BEST NEW BUILDING/ATTRACTION
Afro-American Cultural Center
While the new NASCAR Hall of Fame will do as much to improve Charlotte’s ritzy cracker image as an Iranian cyclotron, literate folk who still have all their teeth can point with pride to the new Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture a couple of blocks west at the crossroads of Tryon and East Stonewall. Standing boldly like a giant wedge of smoked gouda, Gantt Center’s upward aspiring facade triumphs over the design challenges of the site’s 45x400 footprint. The four-story $18.6 million fromage is set to officially open with a “Where You Belong” gala on Oct. 17. That’s when the public can begin to savor the Gantt Center’s state-of-the-art galleries and classrooms — and a new museum store! — a quantum leap from the Afro-Am Cultural Center’s former hub on Myers Street. With a multipurpose theater/lecture hall, the Gantt will glow golden in the night while offering enlightenment within.