Explore Charlotte

Abstract Art With Heart: Charlotte's Sozo Gallery

How Hannah Blanton turned a fund-raising soiree into a gallery showcasing local artists, making it a must-stop on the city's art circuit

In 2003, Hannah Blanton noticed numbness in her feet. That numbness started moving up her leg and a week later, she was immobile. She was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Today, Blanton runs Sozo Gallery uptown and uses art to help her heal.

Q: Why did you decide to open Sozo Gallery?

A: After organizing the Carolina Art Soiree (an annual event that supports local artists and benefits the Guillain-Barré Syndrome Foundation) for four years, I was approached about opening an art gallery. From the Carolina Art Soiree I was lucky to connect with more than 50 different artists in the Carolinas.

Q: What is your art background?

A: Being surrounded by such a beautiful city, I always admired and took interest in the arts, music, performance and art galleries. Traveling to Austria, Italy and Germany as an exchange student certainly gave me great roots. I’ve also been to beautiful art museums and studied collections in France and England.

Q: What type of art do you show?

A: We are primarily a mix of colorful, energetic abstracts or representational abstracts of North Carolina or Charlotte landscapes.

Q: Sozo seems to really promote local artists. Why?

A: Our local artists are sought after and are in galleries in Charleston, Atlanta, Florida, San Antonio and Miami. When we support our own people and our own community, it benefits all of us.

Q: What types of artists and exhibits can we expect to see this summer?

A: We’ll continue to host early-to mid-career artists and always have local art. We will be introducing a young vibrant artist this summer and her most soulful, large abstract works.

Q: Do you host any special events at the gallery on a regular basis?

A: Our goal is to have a featured artist every eight to 10 weeks and have a larger display of works along with our other artists. We have artist receptions regularly.

Get there: To visit Sozo Gallery, head to the Hearst Tower uptown, 214 North Tryon St., Charlotte, N.C.