Arts and Culture: Supplying much more than meets the eye

24 Apr

By David Currence
Marketing Manager

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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.

ASC investment helps group take modern dance to nontraditional spaces

23 Apr

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

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Triptych Collective

Eric Mullis never saw those abandoned mills.

The structures that brought NoDa, Charlotte’s art district, into existence never truly entered his field of vision when he walked by.

Then he and his cohorts in Triptych Collective – a group of artists that present music, dance and art in nontraditional ways to engage audiences – learned how socio-economic lines influenced the city’s development.

Afterward, Mullis saw NoDa in a new light.

“It just completely changed for it for me, the meaning of that place, giving it that historical depth,” he said.

As a result, the Collective developed a multi-media performance piece centered on the meaning of home. An Arts & Science Council (ASC) Cultural Innovation Grant, which invests in emerging cultural groups that show innovation and promise programmatically, allowed it to perform its work in nontraditional spaces – including the parking lot of one of those abandoned mills.

“For most people, dance tends to be ballet and maybe ballroom,” Mullis said. “We really want to try to reach people who would otherwise never see modern dance.”

ASC is you and me providing one-of-a-kind cultural experiences in venues people wouldn’t expect them to occur, giving them a new perspective of sense of space and place.

Check Them Out!

Triptych Collective presents Articulating Through Action: An Evening of Reflective Performance, at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., Charlotte. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $12, $10 with a donation item for Charlotte Family Housing. Items needed include gently used or new bed and bath items, kitchen items and cleaning items.

Artists presenting works at the collective’s last show of the season are Sarah Ingel, Eric Mullis, Caitlyn Swett and guest artist Christiana Barnet-Murphy from Durham. Dance performances will be followed by a dance party with MIAMI DICE!

For more details, visit http://www.charlottecultureguide.com/event/detail/441825509/ARTiculating_through_Action_An_Evening_of_Reflective_Peformance.

 

Charlotte museum awarded NEA grant

17 Apr

Compiled by Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

A Charlotte museum has been awarded an Art Works grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as part of the second half of its fiscal year 2014 funding.

ImageThe Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will receive one of the coveted Art Works grants, which support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence: public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancing the livability of communities through the arts.

The Gantt Center will receive $40,000 to support a digital plan for the John & Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art. The collection includes 78 two-dimensional works by 20th-century African-American artists such as Romare Bearden, Margaret Burroughs, Jonathan Green, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Ann Tanksley and Henry Tanner. The project will include expanding the interactive capabilities of the website and improving image and video streaming quality to make the collection widely available.

McColl Center for Visual Art, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Opera Carolina previously received a combined $42,500 in Art Works awards during the NEA’s first round of grants for 2014.
For every dollar invested by the NEA, grantee organizations raise an additional $9 in support from other, non-federal sources.

“We know that arts and culture play an important role in our nation’s economy, with the most recent numbers showing the sector comprising more than 3.2 percent – or $504 billion – of GDP,” said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. “The NEA is proud to support the nation’s nonprofit organizations which are an integral part of the arts and cultural sector. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape.”

ASC provides needed cultural experiences for students

10 Apr

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager 

Allen Tate - School Grants ProgramPutting cultural experiences in all Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools gives students a greater chance at success.

Ensuring such parity exists across schools regardless of student population is the goal of the Arts & Science Council (ASC) Education School Grants program, which provides up to $285,000 in total funding to local schools for cultural programming.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools are eligible for $1,500 to $3,000 each. Schools spend their funds directly on cultural programming that aligns with their specialized learning environments and helps increase student success in a particular subject matter.

Before the school grants program began last year, only 83 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools received in-school cultural programming provided by professional artists, scientists, historians and other cultural providers the previous year.

In the first year, 154 of 159 CMS schools participated, resulting in cultural opportunities for students that wouldn’t have access to them any other way.

ASC is you and me making a real difference in a child’s life – one that makes success more likely than ever before.

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ASC helps theatre reach all generations

4 Apr

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

The Arts & Science Council (ASC) supports Matthews Playhouse and its mission through a Cultural & Community Investment grant.

The Arts & Science Council (ASC) supports Matthews Playhouse and its mission through a Cultural & Community Investment grant.

A funny thing happened when Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts began offering productions for kids nearly 20 years ago.

Adults wanted to play, too.

So the playhouse expanded to give adults in southern Mecklenburg opportunities to shine.

“We try to be a big arts presence in Matthews,” said playhouse representative Melisa Verch. “They love the arts here and we try to be a big venue for that.”

It’s why more than 6,000 students will see a Matthews Playhouse performance with their school this season.

“Introducing them to live theatre is important,” Verch said. “It helps their favorite books come to life, it sparks their imagination and it creates a love of the arts.”

The Arts & Science Council (ASC) supports Matthews Playhouse and its mission through a Cultural & Community Investment grant.

“A grant from ASC,” Verch said, “helps us to do things just a little bit better than maybe we would have otherwise.”

ASC supports our entire community.  Its impact reaches all corners of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and Matthews Playhouse’s multi-generational cultural experiences are further proof that everyone benefits.  ASC is you and me.

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Spring festivals provide outdoor cultural experiences

4 Apr

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

If you’re looking for something to do outside in the coming weeks, you’re in luck.

The arrival of spring means outdoor festival season is upon us, and the Arts & Science Council (ASC) is helping give families across our community plenty to look forward to this season.

