Isaac Luski's art collection is a melting pot of the world -
abstract structures from Czechoslovakia and iridescent vases from Italy
On Saturday, the Luski family shared the collection with the
community at the Foundation For The Carolinas' free open house. The
artwork was one highlight at the foundation's new facility at 220 N.
Tryon St. in uptown Charlotte, and the open house marked the first time
the public could check out the new location.
"It's for philanthropy," Isaac Luski said about donating his art.
Luski moved from Cuba to Charlotte in the '60s. He says his love affair
with art didn't begin overseas: It began closer to home on a visit to
the Penland School of Crafts, just outside Spruce Pine. Now, he wants to
share his collection with the foundation.
Foundation For The Carolinas is a nonprofit corporation that aims
to serve individuals, families, nonprofit groups and corporations as
they make a positive impact on their communities. The organization is
one of the largest community foundations in the Southeast and is also in
the top 10 community foundations in the United States.
Once headquartered at 217 S. Tryon St., the foundation was
"busting at the seams" in its 36,000-square-foot center and needed to
expand, said Leslie McCray, director of communications for the center.
In January 2008, the foundation celebrated 50 years in operation
and decided to campaign to raise money for a new headquarters. Bank of
America donated the North Tryon Street building that was at the time
occupied by the Mint Museum of Craft + Design.
The new 80,000-square-foot building, named the Luski-Gorelick
Center for Philanthropy, features artwork donated by Sonia and Isaac
Luski, who contributed a significant portion of their mostly glass art
collection to the organization.
"Glass is healing," Isaac Luski said. "You look at it and it makes you feel better."
Funds were also provided by Carol and Shelton Gorelick, Patricia and William Gorelick, and Rose and Abraham Luski.
"I believe that art inspires action," said Michael Marsicano, CEO
of Foundation For The Carolinas. "To have a space with creativity all
around you and that's free of charge to use will benefit the community."
Visitors were able to see the stories of more than 60 local philanthropists who are honored at the facility.
A mobile tour and touchscreen kiosks helped guide guests through
conference rooms, four floors of displayed art, two rooftop terraces
with views of uptown and a legacy hall that featured donors.
Guests on the first floor were
mesmerized by the Luski art collection, which featured a number of
rotating glass prisms and spheres that reflected rainbow colors onto the
white walls as light passed through.
"I'm just overwhelmed," said Sandy Roork, a neighbor of the Luski family. "This is just too special."
Robin Cochran, who lives uptown, echoed Roork's comments, saying
she was thrilled to see the donated collection. "These are phenomenal in
the way they move and have light shining through."
While Cochran said it is inspiring to look around the building
and see the names of philanthropists and other individuals in the
community who have donated art, she worries about the future.
"This generation of donors is going away, and now there have to
be young people willing to come in and do the same," she said.