelon for service to the community because of his numerous contributions to preserve African-American culture through the building of arts and history organizations. Freelon will be joined by fellow Spirit of the Center awardees, celebrated wood artist Charles Farrar and global civil rights legal group Ferguson Chambers & Sumter, P.A.
“Philip Freelon is a very good friend of the Gantt Center and we wanted to honor him as a show of appreciation for all that he has done for the city of Charlotte and the other cities where his talent has left an indelible mark on the community,” said Gantt Center President & CEO David Taylor. “As the design architect for award-winning museum and cultural projects across the U.S. such as the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, Emancipation Park in Houston, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, Philip’s work will provide generations of African-Americans with access to their historic and cultural artifacts and exhibitions.”
Freelon practices architecture that engages the community and enhances opportunities for interaction and learning. His design achievements include cultural, civic, and academic buildings produced for some of United States’ most respected institutions, including the Gantt Center and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, for which he served as lead architect. Freelon is the Design Director of the North Carolina Practice of the architectural firm Perkins + Will and also serves on the firm’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
He has served as an adjunct faculty member at North Carolina State University’s College of Design and lectured at major universities across the country, and is a longtime member of the faculty at MIT’s School of Architecture+Planning. Freelon’s work is regularly published in national design journals including Architect, Metropolis, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, and Contract magazine. Freelon is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including: Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, recipient of the AIA North Carolina’s Gold Medal, President Obama appointee to the United States Commission of Fine Arts and recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.
Funds raised at Jazzy provide critical operating support for the Center and its educational and community programming that uses the arts as a stimulus for much needed community dialogues. One of the longest running annual traditions in the Charlotte area, the Jazzy Holiday event is a collaboration of talent, philanthropy and artistic expression. This year, the event will feature a number of artists and entertainers with Charlotte ties, particularly to the former Afro-American Children’s Theatre Charlotte. A highlight of the evening is a raffle of various excursions or experiences including local and regional travel, a Charlotte staycation, and studio visits with artists. Award recipients will receive a hand-crafted vessel made by Jazzy honoree and Gantt Center guest curator Charles Farrar.