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The arts impact others immensely, and it probably can’t ever be measured in full

6 Aug

By Scott Walker Cunningham
Davidson College Education Scholar


Scott Cunningham

When I came to Davidson College, I arrived as a wrestler. I spent my high school days between three varsity sports, and while I always held creative interests, I never invested much in them. But by the end of my first semester wrestling was no longer an option.

Fast forward to the spring and my best friend began teaching me how to take pictures on his camera. I started uploading my early work onto social media platforms and caught the attention of Aly Dove ’16 who won a grant to run a photography teaching program called YouthMAP in the upcoming fall at the Barium Springs Home for Children. She asked if I would mentor some students in the program and I accepted the offer.

Though a bumpy experience in the piloting process, the program went well and we concluded the semester with a Gala showcasing our participants’ work. One student, Carlos, talked about how he brought some of the pictures on a rare visit home, and when he showed them to his parent they started crying—and then his brother started crying—and his grandma too. I realized that our entire semester, for me, really had nothing to do with photography. It was all about creating that moment for Carlos, providing him with the opportunity to work for something he and his family could connect over.

This inspired me to pursue the Davidson College Education Scholars program and an internship with the Arts & Science Council to learn more about the non-profit sector and arts-based teaching. I split my time between the ASC office and their digital and media literacy camp held at spirit square under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Ann Temple.

In the office I researched best practices for afterschool programs and created a report on the most measured methods of success.

At camp, where the ASC’s Studio 345 program runs during the school year, I saw the human element that researchers could not convey in their work. There are some parts of education that seem to go beyond the data, and cannot be quantified in numbers.

If you took these opportunities away from the students, something would be missing. Morelia’s movie on Abekh’s dance moves, the song Childhood Memories recorded by Da’Quan and others, and the many other instances of cup stacking, Claymation, laughing, and photographing—these happened at camp, and without camp they wouldn’t have happened.

With my internship concluding, I will begin channeling my experiences with afterschool programming back into YouthMAP, which brought me here in the first place. But I continue to ask myself if I think it’s all really worth it, and if photography can actually make a difference for these kids.

Well, I’d like to remind myself and others that, two years ago, my friend Jack taught me how to take pictures in the spring. The simple pleasure that started as a creative outlet opened one opportunity after another and brought me to where I am today.

I’m happy to be living evidence of the impact I hope something as simple as photography can have on someone’s path. I hope we will always remain faithful to those factors in education that are organic, human, and sometimes difficult to measure.

A Systemic Understanding of Injustice

5 Aug

By Scott Cunningham
Davidson College Education Scholar

In a previous blog I discussed experiences teaching a specials course on Writing Rap Lyrics during ASC’s Digital & Media Literacy camp. These past few days since then I have researched many of the different afterschool opportunities in the Charlotte community and something struck me—there are scant few programs based around rap music. This confuses me because rap music holds such a powerful hold over young individuals throughout the Charlotte area, leaving me to wonder why afterschool programs are not focusing on such a fundamental interest of its community.


In this image, the vine represents a community and the barbed wire represents injustice. Sometimes in society, injustice dictates how a community will grow.

Several weeks ago I spent the weekend with some fellow Davidson College students in Washington, D.C., meeting with various individuals about the educational sector on a federal level. One of the most memorable meetings, however, took place in the office of ONE DC, a grassroots activism group focused on fighting gentrification and providing affordable housing.  Initially I wasn’t sure how the group related to education until Ms. Lee shared a few words with us and put things in perspective. Ms. Lee is an elderly black woman and a longtime resident of D.C. When she spoke, her voice conveyed a slight tremble, but one that seemed to come from wisdom acquired over many experiences.

She spoke all about how creating change in a community requires “a systemic understanding of injustice,” a degree of immersion in the culture and the people one wants to serve. Without understanding culture, even the best efforts can dissolve into toxic charities.

