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The Arts Gallery (Gallery)

“Art”—meaning the visual arts—is often separated from “the arts,” a shorthand that actively segments creative expression into disparate parts: music, dance, painting, literature, and more. In this gallery the broad spectrum of “the arts” is presented together to understand each in new and vital ways. For instance dancing celebrates the bodily response to a piece of soaring music, while a photograph of a dance performance captures the moment in perpetuity. As museums continue to rethink what can be shown or expressed inside their walls, the integration of various art forms plays a key role in reimagining visitors’ experiences.

At the North Carolina Museum of Art, we have commissioned dance performances in our galleries and held intimate concerts in the same spaces. Our musical playlists, often highlighting a single artist or artwork, allow visitors to consider visual art from new perspectives. Throughout this installation, we are showcasing some of our favorite works of art from across all areas of the collection—art inspired by dance, music, theater, and poetry. We invite you to consider how the definition of “the arts” can continue to be expanded or transformed.

Curatorial Department
North Carolina Museum of Art

Listen to Megan Salazar-Walsh play this musical sculpture. This sculpture includes multiple slender beryllium copper rods placed close together. Each rod is topped with a thick solid cattail knocker that produces a meditative tone when struck.

In 2021 the North Carolina Museum of Art commissioned the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) dance program to create and perform original choreography that explored rituals of lament, release, and hope. The dance was an extension of The Beautiful Project’s installation at the NCMA, Memory Is Ritual: A Remembrance of Ourselves, part of the exhibition NC Artist Connections.

Masquerade societies are not singular, isolated organizations. Instead they exist on a spectrum, ranging from the most secretive to the most entertainment based, in order to respond to the various needs of a community. Artists intentionally create the most beautiful and spiritual masks on one end and the ugliest, raunchiest masks on the other, with numerous other genres in between. In this video you will see part of an Egungun Festival at the Oyotunji African Village in South Carolina.