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Dance Theatre of Harlem to visit Charlotte

29 Dec

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Dance Theatre of Harlem performs Jan. 22-24 in Charlotte. An exhibition on the dance theatre also opens that weekend.

Dance Theatre of Harlem performs Jan. 22-24 in Charlotte. An exhibition on the dance theatre also opens that weekend. Photo credit: Blumenthal Performing Arts

The face of the ballet dancer is evolving because of Dance Theatre of Harlem.

And, through a cultural collaboration between Blumenthal Performing Arts and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, there are two ways to experience the groundbreaking dance troupe at Levine Center for the Arts in January.

The renowned performing ensemble will perform in Charlotte for the first time ever Jan. 22-24 at Knight Theater. That same weekend, the Gantt Center will open the exhibit “Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts” on the cultural campus. The exhibit will run through June 26.

The History

Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell (left) with renowned choreographer George Balanchine.

Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell (left) with renowned choreographer George Balanchine. Photo Credit: Gantt Center

Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings” (The New York Times, 1971). Shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children — especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born — the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts. Now in its fourth decade, the first African-American classical ballet company has grown into a multi-cultural dance institution with an extraordinary legacy of providing opportunities for creative expression and artistic excellence that continues to set standards in the performing arts.

The Performance

Dance Theatre of Harlem ballet dancers.

Dance Theatre of Harlem ballet dancers. Photo credit: Blumenthal Performing Arts

Coincidentally, the dance theatre – known for performances that challenge preconceived notions – will perform in Charlotte the week of Martin Luther King Day. The ballet company consists of 14 racially diverse dance artists who perform an eclectic, demanding repertoire, from treasured classics and neo-classical works by George Balanchine and resident choreographer Robert Garland to cutting edge contemporary works and works that use the language of ballet to celebrate African-American culture.

The Exhibition

An example of the dazzling costumes that will be on display at “Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts” at the Gantt Center.

An example of the dazzling costumes that will be on display at “Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts” at the Gantt Center. Photo credit: Gantt Center

“Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts,” celebrates the iconic company and its corps. It features a collection of costumes, set pieces and video excerpts from the company’s history. In addition to the costumes and staged ballets, the exhibition includes historical photographs, original tour programs, tour posters, letters from choreographers and dignitaries, and design bibles.

The Importance

The collaboration between Blumenthal and the Gantt Center demonstrates how local cultural groups are focused on building community, providing relevant and innovative programming and making cultural experiences central to education – all pillars of the community’s Cultural Vision Plan.

In December, Dance Theatre of Harlem dancer Chyrstyn Fentroy visited Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte to conduct a master class with dance students. It was one of the community outreach initiatives planned around the dance theatre’s visit to Charlotte.

Additionally, corporate sponsor Wells Fargo will give tickets to 1,200 low-income dance-goers who might never see the ballet company any other way.

“If we bring this great dance company here, and only those who can afford a relatively high ticket price can come, we have failed,” Blumenthal president and CEO Tom Gabbard told The Charlotte Observer. “This can be an aspirational moment. When you see a dancer of color onstage, someone who looks like you, the impact that makes can be a lifelong thing.”

See The Performance, See the Exhibit
Dance Theatre of Harlem performs Jan. 22-24 at Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts, 430 S. Tryon St., Charlotte. Tickets are $21.50-$76.50. For tickets or for more information, click here.

“Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts” runs Jan. 22-June 26 at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture at Levine Center for the Arts, 551 S. Tryon St., Charlotte. Museum admission is $9 adults, $7 children ages 6-17 and college students/educators/military members/seniors, and free for children ages 5 and younger and museum members. Group discounts available. For more information, click here.

Cultural groups earn 2016 NEA grants

18 Dec

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Three Charlotte cultural organizations have been awarded Art Works grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in its first fiscal year 2016 funding announcement.

Charlotte Ballet, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and McColl Center for Art + Innovation will receive the Art Works grants, which focus on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts.