Back in Charlotte, I wonder if service organizations truly understand the people in need of assistance. I hope afterschool programs being created to serve students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are designed with the interests of those students in mind. Understanding the culture of a community is inexplicable to assisting it, and I feel the Charlotte community must always meet this standard if it hopes to help the various citizens of its vibrant and diverse community.

The beginnings of progress towards this state of acceptance are, in my belief, through first remembering the commonality we share as human beings. Students titled at-risk, as one example, carry a heavy burden. This label can appropriate an illusion of innate inefficiency that puts them at a higher risk of failure than other children. The term, however, does not mean these kids are broken and need fixing; they are disadvantaged and need some extra help. They are just kids like all the others.

In the same way, when approaching communities in need of assistance, it will do well to remember that they are not inherently broken and need fixing. A culture that differs and is disadvantaged is not disadvantaged because of its differences. For this reason, having a systemic understanding of the injustices people face is the only way of separating the circumstances from a community’s identity and assisting it towards progress.


In the end, statistics and labels are not the things that matter to a community. Rather, what matters to a community are the commonalities we share as human beings.


Project Scientist one of ASC’s initial 2014-15 investments in cultural community

1 Aug

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

A program that encourages young girls to develop their talents in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is being strengthened, thanks to funding from the Arts & Science Council (ASC).

ASC recently announced an initial investment of $6.6 million in the local cultural community to fund 49 neighborhood cultural projects, festivals, programming in all Mecklenburg County municipalities, and support the operations of 22 cultural organizations.

Project Scientist is one of the many programs receiving funding through ASC's initial 2014-15 investments in the local cultural community.

Project Scientist is one of the many programs receiving funding through ASC’s initial 2014-15 investments in the local cultural community. (Photo courtesy Project Scientist.)

“Providing access to cultural experiences that are personally empowering and transformative is fundamental to the continued growth of our community,” said ASC President Robert Bush. “ASC invests in an array of arts, science, history/heritage and community-based projects that are not only educational, entertaining and enriching, but also keep our region fun and fascinating.”

Among those investments is Project Scientist, which started three years ago with summer programs conducted in the guest home of founder Sandy Marshall before finding a home at Queens University and expanding this year to a second site at Trinity Episcopal School in Charlotte.

Marshall had decided to do something about the disadvantages girls and women have in STEM majors and careers.

Project Scientist “stemmed from my desire to provide better opportunities for my two young daughters and other girls in the community,” she said. “By looking at the factors that affect a girl’s perception of ‘who is a scientist’ and ‘what does a scientist do,’ we developed a pipeline for girls that nurture their growth over the course of their educational experience.”

Project Scientist will receive a $5,000 ASC Cultural Project Grant to develop and implement a quality method and curriculum that integrates STEM and the arts in its summer programming for girls ages 4 to 12.

“Ours is the only program to start girls as young as four years old, even though the research says that for girls and minorities, you need to get them interested in science at 4, 5 and 6 years old in order to prevent gender and cultural biases from setting in,” Marshall said.

After relying on community artists to volunteer their time to work with girls in the summer program last year,

Project Scientist encourages young girls to develop their talents in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Project Scientist encourages young girls to develop their talents in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). (Photo courtesy Project Scientist)

the grant will allow Project Scientists to pay teaching artists this year. It makes a real difference, Marshall said.

“If we didn’t have funding from ASC, we would be relying on interns to do the arts component of our camp,” she said. “This grant allows us to get the best of Charlotte in here to inspire the girls.”

On one recent afternoon, several elementary-aged girls created poems about explosions, bones and other concepts they’d been learning about. Another day, they worked on life cycle quilts, altering the color of the cloth by boiling down objects from nature and basing their work on stages of the life cycle.

“It’s exposing the girls to things they normally might not be exposed to,” said teaching artist Amy St. Aubin, “and by utilizing the arts, you’re integrating art forms with science, so it’s cross-cultural learning and holistic learning.”

To view ASC’s first round of investments, click here.

