It’s Dangerous To Go Alone. Read This.
BUILDING CONNECTIONS HUG BY HUG
Connection can’t be bought.
Connection must be built.
Connection is not C.O.D.
Connection is D.I.Y.
We can’t do this without each other. Building a creative career in any city is a task that few have the stomach and the drive to see through to the end. Betting on yourself, leaning into your passion, trusting in your talent and jumping off that cliff to create … and then share … a piece of yourself with the world is scary.
But, as the wise wizard in Legend of Zelda (the OG from 1986, kids) said: “It’s dangerous to go alone.”
We creatives often work alone. But, that doesn’t mean we are alone. On the whole, local artists are collaborative and supportive. We share what we know. We bring others along for the journey. We champion those around us. It’s kind of our creative community’s superpower.
But, that doesn’t just happen. And, it can’t be bought. It happens interaction by interaction. Conversation by conversation. Hug by hug.
CONNECTIONS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Earlier this year, through a survey of local creatives we conducted with UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, 56% of respondents said they were extremely satisfied as a creative here. And, 24% said they were somewhat or extremely dissatisfied.
The difference between being happy and being frustrated wasn’t money, space or jobs. It was whether or not respondents felt connected to other creatives in the Charlotte area.
WIDEN YOUR CIRCLE
And, it’s not just here. A recent national study ** revealed that connecting with others – especially those from different socioeconomic groups – is the key to success for everyone. An article in the New York Times about the findings states:
“These cross-class friendships — what the researchers called economic connectedness — had a stronger impact than school quality, family structure, job availability or a community’s racial composition. The people you know, the study suggests, open up opportunities, and the growing class divide in the United States closes them off.”
So, the good news is, all of us can be part of building success and happiness for our artistic community here. The bad news is, it takes time, effort and commitment. No matter how much capital we invest, it can’t be bought. It must be built.
7 YEARS AGO, WE STARTED CONNECTING
That’s what we’ve been working on since we first gathered creatives together to hear Jen Band, founder of Playing for Others, speak at CreativeMornings/Charlotte on Nov. 6, 2015. That drive to bring people together to share, encourage and champion our city’s creative prowess is behind everything we do. Please read more about two of our programs below. We hope you take part.
You don’t have to start an event or a nonprofit to connect with others. Just act. If you see a creative who inspires you, reach out. DM them. Have coffee. Share an encouraging word. Collaborate with them. Hire them.
After all, who are we to argue with a video game wizard? It’s dangerous out there. Don’t go alone.
All good things,
Tim Miner & Matt Olin
Charlotte Is Creative
** New York Times: “Vast New Study Shows a Key to Reducing Poverty: More Friendships Between Rich and Poor” – by Claire Cain Miller, Josh Katz, Francesca Paris and Aatish Bhatia – Aug. 1, 2022
IMAGE ABOVE: Based on original screen from Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda.
We’ll Drop New Art. You Drop the Knowledge.
The Drop … drops on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.
Like we said above, connection is critical. It’s what drives the Charlotte creative community forward.
You know Charlotte Is Creative loves to gather creatives together. And, you know we work to help emerging and under-resourced creatives make new work or show their work to a larger audience.
Often, those are separate endeavors. What if those two efforts had a baby? Our new quarterly event, The Drop, is doing just that.
COMBINING CONVERSATION WITH COMMISSIONED ART
Made possible by support from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Spark the Arts Grant and Divine Barrel Brewing, The Drop is a public event that combines creative community fellowship with the unveiling of a new 12’ x 8’ mural commissioned from local artists of color, followed by a community discussion about opportunities, challenges and movements in Charlotte’s creative community.
The murals remain on display at Divine Barrel for a few months and will then be donated to a local organization for ongoing display. The art will also be featured on cans of Divine Barrel beer distributed throughout North Carolina.
“We’re excited to be a part of The Drop,” said Gavin Toth, co-owner of Divine Barrel. “It’s everything Divine Barrel has strived to be. Community, art, and communication all wrapped up in a great series of events.”
Matt Olin, co-founder of Charlotte Is Creative, agrees. “When you can combine compensation (a commissioned mural) with innovative exposure (statewide distribution of their artwork on beer cans), this is another way we can really start to move the meter for creatives on the rise.”
STARTING WITH THE WEST SIDE
For the inaugural gathering of The Drop on Nov. 15, Charlotte Is Creative partnered with #BEATTIESFORDSTRONG, led by artist and educator Ricky Singh, to create the mural. Singh selected artists Ty McBride and Danyelle Ray to co-create the first Drop mural.
“I hope that this opportunity continues to put Beatties Ford Road and the west side of Charlotte in the forefront of conversations regarding community building and engagement,” said Singh.
“Every step forward is an opportunity to share all that is great on the west side, past, present and building for the future. Being a part of The Drop inaugural series is an honor. It is through support and innovative thinking that great things are born.”
Drop Into The Drop
Join us for The Drop on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. to be among the first to see this exciting new work, engage in conversation with the artists and creative team and meet new Queen City creatives. Attendance is free. To get updates on The Drop and let us know you’ll be dropping by, click here.
Apply for Grant Funding Combined with Paid Business Training in 2023
Charlotte Is Creative believes every creative who earns money from their creative work is also a small business. And, as our recent survey of local creatives showed, creatives in Charlotte consider business training to be as important as funding. We decided to tackle both in one program.
With a second year of support from Wells Fargo, Charlotte Is Creative is excited to announce that applications are open for the second cohort of the Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative (CEI), a program that will reward a group of up to 10 creatives with 10 sessions of business classes taught by local subject matter experts, paired with additional support and promotion.
CEI cohort members will be paid $75 to attend each class and will receive a $1,500 grant upon successful completion of the program. These funds can be used to expand a specific project or to enhance their creative business with equipment purchases, legal fees, infrastructure, etc.
CLASS TOPICS INCLUDE:
- Budgeting and Billing
- Goal Setting and Planning
- Contracts and Legal Documents
- Business Communication
- Marketing and Public Relations
- Available Charlotte Resources for Creatives
- Measuring Impact Against Goals
WHO SHOULD APPLY
We’re looking for Mecklenburg County artists and creatives with big ideas and a desire to hone entrepreneurial proficiency and build sustainable creative businesses.
DATES AND DEADLINES
CEI runs from January to April 2023. The application deadline is 11/27/22 at 8 p.m. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
Jake Summerour Dips His Pen into Inktober
Each October, illustrators across the globe challenge themselves and each other to create an original work of art (with a new word-based theme each day) and post it on social media every day.
Many Charlotte creatives took part in 2022, but one who came to our attention was Charlotte unicorn (seriously, he was born here), Jake Summerour. An engineer by day, Summerour has the soul of an artist. It’s a toss-up as to who enjoyed the process the most, the artist or those who watched him work.
“It’s such an interactive process with other artists all over the world,” said Summerour. “Everybody is working on the same word so it’s cool to share and then explore everyone else’s piece. It’s incredibly supportive as we’re all just trying to get through it together.”
You can see the entire body of Summerour’s Inktober work here, but below are a few of our favorites.
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