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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!


A new place to spark STEM learning

30 May

By David Fowler
Communications Intern

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats


Ribbon cutting for the new Discovery Place Education Studio.

Ribbon cutting for the new Discovery Place Education Studio.

So it reads on a wall inside the new Discovery Place Education Studio in Uptown Charlotte, a professional development program for pre K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) educators. However, these are more than decorative words on a wall.

The quote defines the purpose of the Education Studio and its mission.

The studio will train educators through hands-on methods, awe-inspiring curriculums, and collaborative partnerships in hopes of bringing a sense of wonder back to STEM classrooms. By developing STEM teachers through various programs, Discovery Place hopes to have a massive trickle-down effect to the students in those classes. So often all it takes is a spark of intrigue to light a fire of passion.
The studio will provide teachers with the opportunity to hone their craft and become inspired, impactfulEd Center 3 STEM educators. With workshops ranging anywhere from DIY rockets and catapults to hydroponics, and various field experiences in topics like archaeology and sea turtles, there is no shortage of opportunity for growth, inspiration, and ideas for STEM teachers to bring back to their classrooms and incorporate in their own curriculums.
There is no universal way of learning that works the same for everyone, and Discovery Place recognizes this fact. Because no two students learn the same way, programs at the studio will aim to arm educators with resources and curriculum ideas, while also encouraging teachers to adapt these tools to fit the needs of their own students.
With the support of Bank of America, Duke Energy, UTC Aerospace Systems and OrthoCarolina, Discovery Place will open its doors to educators this summer. Through the creation of other partnerships, Discovery Place hopes to continue to develop the studio and grow its impact on STEM education in the community.
The future of STEM education in Charlotte is bright.

Public art to unify new CMPD station with the community it serves

29 May

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager


Durham-based glass artist Vivienne McConnell in front of the exterior public artwork installed in April at the soon-to-open CMPD Eastway Station on Central Avenue in Charlotte.

Charlotte’s newest public art piece will help connect a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department station with the community it protects and serves.

The artwork, created by Durham-based glass artist Vivienne McConnell and installed in April, will link neighborhoods along Central Avenue in East Charlotte to the brand new CMPD Eastway Station.

Funding for the $30,600 work comes from the one-percent ordinance for public art. ASC manages the public art programs for the city and the county.

McConnell’s exterior art wall utilizes interlinking circular shapes and rectilinear lines to convey the theme of how police departments and neighborhoods cooperate in creating a safe place.

The interior stained art glass above the doors in the main entrance is named “Unity.”

“It’s built around the idea of unity – the unity of the police department and the community,” McConnell said. “It really did seem to me that there was a lot of camaraderie and unity in the community.”

The center panel of the exterior piece contains a similar motif to the indoor glass. On either side is cooperation, an abstracted idea of two people joined by their arms.

“It’s a different take on ‘Unity,’ with the circles interlocking,” she said. “I thought it was something that would work for the community and the police department as well.”

As the day progresses, the glass panels change according to the movement of the sun and what is around them.

“In this particular installation we have a lot of sky at certain places of the room and there are trees in certain places of the room,” she said. “If you have something like trees behind the glass, it helps you perceive the movement in the glass.”

A self-described color person, McConnell said she used a more sedate and formal color palate for the glass panels to better match the building. She also used a “little bit of gold to give it some excitement.”

“I hope that the people who own this artwork, and that would be the city, and the people who work in this building will enjoy it,” she said. “I hope it brightens their day and it helps attitudes.”

Digital & Media Literacy Camp Combines Learning and Creativity

29 May

By David Fowler
Communications Intern


Arts & Science Council (ASC) Digital & Media Literacy Camp Director Crystal Lail has always worked in education.

A veteran of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, Lail knows firsthand the importance of creativity in education. As camp director, Lail sees creativity as an opportunity to make learning enjoyable and engaging for every student.

Often times, education and creativity are wrongly separated. Sometimes creativity gets swept under the rug of education, overpowered by state-set curriculums and standardized testing. Lail believes that the ASC Digital & Media Literacy Camp bridges that gap. The freedom to be creative and think abstractly gives students a sense of ownership and pride in what they are doing, or learning.

“We really get to work outside the box,” Lail said. “We are not limited by a set curriculum, which allows us to engage students differently based on what they want to do.”

The camp is broken up into three two-week sessions, each with a different focus. Registration is open to all students in rising 1st-12th grade. Campers can sign up for individual sessions, or for all three.

Students will learn use digital cameras and other devices to create digital stories, music, and art. Through field experience, specialized instruction, as well as field trips and service projects in the community each session is designed to provide opportunity to be creative.

“All of our teachers are certified specialists in their field,” Lail said “We also have specialist come in to support us.”

This specialized instruction and exposure to experts in the field provides the best possible experience for students.

“We offer something no one else in Charlotte offers with the amount of opportunities the kids have to not only learn, but be creative and express themselves,” said Lail. “It is also a great chance for them to get exposed to diversity, as students from all over the community will learn and work together.”

Give your child a creatively empowering and educationally engaging experience this summer. Click here to register or learn more. If you have any questions, email camp director Crystal Lail at

Your red-hot cultural guide to the summer

29 May

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager


Authentic North Carolina adventures are at your fingertips with the N.C. Arts Council’s arts tourism trails. Photo credit:

Bookmark this, print it, tweet it, share it on Facebook – whatever you have to do.

You’ll want to refer back to this throughout the summer.

Whether your plans include staying close to the local pool or traveling from Murphy to Manteo or anywhere in between, this will be a quick reference for how you can enjoy the arts, science, history and heritage experiences that makes North Carolina special.

Consider it your red-hot cultural guide to the summer.

No matter where you are in the state, there’s always something fun to do. Here are our tips for making the most of your summer vacation closer to home.


The North Carolina Arts Council has developed North Carolina Arts Trails, web-based guides to authentic experiences from music, craft, literature and other traditions found in the Tar Heel state.

The seven trail guides featured are: the Blue Ridge Music Trail, the Cherokee Heritage Trails, Discover North Carolina Craft, Historic Happy Valley (a legendary home to the arts, storytelling and living traditions), HomegrownHandmade (focused on authentic folk artisans, farmers and creative entrepreneurs rooted in the state’s rural countryside), Literary Trails of North Carolina, and the African American Music Trail.

Each guide typically includes a calendar of upcoming events, fun facts and tidbits and interactive maps – the Literary Trails guide offers instructions for walking tours of uptown Charlotte, for example.

You can find all seven North Carolina Arts Trails at


The fifth annual launch of Blue Star Museums will offer free admission to more than 2,000 museums across America to the nation’s service members, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families through Labor Day 2014.

Participating Blue Star Museums in Charlotte are:

The Blue Star Museums program is a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

For a complete list of participating museums in the U.S., visit


The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Pops series kicks off June 8 with “A Night on Broadway,” where the orchestra will play some of the most memorable music of Broadway, including selections from My Fair Lady, Chicago, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera.

Series concerts take place at Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road (behind SouthPark Mall), Charlotte, with prelude performances at 7 p.m. and symphony performances at 8:15 p.m. If you go, get there early (gates open at 5 p.m.) and take a picnic.

This season’s Summer Pops schedule includes:

  • June 8: A Night on Broadway
  • June 15: Orchestra Americana
  • June 22: Instrumental Opera
  • June 29: That’s Amore
  • July 3: Celebrate America!

Tickets are Adults $10 and free for children younger than 18 for June performances and $15 adults and free for children for the July 3 performance. An adult summer pass to all five concerts is $40. For tickets or more information, visit or call 704-972-2000.


One of the ways the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra provides greater access to symphonic music is by performing outdoor summer concerts throughout northern and southern Mecklenburg County. This year the symphony will also perform at Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte.