Q&A with New ASC Public Art VP Constance White

31 Jul

By David Fowler
Communication Intern

Constance Y. WhiteLast month, the Arts & Science Council hired Constance Y. White as its new Vice President of Public Art to lead the Charlotte-Mecklenburg public art program. White will bring to ASC 17 years of experience facilitating creative projects from inception to completion. She began her career as an arts administrator at the Office of Cultural Affairs in the city of Dallas, Texas, before moving to San Diego, where she served as Art Program Manager for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. ASC is excited for White to begin her new role in Charlotte-Mecklenburg on Sept. 2. She recently answered a few questions about her experiences, how Greek antiquities sparked her love of public art and what she expects in her new role.

Q:  What attracts you to public art and the cultural sector in general?

CYW:  I focused on Greek antiquities while earning my undergrad. That strongly influenced my appreciation of and cultivated my passion for art in public places and a desire to engage communities through art and culture.  Our human desire to create, present and preserve our art and culture is what makes us civilized. This is what I love.

Q:  Is there a project that you have worked on that you think is particularly important to you or to a community in which you’ve lived? 

CYW:  I think the Green Build as a project is particularly important to the region of San Diego.  It is the largest collection of contemporary art accessible to the public in San Diego.  Over 18 million passengers yearly experience these site specific artworks – some monumental – some very quiet and human scaled. When I arrived to San Diego eight years ago, I was told by most that San Diego is a military town, a beach community and most importantly, “we do not want to be L.A.”  Without offending the majority of those folks, we were able to curate a collection of commissioned artwork that has raised the expectations of what the public will accept for the community of San Diego as a region.  Transforming that mindset has been particularly important to me.

Q:  What are you most excited about in your new role as Vice President of Public Art?

CYW: I’m most excited about getting to know the region and understanding the dynamics of the various communities both collectively and individually.

Q:  Nothing worthwhile is easy. What do you think your biggest challenge will be?

CYW:  I think my biggest challenge will be to pace myself and take one day at a time.

Q:  What do you ultimately hope to accomplish in your new role at ASC?

CYW:  I want to become fully acclimated as an active member of the community.  I think everything else will come naturally.

More than just a trip to Yellowstone

31 Jul

By David Fowler
Communication Intern

A group of students from Studio 345 went to Yellowstone National Park in July on a once-in-a-lifetime camping trip.

But their experience runs deeper than just a trip to Wyoming, thanks to Park Journeys, Inc., a youth development organization which seeks to educate, energize, and empower urban and rural youth through exploration, wellness and civic engagement.

By partnering with Park Journeys, students active in Studio 345 – the Arts & Science Council’s out-of-school youth development program for high school students – have been able to participate in a unique 16-week program focused on community service and stewardship, nature and outdoor experiences, and civic involvement.

pj1During the first phase of the program, which revolved around mental and physical commitment to self and community (with a heavy emphasis on community service), students worked closely with The Relatives, a youth shelter and support system in Charlotte focused on keeping kids safe and families together.

“We’ve hung out with the kids, helped repaint their kitchen, and planted flowers in their garden. It feels good to help people out, and it built up our teamwork before we went on our trip to Yellowstone,” said Jordan Jeffries, a student at Studio 345 participating in Park Journeys. “It forced us to work together like we (had) to do out in the wild.”

The second phase emphasized wildlife, ecosystems and geology. Before their trip to Wyoming, participants prepared for what they would encounter in Yellowstone by going on smaller camping trips locally. Those experiences exposed them to new things and empowered them to be both self-sufficient and a part of larger team while camping in the national park.

“It’s given me an opportunity to get out of Charlotte and do something I’ve never done before,” said participant Daquan Barnette. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to do and see new things.”

The final phase will happen this fall and will focus on participation in and ownership of the democratic process. One local Park Journeys participant will be selected to join Park Journey delegates from across the country in Washington, D.C., to meet with national policy makers, showing students that they have a voice in the democratic process.