  • Charlotte Ballet will receive $20,000 to support the creation and presentation of a world premiere ballet by resident choreographer Dwight Rhoden. Drawing from his lifelong passion of American jazz music, Rhoden will use live jazz musicians as collaborators in the creation and performance of the ballet. The work will be presented in separate “sets” representing prominent jazz artists. Rhoden will create the work so that it reflects jazz music, where there is both group interaction by the dancers and individually directed improvisation. The work will be presented at Knight Theater at the Levine Center for the Arts.
  • Children’s Theatre of Charlotte will receive $10,000 to support the continued development and production of “Journey to Oz.” Audiences will fully participate in playwright Christopher Parks’ experiential retelling of the iconic story in American culture, “The Wizard of Oz.” The production will be interactive and immersive, allowing the audience to participate in how the story is told.
  • McColl Center for Art + Innovation will receive $20,000 to support residencies serving Latino/Hispanic artists. The residents’ work will explore contemporary Latin-American issues, values, and identity. An “artesanos” (makers’ fair) will showcase Latino resident artists – printmakers, muralists, painters, and ceramicists – as well as local artisans and musicians. Artists will also be placed in local communities in order to facilitate cross-cultural exchanges and provide art training.

The combined $50,000 the Charlotte organizations will receive is a portion of the $27.7 million to be given nationally by NEA in its first round of funding. A total of 1,126 grants were announced.

“These projects, from all over the nation, will make a difference in their communities,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu. “We know from experience as well as through hard evidence that the arts matter and these projects will provide more opportunities for people to learn, create, and experience the value of the arts in so many different ways.”

A message from Robert Bush

16 Dec

By Robert Bush
ASC President

Robert Bush | President | Arts & Science Council

Before the end of 2015, I want to take the opportunity to provide an update to you regarding the progress that has been made by the Arts & Science Council (ASC) in implementing the recommendations of the Cultural Vision Plan (CVP) and Cultural Life Task Force (CLTF). Over the past 18 months, the ASC Board and staff have been focused on aligning our organization and goals to the input from the citizens of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

I am pleased to report that we have made significant progress in a number of key areas:

Re-Inventing ASC

A key recommendation of the CLTF was to “Redesign the ASC and its mission from the ground up so that it can be more effective in leading the cultural community’s adaptation to 21st-century trends in philanthropy, demographics and citizen participation. Consider the potential to rebrand or rename the ASC.”

The ASC Board has:

Credit: Mike Wirth

Credit: Mike Wirth

  • Approved a new Mission Statement:
    • “Ensuring access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Region”
  • Approved a new Strategic Plan and goals:
    • Serve as a resource hub for strategy, standard setting, and capacity building for the cultural community
    • Advocate for the regional cultural community to build community engagement in its cultural life
    • Ensure the financial stability of the cultural sector
  • Established new Measures of Success for annual reporting to the community that center around Community Engagement, Resource Hub, and Financial Stability.
  • Approved a new ASC Governance Model, effective January 1, 2016:
    • Reduced the size of the ASC Board from 40 Directors to 26 Directors
    • Approved new Board Service Policy/Job Description
    • Established 5 Advisory Councils to ensure ongoing counsel and input from community partners and key constituents as well as the public:
      • North/West Advisory Council
      • Central Advisory Council
      • South/East Advisory Council
      • Private Sector Advisory Council
      • Cultural Sector Advisory Council
  • Increased the breadth of our capacity building opportunities for cultural organizations’ professional and volunteer leadership and for individual artists.
  • Established a regular quarterly meeting schedule with representatives of the arts councils in the 16 County region as a first step toward building a regional coalition for arts and culture
  • In partnership with the Charlotte Regional Partnership launched a new regional Arts & Economic Prosperity study for the entire 16 County region – results will be available in Spring 2017
  • With the support of Mecklenburg County, established a new initiative – Culture Blocks. By working with individual artists, cultural programmers, and by leveraging other resources, ASC will introduce new or scale existing cultural infrastructure in the local neighborhood and/or address barriers to participation with major institutions in partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system and Parks & Recreation in 5 specific geographic areas with historically low levels of participation with ASC funded programs but high levels of participation with local county library and park/recreation services.

