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200Artists: SouthEnd ARTS Helps Artists Find Their Voice (and Each Other)by Porter Metzler on May 28, 2019
Charlotte’s a growing city. And, that can mean growing pains.
New restaurants, breweries and apartments seem to pop up all across the city overnight, but when these businesses come in, artists are often displaced. While it’s exciting to see our city expand, it is important to realize the impact these new spaces create on our community.
As recently as 2017, over 100 artists in South End lost their affordable studio and exhibition spaces. The lack of affordable studio spaces led to the creation of SouthEnd ARTS in 2018 and later, their grassroots 200Artists movement. The dynamic of SouthEnd’s art community was struggling with the changes brought by development and the group wanted to provide some relief for creatives. They put the call out … and artists responded, igniting passion, creativity and kindness.
“It wasn’t a spark. It was a full-out forest fire,” said K Liles, one of the organization’s founders.
SouthEnd Arts’ mission is to create equity exhibition space, build cultural bridges and empower artists and their communities in Historic South End.
As important as providing exhibition space is, SouthEnd ARTS wants to do more. They seek to provide artists in SouthEnd and all of Charlotte with a voice — a common voice that will guide the cultural future of Charlotte as our city continues to evolve and change.
The 200Artists group meets at the Charlotte Trolley Powerhouse from 5:30-8:30pm the first Friday of every month. It urges a wide array of local creatives to attend and engender a sense of community that is recognized and respected by city leadership. Today, they are focused on fostering community awareness, identifying affordable studio and exhibition spaces and driving sustainability and visibility for Charlottean artists and their work.
K. Liles believes that as Charlotte grows, we must not forget to look out for our already existing communities. She’s working to make sure her group keeps the impact of the arts and the needs of Charlotte creatives top of mind. As she puts it, “SouthEnd ARTS is like a boulder rolling down a mountain. The only thing to do is get out of the way and let it happen.”
Upcoming SouthEnd Arts Events
“ARTS at the Trolley”
June 6-7, 2019 | 5:30-8:30pm | Charlotte Trolley – 1507 Camden Road
- Meet 12 Artists & their prize-winning juried work.
- Buy affordable, local art for your environment.
- Develop new relationships with Charlotte creatives.
- Free admission.
June 7, 2019 | 3:30-4:30pm | Charlotte Trolley – 1507 Camden Road
- Topic: “How to ‘Work’ your Solo Show”
- Speaker: Elijah Kell
June 7, 2019 | 4:30-5:30pm | Charlotte Trolley – 1507 Camden Road
- Discuss the concern of affordable studio and exhibition space in South End.
OUR FRIEND NIKKI EASON SPEAKS AT A RECENT MEETING OF 200ARTISTS