National Arts Program

​​​Meet the Judges​

Lee Baumgarten​

“My goal is to tell a story of cultural diversity, accenting and highlighting our 'likeness' through communicating that we are all passionate about living a dynamic life full of promise and sharing community visions of purpose, reason and value” - Lee Baumgarten

Lee Baumgarten, a Charlotte native, is a painter, sculptor and visual artist whose works have been included in corporate and private collections across the United States and middle Europe. He has lived and produced in Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Florida and the Carolinas. He was an instructor at the Columbus College of Art & Design before founding Gallery 237, which later evolved into The Civic & Cultural Arts Center in Pineville, NC. He is a passionate advocate of the STEAM concept in public education. He recently restored Charlotte's beloved Hugh McManaway statue, which was returned to its original location in Myers Park on November 13, 2018 after a yearlong absence.


​​​Lauren Harkey

Lauren Harkey, a Charlotte native, earned a B.A. with distinction in art history and psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduation, Lauren interned with Carla Hanzal, the former Curator of Contemporary Art at The Mint Museum and the current director of public art for The Arts and Science Council. Lauren earned her master of letters in modern and contemporary art with distinction from the University of Glasgow in association with Christie's Education in London, England, and her thesis was titled Common Borders: The Contingent Subject in Contemporary Art.

Lauren graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 2014 and is licensed to practice law in North Carolina. In law school, she won a national writing competition for her art law independent study paper titled Copyright's Identity Crisis in the Reflection of Contemporary Art. Since returning to Charlotte after her graduate work, Lauren has been actively involved in the arts community and currently serves as president of the Board of the Young Affiliates of the Mint Museum. 

In 2016, Lauren joined Christie Taylor as a partner and consultant with Hodges Taylor. Hodges Taylor was founded in 1980 by Dot Hodges and Christie Taylor and operated as reputable gallery representing southeastern artists for more than 30 years. Today, Hodges Taylor operates as a consulting firm and exhibition space that helps businesses and individuals begin or continue to build art collections.

​​Jonell Logan

Jonell Logan is a collector, independent curator, arts advocate and founder of 300 Arts Project, LLC. 300 Arts organizes exhibitions and professional development opportunities emerging artists and works with museums, colleges and collectors to expand and document their exhibitions and collections. Its mission is to support equity and diversity in arts engagement through the presentation and investigation of contemporary art. 

Recent curatorial projects include Lilith, an international photography exhibition of women artists, including Allison Janae Hamilton, one of the newly announced 2018 artists in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem; and Kidnapped Pagans, a public/private installation of work by Antoine Williams, recent awardee of a 2017 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.  

Logan has worked at a number of arts organizations including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina; and the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is currently on the board of The Light Factory.

As an arts advocate and public speaker, Logan has presented numerous lectures and artists conversations across the country. She recently spoke at the Tweed Museum in Duluth Minnesota and was a presenter at Pecha Kucha Charlotte, and TedX Charlotte.