ASC supports festivals throughout the year primarily through Town Initiative Grants and Cultural Festival Grants, which increase access to arts, science, history and heritage offerings and strengthen the quality of cultural programming in neighborhoods and towns throughout Mecklenburg County.

Several of festivals supported by ASC take place in the spring, when the warm weather and longer days beckon us outside after the cold and gloom of winter.

Here’s a look at five festivals taking place in April and May you won’t want to miss. Admission is free unless noted.

Charlotte World Parade and Festival.

Charlotte World Parade and Festival.

CHARLOTTE WORLD PARADE AND FESTIVAL

When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. April 26.

Where: Freedom Park, 1900 East Blvd., Charlotte.

What’s Happening: The hometown multicultural and international event celebrating all cultures in North Carolina starts with a Parade of Nations, an authentic exploration of cultures showcasing more than 45 countries from all over the world with vibrant, colorful, native dresses. The festival includes a variety of live cultural entertainment all day, as well as cultural displays and interactive exhibits, and international crafts and food.

Details: http://worldparadefestival.org/

Kings Drive Art Walk.

Kings Drive Art Walk.

KINGS DRIVE ART WALK

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 27.

Where: Little Sugar Creek Greenway on Kings Drive, 600 South Kings Dr., Charlotte.

What’s Happening: Presented by Festival in the Park, the annual event focuses on fine and emerging artists. Nearly 80 artists, ranging from clay and metal to mixed media and painting, will have their work on display and available for purchase. There will also be a jazz music stage both days.

Details: http://www.charlottecultureguide.com/event/detail/441674387/Kings_Drive_Art_Walk_2014

Art on the Green.

Art on the Green.

ART ON THE GREEN

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 26 and noon-4 p.m. April 27.

Where: Main Street and town green in downtown Davidson.

What’s Happening: North Mecklenburg’s largest annual art festival brings thousands of people to Davidson to enjoy art, live music and food. The juried art festival features booths filled with art works from artists throughout the region. The weekend also includes musical performances by a variety of local talents and a host of food choices from on-site vendors and area restaurants.

Details: http://nc-davidson2.civicplus.com/index.aspx?nid=657

Hello Huntersville Festival.

Hello Huntersville Festival.

HELLO HUNTERSVILLE FESTIVAL

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 10.

Where: Downtown Huntersville.

What’s Happening:  Huntersville’s annual music and arts festival will feature regional artists, live music, chalk drawing demonstrations, local restaurants and food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, children’s rides and activities and more.

Details: http://www.huntersville.org/Departments/ParksRecreation.aspx

Romare Bearden Park.

Romare Bearden Park.

ROMARE FEST

When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. May 3 and noon-4 p.m. May 4.

Where: Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St., Charlotte.

What’s Happening: The inaugural Romare Fest at Romare Bearden Park will feature performances from regional artists, art, children’s activities and more.

Details: http://www.charlottecultureguide.com/event/detail/441823728/Romare_Fest_

*Romare Fest is not supported through an ASC Cultural Project Grant or Town Initiative Grant; ASC hired Seattle artist Norie Sato to work with Charlotte-based LandDesign to integrate themes from Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden’s work in the park, which opened last year.

Differences Dissolve Through the Arts

4 Apr

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

CPCC presents Dances of India at 4 p.m. April 26 on campus at Halton Theater.

CPCC presents Dances of India at 4 p.m. April 26 on campus at Halton Theater.

Barriers – racial, language or otherwise – are broken each spring on the Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) campus.

They are torn down by graceful movements during Dances of India performances that promote unity and celebrate diversity.

“We bring people together through performing arts to show that we are more alike than different,” said event organizer and acclaimed performer Dr. Maha Gingrich.

CPCC presents the 12th Anniversary of Dances of India at 4 p.m. April 26 on campus at Halton Theater. The event features traditional Indian classical and folk dances – rhythmic movements that tell the story of ancient India through costumes, dance dramas and music.

The event’s signature dance, “Unity in Diversity,” will be set to a live international orchestra and feature an array of international dances.

Dances of India.

Dances of India.

“Using performing art, there is no language barrier,” Gingrich said. “It opens people’s eyes and makes them think beyond racial barriers. You get rid of those barriers through performing arts.”

She organized the first Dances of India event in 2000 at CPCC. In addition to showcasing the beautiful diversity that exists in the Charlotte region, the performances highlight how traditional Indian dances have influenced dance forms across the world.

Indian dance has influenced tap and flamingo dancing, among others. And festival dances in India, Greece and Italy share commonalities, Gingrich said.

Through Dances of India, “I was able to bring in different dance forms and groups and tell the story of how India’s dance has influenced other cultures,” she said.

Support from the Arts & Science Council (ASC) has allowed performances to grow exponentially and expose broader audiences to CPCC, Gingrich said.

“When people support ASC,” she said, “they’re supporting a vision of Charlotte as not only an international city but a city that has a history, a city that supports science and takes pride in the art and artists that exist in our city and the region.”

“We bring people together through performing arts to show that we are more alike than different,” said event organizer and acclaimed performer Dr. Maha Gingrich.

“We bring people together through performing arts to show that we are more alike than different,” said event organizer and acclaimed performer Dr. Maha Gingrich.

Want to Go?

The 12th Anniversary of Dances of India takes place at 4 p.m. April 26 at Halton Theater on the campus of Central Piedmont Community College, 1206 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 school-age children. More information: http://www.charlottecultureguide.com/event/detail/441809877/Dances_of_India.

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