The Board has also made steps to align ASC’s grant-making programs to the tenants of the CVP and CLTF. This re-alignment also addresses issues currently being studied by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force, especially in the areas of building social capital and broadening access to economic opportunity. To date we have:

    • Access for all citizens
    • Responsiveness to our changing community
    • Commitment to financial stability for the sectorCompleted a review of all ASC grant-making programs and the Board has approved adjustments to ASC grant-making programs that ensure:
  • Guiding Principles for changes to ASC’s grant-making programs are:
    Credit: Mike Wirth

    Credit: Mike Wirth

    • Operating Support remains a core component of ASC’s investment strategy
    • Project Support should be more robust and closely aligned with documented community priorities
    • Capacity Building support should be more robust, allowing for substantial investments in innovation and risk taking
    • Support for Creative Individuals should be more robust and celebrate achievement of individuals at all career stages
  • Changes to the Operating Support program include:
    • Expand Operating Support to emerging grassroots organizations to more fully reflect the diversity of region (Geography, Audience, Discipline, Multi-cultural)
    • Recalibrate Operating Support levels to current partners and institute a universal cap on Operating Support awards to more closely ensure sustainability of the program – Any reductions in current Operating Support recipients grants to the new maximum level will take place over a 5 year period
  • Changes to Project Support programs include:
    • Align Project Support with Cultural Vision Plan priorities
    • Increase Capacity Building support to invest more substantially in management and fundraising capabilities of cultural partners
    • Increase support to Creative Individuals at all career stages
    • Transition to the new categories will take place over a 5 year period

These critical changes are outlined in the ASC Path to Culture For All and Evolution of ASC Cultural & Community Investments infographics.

Transforming Private Sector Funding

A key recommendation of the CLTF was to “Restructure Arts & Science Council and private sector giving to increase individual, corporate and foundation donations directly to the Cultural Partners and other nonprofit cultural organizations.”

  • ASC continues to experience the changes in private sector giving identified by the CLTF, including changes in workplace giving programs and corporate giving being directed to individual cultural groups rather than for distribution by ASC. This has resulted in private sector giving to ASC remaining relatively flat. However, private sector support to the entire sector is growing. Data from our most recent analysis (FY14) of earned and contributed giving to the sector shows:
    • 12% growth in transactions (ticket sales, contributions, etc.) – the first time in 8 years over the baseline established in 2007
    • 59% of all transactions (ticket sales, contributions, etc.) come from outside Mecklenburg County or the Charlotte-Mecklenburg MSA – however, donations are coming primarily from Mecklenburg County residents
    • Number of individual donors increased from 35,311 in 2013 to 50,679 in 2014 – a 44% increase
    • Total individual giving increased from $9,300,000 in 2013 to $14,833,500 in 2014 – a 60% increase
    • Total giving to the sector increased from $29,500,000 in 2013 to $37,149,000 in 2014 – erasing all losses incurred by the sector in the recession

Re-Engaging Government

A key recommendation of the CLTF was to “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.”

  • For FY16, ASC received increases from:
    • Mecklenburg County – $300,000 to establish the Culture Blocks initiative – this is the first new cultural program funding from the County since 2007 and a 27% increase in funding which includes support of the operation of Spirit Square and Studio 345
    • Mecklenburg Towns – increased their support by 35% from $72,500 to $98,000 through increases from the Towns of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville and Matthews
    • Funding for public art projects has also increased from both the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County due to increased capital expenditures
  • ASC and the leadership of the NC Arts Council have raised the issue of developing a more equitable distribution of state funding for art, science and history. A key advancement in the 2015 Legislative Session was moving the Museum of Natural Science, NC Zoo and aquariums from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources into a new Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.


You can see from this overview that we have made great strides over the past 18 months in addressing the recommendations and goals of the Cultural Vision Plan and Cultural Life Task Force. These strides are the result of a continued strong public/private partnership that has built our cultural sector over the past 40 years.

ASC still has much work to do to address all of the recommendations of the two important planning efforts. Working together with our public and private donors, ASC is confident that we will achieve these goals, grow cultural opportunities for all of our citizens and lead the sector to a more stable and long term future.

ASC is doing this work because we believe that the arts and culture have important benefits for all of us who call Charlotte-Mecklenburg home – we all benefit because of the quality of life arts, science and history bring to our community. In the coming year, ASC will more energetically embrace its role as a resource hub and enthusiastic advocate for the cultural community. We appreciate your partnership in this endeavor.

I look forward to continuing the journey in 2016.

Meet Carla Hanzal, ASC’s new vice president of public art

4 Dec

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

There are more than 140 works of public art in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s collection and it’s now Carla Hanzal’s job to manage all of them.

Hanzal joined ASC in November as its new vice president of public art. She brings more than 25 years of experience working with contemporary artists, arts organizations and stakeholders to commission works of art and produce exhibitions.