“It’s been really great just to work with these kids in the community and in nature,” said Emily Pfahl, one of the trip leaders. “It’s rewarding to give them an experience that they will remember forever and to see them grow as a group in the process. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.”

Thank You From ASC

29 Jul

By Robert Bush

ASC President Robert Bush.

ASC President Robert Bush.

Thanks to the support of public and private donors, like you, the Arts & Science Council has secured $13 million to invest in the cultural sector for fiscal year 2014-2015. These dollars incorporate funds raised through the 2014 Annual Fund Drive, restricted gifts for special projects (such as Project L.I.F.T. intercessions and Knight Innovation), endowment earnings, foundation grants and public funding from the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Arts Council, and Mecklenburg municipalities.

I am pleased to announce that ASC’s Board of Directors has approved allocations totaling $10.8 million for 2014-2015. ASC’s initial awards for the year total $6.6 million. These grants fund 49 neighborhood cultural projects, festivals, programming in all Mecklenburg County municipalities, and support the operations of 22 cultural organizations. Additionally, ASC has received $750,000 that will be passed to Blumenthal Performing Arts for the operations of Spirit Square. We anticipate ASC will distribute $1.4 million in education, $1.2 million in public art and additional project and technical assistance funding in the coming months.

Although ASC is funding organizations and programs, the cultural sector continues to face a revenue challenge. Unfortunately, that challenge has impacted the sector’s work in cultural education more than ever this year.

Due to ASC’s Annual Fund Drive having an $800,000 shortfall on a $6.9 million goal, ASC has suspended its support of arts, science, and history curriculum-based field trips for students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. This cut impacts more than 50,000 CMS students. ASC has also made reductions internally and in other grant programs including Cultural Project Grants, Festival Grants, Technical Assistance Grants and School Grants.

These cuts were not an easy decision to make. Without an increase in financial support from the public and private sectors, ASC cannot sustain the funding for these field trips to Discovery Place, Latta Plantation, Blumenthal Performing Arts and other cultural organizations.

I am happy to let you know that despite the campaign shortfall, there is no decrease in funding to the 22 cultural organizations in Mecklenburg County that receive unrestricted operating support in fiscal year 2014-2015. These grants had been cut annually for years, so it was a top priority to keep the funding level flat to help them retain a strong financial footing.

Even though the cultural sector faces a setback related to the field trips, I am proud of the initial round of investments that will help provide access to cultural experiences that are personally empowering and transformative. I hope you, your family and friends will be able to experience many of them for yourselves.

Thank you again for your support of ASC.

An Investment Worth Making: A Future Pop King?

9 Jul

By Scott Walker Cunningham
Davidson College Education Scholar

2014 Digital and Media Literacy Camp student Abekh El

2014 Digital and Media Literacy Camp student Abekh El

“Do you like your name, Abekh?”

“I don’t like it. I like Jackson 2.”

“Do you feel a certain way when you dance?”

“I just love dancing. And when I dance I feel like I’m famous.”

I overheard this hallway conversation between seven-year-old Abekh El and 17-year-old Morelia Trinidad as they collaborated on a 30 second film showcasing Abekh’s self-proclaimed dance skills.

The project was for a breakout session at Studio 345’s Digital & Media Literacy camp that Abekh enrolled in and Morelia worked at as an intern. Breakout sessions offer afternoon courses that students sign up for by preference, customizing learning experiences for participants. The options this time around included Claymation, piñata making, cup stacking, and movie making. Abekh and Morelia picked the last one.

Dressed in a dark, felt hat and leather shoes, Abekh spun around the room, liable to fling off his hat or spring onto his toes in a Michael Jackson-like manner at any moment. These moves were almost always accompanied by an impressive hip gyration. Once, he even moon walked the near quarter mile from 7th Street Market back to Studio 345.

During more sedentary activities, Abekh was often difficult to settle down. But in the white-walled hallway with cameras rolling, the setting seemed natural for him. Abekh came alive as the music echoed off the walls. He slid, spun, pounced, and clapped between beats. No one was telling him to sit down, and for six straight minutes he danced like the King of Pop was watching in the corner. It was beautiful.