Performances are from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The symphony’s outdoor summer concert schedule includes:

  • June 14: Music of the Movies, Romare Bearden Park, uptown Charlotte
  • June 20: Music of the Movies, Energy Explorium, Lake Norman
  • June 21: Music of the Movies, Stumptown Park, Matthews
  • June 28: Celebrate America!, Bailey Road Park, Cornelius
  • July 1: Celebrate America!, Belle Johnston Park, Pineville

The Arts & Science Council (ASC) is partnering with Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation to offer the Music Box Lunch Series in the Park. The series will feature live music from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays in late May and June at Romare Bearden Park.

  • May 30: Roy Daye
  • June 3: Tom Billotto
  • June 6: John Alexander
  • June 10: Caution! Blind Driver
  • June 13: John Franklin
  • June 17: Jeff Brown
  • June 20: Dave Haywood
  • June 24: Alan Barrington
  • June 27: Colby Dobbs


Whether you’re looking for something free to do with the kids, making last minute plans, looking for the perfect pre- or post-date activity or taking a break from the pool, is your ultimate resource of everything cultural happening in and around Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

You can also sign up for CulturePicks!, a weekly email highlighting upcoming arts and cultural events in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

To stay up-to-date on all the events, festivals, concerts and things to do in the Charlotte region, just visit

Advocating for the Arts at ARTS Day

29 May

By Sara Simmons
Public Sector Liaison


Nearly 30 Charlotte-Mecklenburg community leaders and students took the bus to Raleigh last month to advocate for the arts.

It was part of the annual ARTS Day, a two-day event where arts advocates come together to promote the arts. The event, held May 20-21 in Raleigh, allowed individuals to engage in arts-related seminars and performances and meet directly with state legislators to emphasize the importance of the arts.

Sharing their stories with legislators in Raleigh were representatives from the Arts & Science Council (ASC), Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Symphony, UNC Charlotte, UMAR, and Martha Connerton/Kinetic Works, as well as staff members and students from ASC’s Studio 345, the out-of-school youth development program for 9th through 12th grade students.

While in Raleigh, Charlotte-Mecklenburg community members divided into teams to meet with legislators about how the arts have affected their lives and community. Students that met with Sen. Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenburg, went on a behind-the scenes tour of the Legislative Building.

Other students shared their personal stories with legislators, engaging elected officials in deep conversations about the impact the arts have had on their lives. Rep. Charles Jeter, R-Mecklenburg, was so impressed with the Studio 345 students he spoke with that he offered to write each of them a letter of recommendation to the college of their choice.

In addition to participating in legislative meetings, Bria Alexander, a 12-year-old Community School of the Arts student, sang on the portico of the legislative building with her dad, Fred Alexander, on keyboard. Bria wowed the crowd with her big voice, as onlookers were amazed with the young girl at the microphone. Several legislators even took the time to step out of their busy offices to enjoy her spectacular voice.

ASC staff, local students and Charlotte-Mecklenburg community members made a strong showing at this year’s Arts Day, said Studio 345 instructor Sean Beck.

“What a great, productive, awesome, super fun day with everyone!” Beck said. “I truly feel like we made an impact out there with our legislators.”

Arts Day provided an impactful experience for all involved and we hope to keep the momentum of our advocacy efforts going. To join our advocacy campaign, where you too can have your voice heard by your legislators, sign up for VoterVoice here:

Arts and Culture: Supplying much more than meets the eye

24 Apr

By David Currence
Marketing Manager


You might think about arts and culture as only museums, galleries and theaters.

But here’s a new way of thinking of them – as job creators, economic stimulators and active contributors to the local business community.

Nonprofit arts and culture are a $202.8 million industry in Charlotte-Mecklenburg – one that supports more than 6,200 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $144.6 million in household income for local residents and delivers $18.1 million in local and state government revenue.

Don’t worry about those facts and figure, just remember this: the arts mean business.

The common misconception is that communities support the arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. But the reality is leaders who care about their community and its economic vitality should feel good about investing in the arts.

It’s an investment in an industry that creates local jobs, generates government revenue and spends its dollars in its own backyard. As Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s chief advocate and supporter for arts and culture, the Arts & Science Council (ASC) is the primary investor for many of the cultural experiences that enrich all of our lives. Therefore, supporting ASC is the wisest investment of all because ASC is you and me.


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