Carla Hanzal.

Carla Hanzal.

She is also a familiar face in the local cultural community. She served as curator of modern and contemporary art at The Mint Museum from 2002 to 2012 and, as an independent curator and arts consultant, created a new strategic plan for the board of directors of The Light Factory.

Hanzal recently answered a few questions about why she loves public art, how her past experiences will help her in her new role and what’s on the public art horizon.

What do you love about public art and what it means to our community?

I believe public art helps define spaces and creates opportunities for place making. During the time I’ve been in Charlotte, some amazing projects have come to fruition, which have been administered by diverse entities, including the public art program managed by ASC, projects managed by Bank of America, as well as the Charlotte Area Transit. Recently we’ve witnessed the evolution of a much more beautiful city with parks and meandering greenways. The transformation near the Metropolitan as Little Sugar Creek was unearthed and the adjoining linear park enhanced with public art is inspiring. I’ve followed the creation of Romare Bearden Park, which will soon see the installation of the signature sculpture being created by Richard Hunt, who significantly exhibited his sculptures at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York) concurrently with Romare Bearden’s collages in 1971. Both of these artists were the first African-Americans to have solo shows at MoMA, trailblazing for future artists. Hunt’s significant legacy will continue in Charlotte.

How will your experiences as a former curator at The Mint Museum and as a current International Sculpture Center board member benefit you in your new role as Vice President of Public Art?

I view my role at ASC as an extension of my curatorial practice. In fact, it is not unusual for public art administrators to embrace the title of curator, as they are composing sites and integrating works of art and community on a grand scale. Creating connections among works of art and viewers, helping to open entry ways for audience participation and engagement and sometimes using works of art or participatory practice to tell a story or to encourage dialogue about pertinent topics in a safe setting are all relevant parts of my job. I also have the benefit of a long and significant connection with the International Sculpture Center (ISC), which was originally established as a service organization for sculptors to help identify exhibition and commission opportunities and to create connections among regional and international chapters. The organization creates a forum for dialogue as well as a platform for art criticism through Sculpture magazine and books by ISC Press. My close alliance with the ISC gives me access to many sculptors and arts professionals. Those connections will be an asset as we further develop the public art program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

What do you think are the strengths of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s public art collection and how do you think the collection can be enhanced?

There are some excellent free-standing works of art within the collection, but I think there is also an opportunity to integrate art into sites more seamlessly and encourage multi-use activities around works of art. I also would like to see the evolution of the program so that artists can be engaged with projects at the design phase, so there will be more opportunities to integrate art into design and infrastructure. I think there is also the opportunity to expand the definition of public art to include some temporary works that can create even greater community engagement.

What role can or should public art play in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s continued growth?

I think Charlotte is maturing as a city with a stronger sense of identity, and has less of an inferiority complex. I also believe that public art can help convey the area’s story, as visitors to the city and the significant influx of new residents to Charlotte still have questions about how to define this place— its past, present and aspirations. There is the potential to use public art to create a more holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to enlivening the city and neighborhoods, adding vitality and enriching community life.

What are some of the things on the horizon with public art that people can look forward to in the coming year or two?

Over the next several years there will be many projects of varying scale, ranging from creating works of art for neighborhoods, libraries and municipal buildings, to engaging on a massive scale with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to create a 26-mile trail which connects the many greenways in Charlotte, and integrating art and functional design into that endeavor. There will also be many significant projects at the airport, as terminals and amenities are being constructed. I’m pleased that we can publicize many of the significant projects as they come to fruition and will be devising user-friendly applications to help individuals to engage with the works of art.

Asking you to name your favorite piece of local public art is unfair, so what is your favorite non-Charlotte-Mecklenburg public artwork?

There are so many pieces of public art projects that have stunned me over the years – Cristo and Jeanne Claude’s vibrant orange The Gates on the snow-covered paths of Central Park, which made people smile despite the frigid temperatures; Andy Goldsworthy’s serpentine wall at the Storm King Art Center; Orly Genger’s recent installation at Madison Square Park, constructed of dyed lobster-fishing rope; Olafur Eliasson’s Double Helix stairway; as well as Janet Echelman’s aerial fiber sculpture in Boston. There are two installations I wish I could have seen – Ann Hamilton’s The Event of a Thread – a multi-sensory installation with 42 swings in the Park Avenue Armory; and Ursula von Rydingsvard’s monumental sculptures in the bucolic landscape of the Yorkshire Sculpture Garden.

Besides public art, how are you experiencing our cultural sector?

Our family enjoys the museums at Levine Center for the Arts, and we often participate in the Sunday Family Fun Days. We would like to go to more concerts, but manage to go about twice a year. We attend many art openings at galleries and art spaces, and recently saw Spunk! – Three tales by Zora Neale Hurston by On Q productions. I escape to libraries to read and work, and enjoy the greenway on an almost daily basis.

New public art connects community to neighborhood park

4 Dec

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

“Community Spring,” comprised of three boulders and concrete seating and found along the edge of the playground of the new Reid Park Neighborhood Park, is inspired by the neighborhood’s spring, street patterns and quilting tradition.

“Community Spring,” comprised of three boulders and concrete seating and found along the edge of the playground of the new Reid Park Neighborhood Park, is inspired by the neighborhood’s spring, street patterns and quilting tradition.

Public art, artist Shaun Cassidy said, should acknowledge the space it inhabits and the surrounding community.

“Origins,” “Community Spring” and “Life,” the three pieces that comprise the public art at the new Reid Park Neighborhood Park in Charlotte, accomplishes both and more.

Created by the artist team of Laurel Holtzapple, Lauren Doran and Cassidy, the public art is part of the Neighborhoods in Creative pARTnership initiative launched by the City of Charlotte, the Public Art Commission and ASC to bring more neighborhood-based public art to the city.

Mecklenburg County contributed additional funding to the Reid Park public artwork in order to have it located at the neighborhood park, which opened in November.

Beyond creating a sense of place, the thematic concepts that run through each piece connects to the Reid Park neighborhood’s deep history.

IMG_6256“Origins,” a gateway artwork at the park entrance, honors the pioneers of the neighborhood influential in its founding – Amay James and Ross Reid. “Community Spring,” comprised of three boulders and concrete seating and found along the edge of the playground, is inspired by the neighborhood’s spring, street patterns and quilting tradition.

And “Life,” located by the basketball court, is inspired by the okra plants found in the gardens of early neighborhood residents.


“This park is very, very much a localized community park, so we tried to make the elements and ideas very localized in the park,” Cassidy said. “A lot of that information becomes imagery that’s in the artwork, so hopefully the people that live in the community will see those elements and understand why those elements are in the artwork.”

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte also played a significant role in the Reid Park Neighborhood Park project. The park design was developed by Dylan McKnight with the residents of Reid Park while Dylan was an urban design graduate student at the university.

The university, thanks to the efforts of then-Ph.D. student Tara Bengle, received an ASC Cultural Project Grant to help create tile mosaic benches celebrating the history of Reid Park. Local artist Leslie Scott led the creation of those benches, which are located by the park.

One of the tile mosaic benches created to celebrate the history of the Reid Park neighborhood and located by the new neighborhood park.

One of the tile mosaic benches created to celebrate the history of the Reid Park neighborhood and located by the new neighborhood park.

Scott had residents create handprints that were integrated into the benches, while Holtzapple, Doran and Cassidy worked with Reid Park Academy students to create clay reliefs that were incorporated into “Community Spring.”

Considered together, the mosaic benches and the sculptural pieces within the park reflect Reid Park’s history and the legacy left by its pioneers.

“The children had an opportunity to help make those,” neighborhood advocate Ricky Hall said at last month’s park opening. “Our elderly had a chance to make those and all of our residents had an opportunity.”

So, if public art is judged by Cassidy’s standard – by its integration into its location and its connection to the community – the artwork for the Reid Park can only be considered one thing:

A success.

Through the Neighborhoods in Creative pARTnership initiative, the Charlotte neighborhoods of Grove Park and Reid Park have received public artworks and the neighborhoods of Elizabeth, Sedgefield and the Shamrock Drive Corridor will receive new public art.

Your holiday cultural calendar

4 Dec

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Carolina Voices presents The 61st Annual Singing Christmas Tree Dec. 12-13.

Carolina Voices presents The 61st Annual Singing Christmas Tree Dec. 12-13.

’Tis the season to be cultured!

With the holidays upon us, the creative community is setting out to make this the most culture-filled time of the year.