Feeling the groove, Abekh shows off his best moves.

Feeling the groove, Abekh shows off his best moves.

While stories of young talent like Abekh’s are not rare, his opportunity to cultivate those talents in programs like Studio 345’s is much less common. Research shows that this proves true for both Charlotte and the nation as a whole.

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) produced a report in 2009 on the benefits of and needs for afterschool programming. In 2006, “86% of the providers surveyed [by the Afterschool Alliance] said that children in their communities who need after school programs do not have access to them.”

The national statistics correspond on a local level as well.  In 2011, Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Out of School Time Task Force reported around 28,000 of the 140,000 youth in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County (CMC) that were enrolled in afterschool programming.

They also found “an estimated 35,000 additional youth [that] could benefit from afterschool programs,” leaving only 44-percent of students in need enrolled in programming. The demand exists in the CMC community for more programming, but the supply seems short.

The benefits such programs have on students are well documented by researchers. NIOST finds that arts-focused afterschool programs “can increase academic achievement, decrease youth involvement in delinquent behavior and improve youth attitudes towards themselves, and others and their futures.” Despite these findings, the Out of School Time Task Force found only “10% of youth were enrolled in summer programs that year.…[and] an estimated 3,800 youth on waiting lists for free and subsidized programs.”

When the task force approached the listed afterschool providers about this unmet need, they found lack of financial support and shrinking subsidies as commonly cited factors. These providers, however, state that they could meet the needs of additional youth with better financial support, leading to stronger staff, better facilities, and larger enrollment capacities.

The afterschool sector needs both private and public support, but the apparent costs are not as taxing as they seem. Investors and citizens alike capitalize on the social benefits of better funded afterschool programming. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids notes how “[q]uality youth development programs can cut crime immediately into academic enrichment, wholesome fun and community service.”

There are also economic benefits in supporting education. NIOST notes the Rose Institute’s findings that “[e]very dollar invested in high quality afterschool programs save taxpayers on average $3.00.” The World Literacy Foundation also finds a 3.7% increase in long-term economic growth and 6% increase in per capita income for every year that the average level of education is raised, a demonstrated result of well-executed afterschool programming.  For anyone unfamiliar with economics, ask a banking friend. That sort of growth is significant.

Aside from the financial incentives, Teach for America-Charlotte intern, Nate Harding, illustrates the social responsibilities for all citizens in improving education opportunities for youth. “We are stake holders in the future of learning [….] Volunteer, donate, advocate – the form of support you choose to take is of little importance; what matters is that you take action.”

In Studio 345’s media lounge, Morelia edited Abekh’s video on Final Cut Pro, a skill acquired during her time at Studio 345. When I asked Morelia why she decided to enroll in the program two years ago, she said that in fourth grade, she and her cousin wrote screenplays for videos. She loved filming, and when she heard about the opportunity at the studio, she had to sign up.

“I felt lucky, you know? Not many kids get to run into things like this.”

Abekh sat beside her on a dark-leather bench. Both stared at the computer screen while she worked on the video’s transitions. Abekh jumped up from his seat every time he saw himself pounce onto his toes.

“That’s me! I did that.”

Constant mouse clicks ticked over the music like a metronome.

“Yeah,” said Morelia, “Lucky would be the word.”


Abekh giving all the right moves.

Abekh is by no means a criminal, but he's certainly smooth.

Abekh may not be the King of Pop (yet), but he already has some smooth moves.














Scott Cunningham is a rising junior at Davidson College with an interest in civic engagement, social entrepreneurship and the arts. His hobbies include creative writing, photography, acoustic guitar and most things athletic. He can be reached at

A Hidden Perspective

23 Jun

By Scott Walker Cunningham
Education Intern

Photo by Scott Walker Cunningham.

Photo by Scott Walker Cunningham.

“Scott, want to look at my song I wrote?”

