Help Us Set the City Ablaze with Creativity
ABOVE: Tim Miner & Matt Olin at LaCa Projects’ Franco Fasoli mural – CREDIT: Logan Cyrus
“Charlotte. Is. Creative.”
This is what we said to ourselves a little over six years ago when we won the opportunity to launch the Charlotte chapter of CreativeMornings. It was a statement we believed deeply, even before we really understood just how creative the Charlotte community truly is.
We were curious to see just what would happen if we gathered people together, introduced them to creative individuals in every corner of the city and invited them to tell others what they learned. And, as hundreds of Charlotteans joined in every month, we knew we’d tapped into something amazing.
“Charlotte. Is. Creative.” It was our mantra from day one. It was our guiding belief. And, it was aspirational. We believed it. We wanted others to, as well. We wanted it to be a vital part of how all of us talk about our city. We wanted to see how much more we could be.
IT SPARKED SOMETHING SPECIAL
ABOVE: Quiz Show at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church – CREDIT: Donna Bise
We had no idea of the fiery passion that would be unleashed by that first meeting in November 2015 – an energy, a vibrancy that Charlotte had been craving. This led us to be connected to hundreds of creative individuals. And, it inspired us to connect them to each other, to resources and funding, to promotional opportunities and to training. We’ve been doing that ever since … and we need your help to keep it going. (More about that a little later.)
As the months passed, we were amazed at the number of people who came forward and challenged us to go even further. And, many gave us support and money to explore where to go next – initiatives like Queen City Quiz Show, the HUG Micro-Grant program and The Biscuit media channels.
The support we were given propelled us into helping to launch incredible projects ranging from the Black Lives Matter Mural with the City of Charlotte, BLKMRKTCLT and Brand the Moth to LOCAL/STREET with King Carla at the Mint Museum, SouthEnd Blooms with Charlotte Center City Partners, the Path of Portraits with the Charlotte Museum of History, the Art of Transformation with Charlotte Rescue Mission and creative engagement projects in Charlotte’s corridors of opportunity.
SUPPORTING CREATIVITY IS A FULL-TIME JOB
ABOVE: #HopeUSA creative community event with Wells Fargo at Derita Dairy Bar
Three years ago, running Charlotte Is Creative as a nonprofit organization became our full-time work. With the support of corporate sponsors and individual donations, we have been able to spend all day, every day promoting, counseling, connecting, training and advocating for Charlotte’s creative community. Most of all, it’s helped us put more and more creatives to work.
In 2021, our supporters (including the LendingTree Foundation, Wells Fargo, OrthoCarolina, Lowe’s, Blumenthal Performing Arts, Charlotte Center City Partners, NoDa Brewing, Google Fiber, the Reemprise Fund, Honeywell and more) allowed us to:
- Put more than 100 Charlotte-based creatives to work
We developed and managed custom internal and external creative projects, allowing us to hire artists all over our city – beautifying businesses, adding vibrancy to neighborhoods and delighting audiences online and in real life
- Award more than 60 HUGs (“Helpful Unfettered Gifts”) and 17 Bear HUGS
HUGs range from $250 to $1,000 strings-free grants to nudge creative projects forward, $300 credits at the Charlotte Community ToolBank and four months of free studio space at the McColl Center
- Publish The Biscuit Newsletter 52 weeks and Every Day on Social Media
We’re proud to be Charlotte’s “talent scouts,” to tell the stories of your new favorite creatives, to introduce you to paid art opportunities and to alert you to events you can’t wait to attend. We’re often the first publication to discover the creatives we cover … and we’re proud of that
- Launch the Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative
In the fall of 2021, Wells Fargo helped us pilot a new program that matches grant funding with business training sessions with local leaders to help 7 creatives approach their work as entrepreneurs and invest in themselves for immediate and future success
There’s a lot more, but you get the picture. (And, if you want to work with us and help fund an initiative like the ones described above, connect with us at hello@charlotteiscreative )
Along the way, we continue to provide free counseling to individual artists and creative organizations big and small, and we work hard to share our social capital and introduce them to one another for mutual benefit.
We’re able to support others because we, in turn, are supported by those who believe in our work. People who believe that Charlotte is truly creative. But, there’s so much more work to do. And, we need help to do it.
ARE YOU READY TO SPARK A FIRE?