There are traditions old and new (think Charlotte Ballet’s “Nutcracker” and On Q Productions’A Soulful Noel”), events that inspire folks to unwrap their artistic gifts and yuletide happenings families can enjoy together.

Here’s a look at how ASC’s cultural partners are making the holidays merrier this year, courtesy of

Home Free for the Holidays
Dec. 7.
Where: Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts (430 S. Tryon St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Country vocal band Home Free, past winner of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” perform new music from their recent release, “Country Evolution,” and its 2014 holiday album, “Full of Cheer.”
Cost: Prices begin at $20.

Music and Museum: A Skylark Christmas
Dec. 8.
Where: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art at Levine Center for the Arts (420 S. Tryon St., Charlotte)
What’s Happening: The Skylark Vocal Ensemble, a group of national singers that specialize in a cappella choral music, will tell the Christmas story through choral works spanning six centuries.
Cost: $12 non-museum members, $8 museum members.

JAI presents: A Swingin’ Holiday Celebration at the Booth
Dec. 8.
Where: Booth Playhouse (130 N. Tryon St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Jazz artists, special guests and the JAI All-Stars perform renditions from holiday cartoon and movie classics, including Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” (from “The Sound of Music”), “Frosty the Snowman” and more.
Cost: $20 in advance.

Gingerbread House Workshop
Dec 12.
Where: Knight Gallery at Spirit Square (345 N. College St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Community School of the Arts’ annual holiday tradition offers children a chance to create gingerbread house masterpieces with their families and friends.
Cost: $70 per family (up to 6 people), includes two gingerbread houses.

Clara’s Trip A Nutcracker Story
Dec. 11-12.
Where: Booth Playhouse (130 N. Tryon St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: In this Caroline Calouche & Co. show, Clara LeBlanc trips at a holiday party and is whisked off to the hospital to learn that her ankle is broken. That night her friends and get-well gifts swirl in her dreams.
Cost: $25-45.

Carolina Pro Musica: Christmas at St. Mary’s
Dec. 12.
Where: St. Mary’s Chapel (1129 E. 3rd St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Carolina Pro Musica presents its holiday tradition for the entire family – 18th century music (including works by J.S Bach) with readings of the season and carols for all to sing.
Cost: $8 students/seniors; $16 regular admission.

Holiday Trees for Wildlife
Dec. 12.
Where: Wing Haven (248 Ridgewood Ave., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Celebrate the season by creating edible ornaments for wildlife, crafting take-home ornaments with “treasures” found on a garden walk and enjoying festive refreshments.
Cost: $12 Wing Haven member families; $15 non-family members.

The Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS!
Dec. 12.
Where: Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts (430 S. Tryon St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Created specifically for children ages 3 to 10, this hour-long family-friendly show by Carolina Voices includes rousing sing-a-longs, favorite kids holiday tunes, amazing dancers and a visit from Santa Claus.
Cost: $16.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy
Dec. 11-12.
Where: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (115 W. Seventh St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Talented young singers come together to share the spirit of the season in The Choir School at St. Peter’s annual holiday concerts.
Cost: $15 adults, $5 children under 12, $100 reserved blocks of four.

Amahl and the Night Visitors
Dec. 12.
Where: Sharon Presbyterian Church (5201 Sharon Road, Charlotte).
What’s Happening: In a performance presented by Mosaic Arts, in collaboration with Opera Carolina, three Kings find a crippled boy living with his mother in poverty while stopping to rest on their journey. Yet despite the family’s dire straits, the boy makes a selfless offering and discovers that generosity can truly create miracles.
Cost: $15 adults, children free.

NMCC presents “Sing the Wonders” Christmas concerts
Dec. 12.
Where: Community in Christ Lutheran Church (7621 Norman Island Dr., Cornelius).
What’s Happening: North Mecklenburg Community Chorus’ free concert features a selection of new and traditional holiday favorites.
Cost: Free admission, donations welcome.

Charlotte Folk Society Holiday Potluck & Jams
Dec. 12.
Where: Dilworth United Methodist Church (605 East Blvd., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: The Charlotte Folk Society’s December monthly Gathering features a 30 minute concert of seasonal Celtic music by The Thistledown Tinkers, a song circle and jams and a dinner buffet.
Cost: Bring a dish to share or donate $5 per person.

