10 easy ways to get involved in the Charlotte arts and culture scene

Figure Drawing at Birdsong Brewing. Photo by Sarah Pollock

Feeling inspired by all the murals popping up all over town and the great concerts coming through the city this summer?

Here are 10 easy and inexpensive ways to get involved with the local arts scene by trying a new skill, meeting and supporting local artists, and exploring your creativity.

CLTextile Fiber Arts Meetup

Come learn about textile arts at the monthly fiber arts meetup with CLTextile. Pick up a project such as a weaving or embroidery to bring and get tips from other crafters, or just come make new friends and learn about what other crafty people and artists are creating. Also, you can pick up a Friendship Trays lunch while you’re there.
When: The last Friday of every month, 10:30 AM 12:30 PM
Where: C3 Lab, 2525 Distribution St, Charlotte, NC 28203
Cost: Free. Lunches available to purchase to benefit Friendship Trays starting at 11:30 a.m.

Take a spin on the dance floor with the Charlotte Westies

Learn to West Coast Swing, a casual and relaxed dance centered around social interaction, creativity, and fun, with the Charlotte Westies at their weekly swing dance at Lynn’s. The beginner’s lesson included in the cover charge will get you acquainted with the basics. After the lesson, join dancers of all experience levels and try out your new moves to everything from top-40 hits to old jazz standards at the social dance.

When: Tuesday nights, 7-10 p.m. See website for details.
Where: Lynn’s, 4819 S Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC, 28217
Cost: $6 cover, beginners lesson included in cover charge

Dancing with the Charlotte Westies Photo by Elizabeth Abowd

Discover Spoken Word art with the Guerrilla Poets’ Free the Mike Nights

Come listen to spoken word art, and maybe even give performing a try at the biweekly Free the Mike night hosted by the Guerilla Poets. Guerilla Poets are known for using untraditional methods, such as flash poetry mobs, to introduce poetry to the public and “empower, uplift, and inform others through the arts.”

When: 7:30-9 p.m., every second Wednesday. See Facebook page for exact dates.
Where: Mugs Coffee, 5126 Park Rd., Charlotte, 28209
Cost: Free

Write a new hit single at free Using your Unique songwriting workshops

Dear Soul Music Company is offering free songwriting workshops throughout the month of August. Come work with local singer-songwriter Arsena Schroeder and learn everything from basic songwriting components to how to protect your songs with copyrights in this series of collaborative and interactive classes. Register here. 

When: Friday nights at 7 p.m. from Aug. 10-Aug. 31
Where: Sugar Creek Recreation Center, 943 Sugar Creek Rd, Charlotte, 28213
Cost: Free

Support the local arts by volunteering at the Charlotte Art League

You don’t have to be an artist to support the local arts scene. The Charlotte Art League, a nonprofit gallery space and art education center, needs volunteers for its new location at the Station House. Volunteers can greet visitors at the front desk, provide guided gallery tours as docents, or learn to hang pieces of art and set up exhibitions. Also, stay tuned for art classes and more public events coming this fall.

When: Contact Brooke Gibbons at brooke@charlotteartleague.org to set up a time
Where: 4100 Raleigh St, Charlotte (at the Sugar Creek Light rail stop)
Cost: Free

Find your inner artist with a workshop led by local artists

Local artists and activists Elizabeth Palmisano and Bree Stallings are offering an opportunity to learn about the creative process through a 12-session Artist’s Way seminar. This series of discussions and activities in a group setting will inspire and challenge participants to explore their individual voice and unlock creativity. Both Stallings and Palmisano also offer private art lessons in their studios. Purchase tickets and find more information here.

When: 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday nights from Sept. 13-Dec. 6
Where: C3 Lab, 2525 Distribution St, Charlotte, NC 28203
Cost: $132 for the 12 week session. Costs go up after Aug. 25.

Discover a new craft at a SkillPop class

Skillpop classes offer a chance for to discover a new craft without a huge time investment. Take one of these two-hour classes from a local expert and pick up a new craft after work. Topics range from modern watercolors to terrarium design. Check the website often and sign up fast if you see a class you’re interested in –classes often sell out.

When: Various times.
Where: Various locations throughout the Charlotte area. Check website for details.
Cost: Most classes cost about $30. Materials are included.

Channel your inner Kerouac with Charlotte Lit

Charlotte Lit offers many opportunities for budding writers or book aficionados to connect and get involved in the local writing scene. Charlotte Lit holds many events thoughout the year such as readings from local authors, writing craft classes, and an open writing studio for members. A notable upcoming event is the 4X4CLT poster release party on Aug. 31, with a reading from poet Cecily Parks and artist talks from local artists Linda Foard Roberts and Ruth Ava Lyons. Check the Charlotte Lit website for more details.

Where: 1817 Central Avenue, Suite 302, Charlotte, 28206
Cost: Many events are free. Membership is $7 a month.

Try figure drawing in a casual setting at Birdsong Brewing

Give figure drawing a try with a free-drop in class at Birdsong Brewing led by Sarah Pollock. A model will hold several poses for you to sketch while sipping on a jalapeno pale ale. Bring an open mind and your favorite drawing mediumSee calendar listings here.

When: 7-9 p.m. every other Wednesday.
Where: Birdsong Brewing, 1016 North Davidson St, Charlotte NC 28206
Cost: Free, but beverage purchases are appreciated.

Learn about photography at The Light Factory

See the best new modern photography exhibits during open gallery hours at the Light Factory in Plaza Midwood, then take your interest in photography a step further with one of their beginner workshops. These interactive classes teach participants to see like a photographer and provide a forum to give and receive feedback from other budding photographers.

When: Check website for gallery hours and workshop times.
Where: 1817 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
Cost: Gallery Admission is free, workshops are $220 for members and $275 for non-members.


  1. Considering Charlotte is predominately populated by people of color, why is this list of ten activities so devoid of community diversity? Is it simple laziness by the writer to bother researching beyond her knowns or is it the writer’s social indifference to the needs of Charloteans beyond her purview?

  2. For those in the Lake Norman area, take a class at Arts For All! We have Friday night paint&sip and classes throughout the week for adults AND kids.
    The best part? We are committed to serving our community, so all profits benefit scholarships for students and teacher enrichment prorgams, because we believe that by serving teachers, we can reach more students! Check us out at http://www.raarts4all.com

  3. As an arts enthusiast and advocate, it’s absolutely appalling to see such a bland representation of Charlotte’s arts & culture scene on this list. To the author of this article as well as the editor/editing team, I strongly suggest that you all step both feet into the Chocolate creative conclaves of Charlotte and immerse yourselves into the world of our artful expressions.


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