Da’Quan asked for my attention on Wednesday morning in the photography and digital media room at Studio 345 for the third day of the Arts & Science Council’s (ASC) Digital and Media Literacy summer camp. The low-lit room showcased high-quality equipment including DSLR cameras and MacBooks for each student, professional photography lighting and printing gear along the cool gray walls, and a large, flat-screen like projector at the front of the room displaying the day’s schedule. The place seemed prepared for a professional seminar.

Instead, the mechanized meeting room pulsed with vibrant young toddlers busily writing in notebooks on a Technicolor of yoga mats across the floor, young teens on apple red and green seats seeing what the other bought off the app store last night, and high school students sleepily acclimating to the energy levels of the room. Through the early blur before the morning meeting, Da’Quan walked up to me with a few verses and a chorus drafted in a notebook filled with his songs.

I met Da’Quan only two days before, and already he wanted to share the deeply personal if not a bit disjointed rendition of emotions that are high school song lyrics. It struck me how willingly he opened himself up along with his binder, asking for some communication through my simple set of eyes and a smile to say, “This is good. You should keep working on it.”

Now I think back on the color, energy, and untapped talent of that entire room. As an intern at the ASC, and immersed in the pedagogical conflicts of our day as a member of Allison Dulin of Davidson College’s Education Scholars Program, I wonder what impact I can make for the kids I work with, and what sort of form that should take.

Too new to the game to understand the complexities of meeting the needs of our young, I’ll steal an elegantly simple answer from my supervisor, ASC Vice President of Education Barbara Ann Temple, Ph.D., who told me, “Every student deserves dignity and respect as a human being.”

Muffled by the flood of neon research lit statistics on the increasing achievement gap of our day, it’s easy to forget that every individual owns a voice that can often go unheard. While we need specialists, initiatives, and outreaches for supporting the future of academic development, sometimes students want a chance to share their words as well.

Let’s remember to listen.

Scott is a rising junior at Davidson College with an interest in civic engagement, social entrepreneurship and the arts. His hobbies include creative writing, photography, acoustic guitar and most things athletic.

Cultural Life Task Force releases its findings

16 Jun

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

CLTF Final Report-Instagram

Artwork by Sharon Dowell

The blueprint for creating a sustainable funding model to secure Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s cultural sector has been revealed.
The Cultural Life Task Force – a diverse group representing local philanthropy, non-profits, government and business – has released its final recommendations for funding the arts and culture sector. Over the last 13 months, the citizen task force examined the history and current financial state of the local sector, as well as similar cities across the nation, to offer insight for how to pay for the Charlotte region’s cultural life.
In order to ensure vibrant, accessible arts, science and history programming for future generations in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the task force recommends four key goals:
1) Restructure private sector giving to increase donations directly to cultural organizations. This includes establishing the Arts & Science Council (ASC) as the gateway for new cultural donors and participants who enter the sector through a workplace campaign.
2) Engage local and state government to recommit and expand support for the cultural sector to restore the public/private partnership that built and grew the local arts, science and history sector.
3) Redesign ASC and its mission so that it can be more effective in leading the cultural community’s adaptation to 21st-century trends in philanthropy, demographics and citizen participation.
4) Support ASC cultural partners with administrative, fundraising and managerial resources as they revise, build and improve their programmatic, revenue and governance operations and sustainability.
“The sector-wide transformation begins with stabilization by private donors and government, continues through increased efficiency, engagement and outreach by local cultural groups, and moves toward long-term solutions through a restored public/private funding partnership,” the 174-page report reads.
For decades, the public-private fundraising model of workplace giving campaigns and partnerships with local and state government earned the dollars necessary to support cultural institutions and fund neighborhood projects, education programs for school children and grants to individual artists.
But over the past several years, local arts, science and history nonprofits have endured severe revenue reductions from public and private source, a trend exacerbated by the severity of the downturn in Charlotte resulting from the national financial crisis.
Some groups have since closed their doors, while others cut administrative functions. In many cases, organizations have attempted to do more with less, spending money on programming while trimming staff and fundraising resources.
“That’s a great plan if it’s a temporary plan,” task force co-chair Valecia McDowell, an attorney with Moore & Van Allen, told The Charlotte Observer. “Eventually you get to a place where that begins to cripple the organization, and it begins to crumble under the weight of its own infrastructure.”
Civic, corporate and community leaders formed the task force in May 2013 to examine the history and current financial state of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural sector and to ensure its viability.
Task force members were appointed by the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, UNC Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Foundation For The Carolinas, the Charlotte Chamber and ASC.
“Arts and culture are imperative to our region’s vitality and are a major contributor to the quality of life her in Charlotte,” said task force co-chair Pat Riley, president of Allen Tate Realtors. “The path we’re on will not sustain the cultural sector we need to remain an outstanding place to work and live. This task force has worked diligently to make sure no stone was left unturned and every factor was considered. I am proud of the blueprints we have presented that will, hopefully, spark positive change in Charlotte.”
The report also recommends shifts in ASC’s strategy. Among them:

• Redesign the annual fund drive to a year-round cultural campaign;
• Launch a major data collection, warehousing, analysis, and sharing project;
• Strengthen ties with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority to make the city more of a cultural tourism destination; and
• Design and implement a $125 million endowment campaign over the next decade, in collaboration with its cultural partners and the Greater Charlotte Cultural Trust.
“There is nothing in here that scares me,” ASC President Robert Bush told the Observer about the recommendations. “There is much here that makes me think in new ways. We’re up for the task.”

A community appeal from ASC

12 Jun

From 2014 ASC Annual Fund Drive Chair Richard T. “Stick” Williams and ASC President Robert Bush

Whether you live, work, go to school in or visit Charlotte-Mecklenburg, you benefit from the organizations and programs supported by dollars from the Arts & Science Council (ASC).

For that reason, back in January we asked the community to dig deep to help ASC reach its 2014 Annual Fund Drive goal of $6.9 million to sustain the cultural sector. And it’s why we’re asking you to dig a little deeper to help ASC reach its goal.

2014 ASC Annual Fund Drive Chair Richard T. "Stick" Williams.

2014 ASC Annual Fund Drive Chair Richard T. “Stick” Williams.

The public portion of ASC’s campaign was scheduled to end April 30. In May, ASC worked to wrap up remaining employee campaigns as well as finalize corporate and foundation gifts. However, as of June 1, we have commitments for $6 million — $900,000 short of the goal.

In order to finish the job, ASC is making a special appeal to the community to help us reach our annual campaign goal by June 30.

Reaching this goal is vital. Fewer dollars to ASC means fewer dollars to support cultural groups that have suffered more than a 40-percent reduction in funding since 2009. It also brings less cultural programming; cuts to grant funding that provides greater access to arts, science and history experiences; and possibly the elimination of cultural events our community has grown to cherish.

This year’s $6.9 million goal represents a 7-percent increase over the $6 million in unrestricted dollars and $450,000 in education funding ASC raised for the cultural community in 2013. Last year’s campaign fell $500,000 short of its unrestricted-gifts goal, resulting in a 4-percent cut in operating support to organizations.

ASC President Robert Bush.

ASC President Robert Bush.

The Annual Fund Drive campaign cabinet believes ASC can fill the gap by extending this opportunity for individuals and companies to donate.

Please remember – and tell your friends – that every dollar to ASC matters. Individuals can make a gift online at or can mail a check to Arts & Science Council, 227 W. Trade St., Suite 250, Charlotte, NC 28202. If you have already given, please consider giving a little more. If you just haven’t gotten around to making your pledge, please make it happen by June 30.

Thank you to all of the campaign volunteers for your hard work to date and to those individuals and companies that have donated to ASC.

For 56 years, our community has rallied together to raise the funds that have built and sustained our arts, science and history organizations. Together we can meet this challenge again.

ASC is You & Me!



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