Art is important on the Charlotte scene, as the many and growing number of art galleries and museums clearly demonstrate. However, these aren’t the only places where you’ll find artwork. Many other types of businesses, from hotels and banks to restaurants and wine bars, hang art on their walls. The biggest art collection of all belongs to Bank of America, rumored to be the largest corporate collection in the country, having absorbed the considerable holdings of FleetBoston, Security Pacific and numerous other banks, including the significant collection of North Carolina art owned by NationsBank. Former CEO Hugh McColl Jr. supposedly quipped, “We don’t collect art; we collect banks.” While the Bank of America Gallery in Charlotte’s Hearst Building recently closed, the bank displays items from its collection throughout its international headquarters on a rotating basis.
Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge
10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway
Charlotte, NC 28277
On the walls of the Ballantyne resort hang 17 oil paintings and more than 30 watercolors, originals by Thomas Vieth. The artwork, all showing various Charlotte landmarks during the spring, was commissioned by owner Smoky Bissell especially for Ballantyne. In addition to these large-scale works, several of Vieth’s preliminary watercolor sketches are also on display, giving guests insight into the artistic process. A number of works by other artists are located throughout the property as well, including a selection of local and regional artworks from Shain Gallery in The Spa at Ballantyne.
Related: Best Public Art In Uptown Charlotte
300 N. College St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Founded in 1997, Cosmos pioneered eclectic dining in the Center City and has been committed to local art from its inception. The interior of the restaurant and its unusual design are the work of Yugoslavian-born artist Boris Tomic, who now resides in Charlotte and has done murals in both the Baoding Restaurant and the Wine Vault. One of the unique features at Cosmos is the Microcosm Gallery, a separate room overlooking College Street. It hangs changing exhibits by local artists and is often used as a special event venue. Colorful artwork hangs throughout the restaurant as well, surrounding the large circular bar and upstairs in the Thirsty Lounge.
Crave Dessert Bar
500 W. 5th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Located in the former Camden Cotton Mill building on the west side of Uptown, Crave satisfies the late night crowd’s hunger for an intimate, upscale gathering spot, with an ambiance made up of equal parts sharable small plates, delicious sweets, hand-crafted cocktails and local art. The weathered brick walls and comfortable couches make the perfect setting for a continually changing display of local artwork and fine photography. Fruit-flavored hookahs and a big selection of wines by the glass add to the unique vibe. All art is available for sale directly from the artists.
FABO Coffee Art Bar
8428 Park Road
Charlotte, NC 28210
For several years, FABO on Selwyn has been a favorite hangout in the Myers Park neighborhood. This summer, the coffee shop/wine bar moves into expanded quarters in Quail Corners Shopping Center, bringing its artsy vibe to South Charlotte. A full-service coffee bar serving specialty drinks, snacks and dessert items created by local chefs, along with a carefully selected wine list, are offered amid a relaxed coffeehouse setting. The work of some 60 local artists, including pottery, paintings, photography, jewelry and more, decorates the walls and is available for sale.
The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte
201 E. Trade St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Hundreds of pieces of art, including many by local and regional artists, decorate the lobby and meeting rooms of the Uptown Ritz-Carlton, one of the city’s most elegant and upscale hotels. Prominent among them are some 70 pieces by North Carolina potter Ben Owen III. The Owen family has been hand-crafting pottery in Seagrove, North Carolina since the 1700s and is one of the founders of the traditional Carolina style. In addition to the pieces in the Ritz-Carlton collection, selected pieces are available for purchase daily in the hotel’s exclusive Ben Owen Pottery Gallery.
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.