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 ArtsAndScience.org 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!


10 @ two recap – ASC President Robert Bush answers your questions

5 Jun

Compiled by David Fowler
Communication Intern


How can you get involved in the cultural sector in Charlotte?

Arts & Science Council (ASC) President Robert Bush touches on this and more in our most recent 10 @ two Facebook Q&A series.

The next 10 @ two question-and-answer segment is scheduled for June 25 at 2 p.m. (Subject to change)

Here is a recap of the questions and answers from the June 4 edition of 10 @ two.

Q: What are the benefits/offers available with the new Connect with Culture card? In the past it has been buy one/get one deals at participating locations, but I heard there will be changes this year. Thanks!

A: The biggest change is that the new Connect with Culture card is that later in June or early July, you will receive a mailer with your new Connect with Culture card. You will need to go only and register your card (not unlike your favorite grocery store card). Thre will still be buy one/get one deals, but on a regular basis you will get special discount ticket opportunities via email that are very current special offers just for ASC donors.

Q: Will Studio 345 have volunteer work over the summer?

A: There are always volunteer work opportunities with Studio 345. You need to reach out to Janice Tucker at janice.tucker@artsandscience.org – Janice can help answer your question more specifically!

Q: I heard that during the recent Fund Drive, several events were held at ASC supporters’ homes. Why was this format selected, and how would I be able to be included on future events held at households of supporters?

A: ASC did host events in a number of private homes during our 2014 Annual Fund Drive. We did this to help re-introduce ASC to past donors, who have stopped giving, as well as meet new potential donors. Good fund raising is about building relationships and what better way to do that than in a social setting. The individuals who hosted events volunteered to do so and worked with our development staff to plan the event. They were very successful and we are planning additional opportunities in the future. If you would like to host – contact Lynne Wooten – lynne.wooten@artsandscience.org. Thanks!

Q: (From Discovery Place) Hi Robert! We just had Van Gogh Alive leave Charlotte earlier this week. This exhibition brought art & technology together, which was a great opportunity to partner with our friends at The Mint Museum and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. What other types of cultural collaborations would you like to see Charlotte’s arts & science community work together on?

A: Hi DP friends – Congrats on an exciting Van Gogh Alive exhibition and the partnerships that surrounded it. We are very fortunate to have many collaborations within the cultural community – the Ulysses Festival is one example; the 5th grade field trip for students (Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Opera Carolina, and Charlotte Ballet partner to bring a multi-disciplinary experience titles “Endless Possibilities.”) In the past a number of organizations have programmed around a common theme – this even happened in the late 1980s when the Mint hosted Ramesses the Great, Discovery Place hosted a mummy exhibit, Opera Carolina performed AIDA and Theatre Charlotte produced the Agatha Christie classic Murder on the Nile – more recently many groups partnered around themes from South Africa in craft, film, music and dance. I think it could be very exciting to have regular (probably not annual) themes that we all work on together to provide our residents and visitors and opportunity to dive deep into the rich culture of a country, people or even the work of a single artist like Van Gogh.

Q: Hi, Robert. My organization hires a lot of recent graduates. One characteristic of this generation is they are hungry for a vibrant cultural scene. What is the best way to get them plugged in as they make Charlotte their home? Also, can you talk about the outreach efforts of ASC to local businesses (i.e. workplace campaigns), particularly those businesses that are peripheral to Uptown?

A: The best way for anyone to know the incredibly vibrant cultural community that we all shar is by going online to http://www.CharlotteCultureGuide.com and signing up for a weekly email with the ‘hot’ ticket list – look for Culture Picks in the upper right hand corner. Also, many cultural groups have programs for young adults (including ASC’s YDS – Young Donor Society) – you can find out about those by exploring websites – great places to start are the Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum, McColl Center, Levine Museum, Charlotte Symphony, Charlotte Ballet, Blumenthal Performing Arts just to name a few! As to outreach to local businesses, we conduct workplace campaigns across the countryin businesses large and small – we also fund programs all over Mecklenburg County. If you’d like to start a workplace giving effort, it’s easy and paperless. Just contact Shannon Crawford in our Development Office at shannon.crawford@artsandscience.org.

Q: Robert, congratulations on becoming ASC’s President! CSA has a few wonderful interns this summer helping with programming and development. What advice would you give students and professionals who are interested in working in the cultural sector?

A: Hello CSA friends – working in the cultural sector can be a very rewarding life but it is work, so you need to make sure that you are passionate about what you are doing. I began my work life in a high school classroom teaching Spanish, and those teaching experiences help me to this day. I believe that in my role, I have to biggest classroom around – all of Mecklenburg and I see an important part of my role is educating the community about the great arts, science and history resources available for all of us that call Charlotte-Mecklenburg home. So my best advice, never be afraid to try something new, working your way up the ladder provides great experience, don’t be afraid to ask people for financial support – the worst they can say is no but it might open a door in the future and ALWAYS be a student of the arts, sciences and history… You will be better for it and you will do a better job!

Q: I first heard a theme a few month ago about Charlotte being a “world class city,” largely in part to its arts and cultural involvement with the city and its communities. Obviously, I think, we are doing something right! Do you think we have some lessons learned that could be shared with other cities? What would some of those lessons be?

A: Hi Lindsay – I think that what has set Charlotte apart is the public/private partnership that has been built to support our cultural community and that we regularly plan for our cultural future. That may seem a very non-creative response but we have the great museums and performing arts groups we have because almost 40 years ago community leaders decided investing in arts and culture was the key to our future from both a quality of life stand point as well as economic development. But, the partnership is fraying around edges and what we have built is at risk. Over the past year, a county-wide task force has studied this issue and will be making its findings and recommendations public in the coming weeks. That first plan in 1976 created Discovery Place and Spirit Square and led to building the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, new Mint Museum, Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture and the McColl Center just to name a few. In this morning’s Charlotte Observer, Hugh McColl is quoted is an editorial entitled “Who helps city bounce back? You” – he clearly states – ” The strength is we have the bones in place. The weakness is too many citizens take this for granted. They think someone else can handle it.” We each have a part to play and responsibility. We built this community together and it will only flourish if we all continue to do our part – so get out there and go to a museum, or a concert, or play, or festival. Make a contribution to a group you love or think is doing great work. Be a participant in Charlotte – not a spectator.

Q: Hey Robert, I am curious as to the role ASC is playing as an advocate for the cultural sector at both the local and state level.

A: ASC is very active in the advocacy area at all levels – federal, state, and local. Two weeks ago, ASC leg a delegation of local residents to Raleigh for the annual Arts Day at the NC Legislature. The best way to be sure and know about cultural issues and to let your voice be heard is by signing up for voterVoice by going here – https://www.votervoice.net/ARTSUSA/register – registering for voterVoicewill make sure you know about advocacy needs at all levels – local, state, and national. It’s a free way to let your voice be heard.

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 crystal.lail@artsandscience.org.

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: blueridgemusicnc.com.

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 http://www.ncartstrails.org/.


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 http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums.


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 charlottesymphony.org 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, CharlotteCultureGuide.com 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 www.CharlotteCultureGuide.com.

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: https://www.votervoice.net/charlottearts/register.


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