A Christmas Carol
Through Dec. 13.
Where: Theatre Charlotte (501 Queens Road).
What’s Happening: Theatre Charlotte’s holiday tradition is back for the ninth consecutive year. It is the classic tale of hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
Cost: $12 – $27.

The 61st Annual Singing Christmas Tree
Dec. 12-13.
Where: Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts (430 S. Tryon St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Carolina Voices’ signature production features the 32-foot twinkling “singing Tree” filled with the soaring voices of its MainStage Choir. Special guests include Paul Zeman and Keston Steele, plus the Grey Seal Puppets, Young Voices of the Carolinas and Miller Street Dance Academy.
Cost: $23 – $38 adults, $21 – $36 seniors and $14-$28 youth (13 & under).

Charlotte Pride Band’s “Winter Concert”
Dec. 13.
Where: Temple Beth El (5101 Providence Road, Charlotte).
What’s Happening: The Charlotte Pride Band presents its annual free winter concert, featuring the band’s brass and woodwind ensembles. The groups will perform traditional holiday music as well as other selections arranged for small instrumental groups.
Cost: Free.

A Soulful Noel
Dec. 18.
Where: McGlohon Theatre (345 N. College St. Charlotte).
What’s Happening: On Q Productions’ holiday musical revue re-frames the holiday narrative in a contemporary way with classics such as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “Go Tell it on The Mountain.”
Cost: $20.

Handel’s Messiah
Dec. 18-19.
Where: Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts (430 S. Tryon St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: The Charlotte Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Kenney Potter, perform Handel’s timeless work “Messiah.”
Cost: $29.50-$84.50.

Christmas Belles
Through Dec. 20.
Where: Armour Street Theatre (307 Armour St., Davidson).
What’s Happening: A church Christmas program spins hilariously out of control in this Southern farce about squabbling sisters, family secrets, a surly Santa, a vengeful sheep and a reluctant Elvis impersonator. Presented by Davidson Community Players.
Cost: $20 adults, $18 seniors (65 and older) and $12 students (up to 21).

Scrooge The Musical
Through Dec. 20.
Where: Matthews Community Center (100 McDowell St.).
What’s Happening: The musical, presented by Matthews Playhouse, follows the plot of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” in which the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of a Christmas Eve night after being visited by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
Cost: $15 adults, $12 students and seniors, $10 children 10 and younger.

Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker
Dec. 10-23.
Where: Belk Theater (130 N. Tryon St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: The holiday tradition featuring choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux includes live music from the Charlotte Symphony, over 100 dancers and a breathtaking snowfall.
Cost: Tickets start at $25.

‘Twas the Night Before…
Dec. 12-23.
Where: ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center (300 E. Seventh St., Charlotte).
What’s Happening: Created just for Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, the production weaves together stories and music celebrating the spirit and traditions of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.
Cost: Tickets start at $12.

The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical
Through Dec. 27.
Where: Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte (650 E. Stonewall St.).
What’s Happening: The lovable, zany residents of Armadillo Acres return in this Actor’s Theatre production, in which a new Scrooge-like resident begins to wreak havoc on the fictional town’s festivities during preparations for a holiday contest.
Cost: $31 Wednesday–Thursday, $35 Friday–Sunday.

Regional Artist Project Grants support artists’ passions

4 Dec

By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

How does a computer help a dancer improve her craft?

Arlynn Zachary.

Arlynn Zachary.

It allows Arlynn Zachary to create and review rehearsal videos to help her brain quickly recall movements her muscles performed weeks or months ago. It lets her quickly see what she needs to work on for an upcoming show.

And it lets her to efficiently take care of all of the work that goes into producing shows and events, like the paperwork, the video editing and the marketing, so she can spend more time doing what she loves.


“It gives me all of the background support I need for my dance company,” said Zachary, who applied for – and was awarded – a Regional Artist Project Grant (RAPG) from ASC last year to purchase a MacBook Pro laptop. An example of a dance performance promo video Zachary created with her MacBook is below.


Every year, ASC, in conjunction with arts councils in Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Union and York (S.C.) counties, and with the support of the North Carolina Arts Council and Blumenthal Emerging Artists Endowment, awards project grants to artists of varied disciplines throughout the greater Charlotte region.

The awards allow artists to attend professional development experiences or purchase or rent a piece of equipment.

