HUG Life: Three Creatives Receive March HUG Micro-Grants


HUG Life: Three Local Creatives Receive HUG Micro-Grants in March

“It is really nice to see that Charlotte helps to support its creatives. I’m relatively new to the creative art scene, and the HUG Grant has just shown how open and collaborative Charlotte can be.” – Cory Marshman, March 2022 HUG Micro-Grant Recipient

Each month at the gathering of CreativeMornings/Charlotte, Charlotte Is Creative, the nonprofit publisher of The Biscuit, awards HUGS – Helpful Unfettered Gifts — to local creatives and nonprofit organizations. HUGs are $250 micro-grants to help remove an obstacle to a creative project’s success. With the help of sponsors and individual donors, Charlotte Is Creative has awarded nearly 350 HUGs since June 2017. 

In March, we recognized three creatives:

Emily Cloutier
Creative Discipline: Photography
IG: @emilycloutierphotography

Cloutier is using her HUG to replace a lens for her six-year-old camera equipment. During COVID-19, Cloutier was the driving force behind front porch portraits. She drove to people’s houses to take a socially distanced family portrait to lift their spirits.  

From Emily Cloutier: 

“As an artist, when you decide to make your passion your career, it can be a lonely road. You have to trust your gut, chase after your visions and live in your passion every day. Receiving the HUG Grant means my efforts are being noticed. It encourages me to know that I am being supported and valued. The HUG Grant is providing a way for me to continue to better my profession and continue to touch lives through my lens.”

Justin Hicks
Creative Discipline: Visual Arts
IG: @jhicks_0113

Hicks has created an interactive, virtual art exhibition dedicated to documenting the stories of former residents of the Black community known as Brooklyn. His HUG will help secure a Web domain and QR Code for the virtual elements of the exhibition. 

Cory Marshman
Creative Discipline: Craft and Fashion
Instagram: @foxandbearceramics

Marshman is working to purchase silicone and plaster to produce new molds he can use to create ceramic mugs. That will give him the ability to purchase two gallons of silicone, allowing him to make “mother molds” that expand his design offerings.

From Cory Marshman:

“I have always had a hard time thinking of myself as a creative or artistic person. But, during COVID, I’ve found pottery as a mental health hobby. While sharing my ceramics, people have mentioned how they enjoy my art and, to be honest, this has always put me a bit off because I’ve never considered myself an artist. Receiving the HUG grant has made me realize that I am an artist and has made me quite proud of my art.”


March HUG grants were made possible by donations from Hot Sake, Kristen Miranda, host of QC Life on WBTV and Blumenthal Performing Arts. The HUG Micro-Grant program is sponsored by NoDa Brewing, Google Fiber, the LendingTree Foundation and donations from creative companies and individuals.

To donate a HUG or apply for one yourself, visit