Your Input Needed to Help Create Charlotte’s Long-Term Cultural Plan
Joy Bryant-Bailey will lead Lord Cultural Resources’ efforts on Charlotte’s comprehensive cultural plan
“The cultural planning process is a rare opportunity to have a city-wide conversation about arts and culture. There will be many opportunities for residents to participate, so we hope folks will get involved in shaping the future of arts and culture in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.” – Priya Sircar, Charlotte’s Arts and Culture Officer
Charlotte’s Arts and Culture Advisory Board (of which Charlotte Is Creative’s Tim Miner is a member) has chosen, in a competitive review process, Lord Cultural Resources (LCR) to help create a comprehensive cultural plan for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
LCR’s US president, Joy Bailey-Bryant will lead the planning team in Charlotte. The LCR cultural planning team will work under the oversight of the city’s advisory board and the arts and culture officer, Priya Sircar.
Bailey-Bryant’s team will include local community engagement firm Amplify Charlotte. Another consultant, Fourth Economy, will provide data and economic analysis of the Charlotte arts community. You can be part of shaping the plan by participating in upcoming community engagement sessions led by LCR. Read on to learn more.
The touring cast of Fiddler on the Roof – CREDIT: Joan Marcus
A Timeless Classic with A Timely Perspective
“Fiddler on the Roof” Opens at Belk Theater on May 31
“Our show involves people being kicked out of their homes by Russians. It’s kind of eerie how incredibly similar it is to what we’re experiencing today… It’s happening right now.” – Andrew Hendrick, cast member of Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof took a long road to get to Charlotte, but it’s arriving right on time.
The nearly 60-year-old musical’s timeless themes of love, family and tradition are central to its longevity. But, the show’s engagement in Charlotte — playing at the Belk Theater from May 31 to June 5 — has a powerful, modern-day resonance with the current war in Ukraine, something the cast recognizes every night.
Before you see the show, read our interview with cast member Andrew Hendrick about Fiddler on the Roof’s enduring legacy.
To complement this, Blumenthal Performing Arts (BPA) is donating $10 for each ticket purchased through this link, Blumenthal will donate $10 to International House’s work to be a safe haven for immigrants and refugees. BPA sponsored ths story.
A Mural Rises at Roof Above’s New Facility
“We are SO grateful that Charlotte is Creative introduced us to Rosalia, a powerful force for beauty and storytelling in our community.” – Liz Clasen-Kelly, CEO of Roof Above
You never know how your work will affect other people. In late 2020, we wrote a story here in The Biscuit about Liz Clasen-Kelly and the work she and Roof Above were doing to convert an 88-room hotel on Clanton Road into permanent supportive housing (as well as on-site support services) for people experiencing chronic homelessness in Charlotte.
Local artist and activist (she calls herself an “art-ivist”), Rosalia Torres-Weiner, read the story and wanted to paint a mural on the new facility. Last week, with the help of creative volunteers, she completed it. The new facility is adorned with a three-story mural, designed – in part – with those who will live and work there.
Here are four recent stories about Charlotte’s creative community from local media sources we think you should read/watch:
- Charlotte Pride released a statement in response to the introduction of HB755, which is being called North Carolina’s version of “Don’t Say Gay.” READ MORE.
- The Charlotte Ledger shared information on the fate of the electric sculpture, “Quadrille,” on the side of the Duke Energy building. READ MORE.
- QC LIfe on WBTV celebrated Meck Dec Day by exploring the creation of the “Spirit of Mecklenburg” statue with its creator, artist Chas Fagan. READ MORE.
- WFAE shared five of their favorite local musicians submitted for consideration for NPR’s “Tiny Desk” contest. READ MORE & LISTEN.
To help nudge new artist ideas and events forward, Charlotte Is Creative, publishers of The Biscuit, give local creatives $250 and $1,000 HUG (Helpful Unfettered Gift) micro-grants. Financial support for the HUG program comes from the LendingTree Foundation, Google Fiber and NoDa Brewing.
This month, Blumenthal Performing Arts and WBTV’s Kristen Miranda contributed resources to the HUG program. Below are four creatives awarded with a HUG:
James Carlevatti was one of the earliest HUG grantees. He received $250 in 2018 to purchase more pottery wheels to create more products and teach more hands-on classes at The Little Studio, which he founded.
Four years later, Carlevatti got a Bear HUG grant of $1,000 — a fund available to previous HUG grantees powered by The LendingTree Foundation to expand again – building a Raku kiln and offering Raku firing workshops, classes and other experiences.
Darryl Johnson is using his HUG grant to help fund a Juneteenth celebration he’s producing June 17-19 at 619 Anderson St. The three-day community arts and educational festival will feature music, youth activities, art and fashion.
Cakeable Charlotte “equips people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities with specific and transferable job skills to enhance their employability and empower their inclusion.” The organization is using their HUG to rent space to host eight teaching sessions on candle making. They’ll sell the candles at a farmers market this summer.
The third $250 HUG grantee for May was local photographer Dionna Bright. And, today, she is the subject of our full creative profile.
Photographer Dionna Bright has lived in Charlotte nine years. Through her photography, she seeks to tell creative and authentic stories for her subjects. “Using natural lighting, creative perspectives and beautiful backdrops, I capture love, light and authenticity of you,” she said.
Bright is using her $250 HUG to expand her experience by producing a 2023 calendar. The funds will help her with styling costs for 20 models. This project will enable her to learn more about planning and directing a large photoshoot in collaboration with make-up artists and other fashion creatives.
Tell us about the overall creative community in Charlotte.
Talent. The creative community in Charlotte is talented, passionate and loves giving back.
What does the Charlotte community need to do to support creatives who live and work here?
Create more inclusive spaces for creatives to connect. Devote more funding towards creative projects in the community.
What are the greatest challenges facing your creative career in Charlotte right now?
I find it difficult to find consistent spaces for black and POC creatives to network and meet. I’d love to be connected with a mentor and assist with developing or participating in cultivating more inclusive spaces for creatives.
And, one more thing about Dionna Bright. In April, she was the model for a new mural on the E. MLK Blvd. side of the Charlotte Convention Center. The artists behind the mural are Kalin Renee, Sam Guzzie and Owl, with assistance from Arko and ArtOfEndgame.
Of the experience, Bright said, “The mural is massive, and seeing it in person is always a surreal experience. I, like many others, never imagined seeing myself presented in this way. It’s so beautiful and I’m so blessed, while also feeling very inspired and motivated to continue pursuing my passions and spreading joy.”
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