ABOVE: CreativeMornings at Camp North End – CREDIT: Heather Liebler
Today, having since connected, funded, promoted and advocated for hundreds of area creatives, we have a question for you:
- Are you ready to start a fire? (The good kind – like a controlled burning.)
- Do you want to help the blaze of creativity light up the Queen City?
- Do you want to see what’s truly possible when a community’s full creative capacity is set free?
To do that, we need you to help us spark little creative fires all across the city. Charlotte Is Creative (CIC) is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and thus depends on donations to support its community programs and initiatives.
Your tax deductible gift will support our organization as we continue to lead the way in infusing critical new thinking into our community’s mindset – namely, that artistic and creative entrepreneurship is a viable pathway to economic mobility and generational wealth. Creatives are small businesses, and Charlotte’s growing reputation as a pro-creativity city is a key ingredient toward economic success for all.
CIC believes in individuality, so we have created multiple ways to give. Whether you strike a match with a one-time donation or fuel a bonfire with a monthly gift, you’re a part of supporting creative ventures in the Queen City. Consider donating at one of the following levels:
Firestarters (One-Time Donations)
- Tinder: $1-50
- Kindling: $51-$250
- Fuel: $251+
Firekeepers (Monthly Donations)
- Embers: $10-$25
- Flames: $26-$50
- Bonfires: $51-$150
- Trailblazers: $151+
YOU LIGHT US UP. WE’LL LIGHT YOU UP.
To thank you for your support, we are starting a new program — Pilot Light Sessions. These private, virtual performances will showcase local artists and are available only to donors. Get access to these VIP sessions and more by donating today!
Visit our DONATION PAGE and get ready for things to really heat up in 2022!
Thank you for helping us get here. Let’s work together to keep it going.
Matt Olin & Tim Miner
Charlotte Is Creative
Applications for Easter Eggs on Parade are due Feb. 14
As we said above, developing and promoting ways for creatives to find support and get paid to work is a key part of our mission. Here are three opportunities for paid artistic work and support you should know about … now!
ONE: Apply to Design an Easter Egg on Parade
Charlotte SHOUT! Is returning April 1 through 17. Charlotte Center City Partners has issued the first call to artists. Apply to decorate one of 12 giant eggs that will be on display in Romare Bearden Park. The deadline is Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. Learn more here.
TWO: Apply for Charlotte’s Creative Placemaker Pool
The City of Charlotte’s Urban Design Center (UDC) has opened applications to be considered for addition to UDC’s creative pool, open to creatives ranging from visual artists, performers and photographers to poets, fabricators and more. The deadline to apply is March 4. Find more here.
THREE: Apply for The Be-With Installation
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church has partnered with Charlotte Art League to offer a paid art commission with religious themes and purpose. The deadline to apply is Feb. 7. Find out more here.
FOUR: Apply for a HUG Grant Today
If you’ve got a creative idea (nonprofit or for-profit) that just needs a little help to get started, apply for a $250 HUG (“Helpful Unfettered Gift”) to remove just one obstacle in your way. Or, if you’re doing creative work supporting a charitable effort in Charlotte, apply for a Helping Hand HUG, $300 credit to the Charlotte Community Tool Bank, powered by The LendingTree Foundation. Find more here.
OBRA Collective – One of 22 “Our Creatives to Watch in ’22”
MEET 11 CREATIVES TO WATCH IN ’22
Our goal this year is to feature more than a 100 different creative individuals and groups who are sharing their passions through their work in the Charlotte area. Throughout January, we’ve been sharing 22 creatives we think you should be watching in 2022 on Instagram and BiscuitCLT.com.
These creatives are poised to do big things in the year ahead. We have our eyes on them. You should, too. Here are the first 11. Click the button to read more about them.
- Bae Hart (The Bae Hive)
- Caro Diaz (Inka Print)
- Eric Gorman and Julia Jackson (Wily)
- Jorge Gonzalez (Bonitos Hats)
- Katlyn “Kat” Cornelius (TuxedoKat)
- Katie Woods (Wray Ward)
- Leon Parker (Sculptor)
- LP7 (Musician)
- OBRA Collective (Latinx Creatives)
- Priya Sircar (City of Charlotte)
- Chef Renaldo Norris (Renaldo’s Culinary Experience)
|The Biscuit is proudly sponsored by: