Located in Uptown Charlotte, McColl Center for Visual Art is located in a former Associate Reformed Presbyterian church. This gothic-revival structure was designed by J.M. McMichael and built in 1926. Between 1927 and 1950 the church was one of the city's most active with more than 500 members. Due to several factors, including the decline of the Center City and post-war growth of suburban areas, the church's membership dissolved in the 1950's. The building was sold in 1981 and stood empty for many years. On November 14, 1984, a homeless woman sought refuge in the abandon structure. To keep warm she piled a stack of wooden chairs onto a small fire which soon raged out of control. Within hours, one of Charlotte’s landmarks was nothing but an empty shell.
In 1995, Bank of America acquired the church for the sole purpose of establishing an urban artists' community. With the vision and support of the Bank, Hugh McColl and the Arts & Science Council, the 30,000 square foot structure was designed FMK Architects and was built by Rodgers Builders which completed the renovation in 1999.
Today, McColl Center for Visual Art is a nationally acclaimed contemporary art center dedicated to connecting art and artists with the community. The Center houses nine artist studios and more than 5,000 square feet of gallery space which is free and open to the public Thursday and Friday 2-7 PM and Saturday from 11 AM to 6 PM. The Center welcomes the community to view the exhibitions, meet resident artists in their studios and expand their understanding of contemporary art.
Artists inspire critical thinking and positive change. They interpret the past and invent the future. McColl Center for Visual Art's residency program is dedicated to supporting artists regionally, nationally and internationally while promoting contemporary art. Fusing regional character with a national perspective, the Center is a place where artists work, conduct research and participate in outreach projects which extend into the community.
McColl Center for Visual Art is a nationally renowned, urban artist residency experience, and a state-of-the art laboratory where contemporary artists develop their work, the Center’s contributions transcend art-making. Through partnerships with hundreds of individuals and institutions, the Center is a catalyst for positive change, a nexus of inspired community-making. These partnerships are the lifeblood of McColl Center for Visual Art. Unlike many artist residency programs where artists are sequestered in out-of-the-way places, Center artists develop their work in full view of enthusiastic and increasingly interested urban audiences during terms that vary between one to eleven months. The Center has hundreds of energetic partnerships with schools, non-profit organizations, foundations and corporations that add power and meaning to each artist’s context and content.
McColl Center for Visual Art is supported, in part, by a Basic Operating Grant from the Arts & Science Council, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; as well as the North Carolina Arts Council with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art; and the generosity of corporate and individual donors.