For Zachary, director of dance for the Charlotte New Music Festival and founder and artistic director of THE MARK dance company, a RAPG grant helped keep her on her toes.

“In the Charlotte area, there are often not a lot of opportunities for dancers and choreographers to get paid for their work,” Zachary said. “For a lot of dancers applying for these awards, it’s honestly because if they don’t get the grant, they won’t be able to sustain the project they’re going for.”

An image dance director and choreographer Arlynn Zachary was able to edit with the MacBook she purchased with her Regional Artist Project Grant.

An image dance director and choreographer Arlynn Zachary was able to edit with the MacBook she purchased with her Regional Artist Project Grant.

This year, 31 established and emerging artists will receive grants ranging from $684 to $2,000. The grantees were selected from 114 applicants, who requested a total of $196,075 for $50,000 in available funding. Recipients represent nine counties and disciplines from film to performing arts and literature to visual art.

Here are the 2016 RAPG recipients:

Josh Barkey – $1,322
To attend the Austin Film Festival in 2016.

Nichole Gause – $650
To purchase a laptop.

Patrice Gopo – $1,995
To enable an emerging literary artist to join and learn from the vibrant writing community at the Wildacres Writing Workshop and Retreat.

Allison Hutchcraft – $1,625
To travel to and attend the 2016 Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Frank Nelson – $1,705
To purchase a digital video camera kit.

John Allemeier – $2,000
To undertake a new music recording project.

Tom Burch – $730
To purchase computer software and training to expand his theatre work into digital media arts for live performance.

Will Campbell – $1,716
To take private jazz saxophone lessons with renowned saxophonist Tim Armacost in New York.

William Fried – $1,635
To purchase a microphone for performing amplified piano and interactive electroacoustic music.

Kim Jones – $1,999
To purchase an Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display to support the documentation of dance reconstruction for American choreographer Paul Taylor’s “Tracer” (1962).

Ethan Uslan – $1,899
To create a home recording studio.

Susan Andre.

Susan Andre.

Susan Andre – $865
To purchase a Double Hotbox – a special, heated palette for printmaking with hot wax, resin, and pigment (encaustic printmaking).

Brian Brockway – $2,000
To purchase a MacBook Pro to assist with development of drawings and paintings, create a digital library for reference images and completed artwork, and design a new website for marketing.

Leigh Anne Carter.

Leigh Anne Carter.

Leigh Anne Carter – $2,000
To purchase a new Macbook Pro laptop.

MyLoan Dinh – $1,766
To purchase a professional heavy duty double masted studio easel and two large scale stretched canvases.

Zaire Kaczmarski.

Zaire Kaczmarski.

Zaire Kaczmarski – $2,000
To acquire a Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR camera.

Marcus Kiser – $1,500
To purchase an iMac computer.

Ruth Ava Lyons – $2,000
To attend the 15th Annual Scuba Club Cozumel Digital Photography Workshop.

Laura McRae-Hitchcock – $2,000
To buy a MacBook Pro with Retina Display to use during an artist residency in Listowel, Ireland, in May 2016.

Brian Neher – $2,000
To purchase a Nikon DSLR camera.

Mark Pendergrass – $2,000
To purchase a Nikon D610 DSLR Camera with AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm VR Lens.

Jessie Rogers – 1,900
To purchase a 27″ Retina Display iMac computer to create the remainder of a short animation entitled “I am a Blind Man.”

Tyler Starr – $684
To purchase an FMS Electro Pounce, which is an electric pencil used to create stencils by burning small holes in paper.

Mark Stephenson.

Mark Stephenson.

Mark Stephenson – $985
To attend the Portrait Society of America Annual Conference 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Dana Gingras – $2,000
To help with the purchase of a pottery kiln.

Julio Gonzalez – $1,800
To purchase a Canon camera.

Joe Knotts – $1,285
To attend a figurative sculpture workshop at Brookgreen Sculpture Garden in Pawley’s Island, S.C.

Jennifer Lawler-Mecca – $2,000
To replace an electric kiln for studio work.

Laraine Middleton – $368
To attend a weeklong winter residency at Penland School in the Drawing/Painting Studio to develop new designs for pottery.

Paul Rousso – $2,000
To purchase Styrene Polycarbonate sheets on which to print to further experiment and test the melding of technology and art.

Michelle Skiba – $2,000
To purchasing a SawStop 3 HP Professional Cabinet Saw.


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