Investments continue to build and strengthen community by providing access to arts and cultural experiences for all residents
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 10, 2017) — ASC, whose mission is to ensure access to an excellent, relevant and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region, announced today initial investments for FY18 – $5.75 million to help ensure Culture For All. The investments are made possible through restricted and unrestricted public and private dollars given to ASC to support the vitality of the region’s cultural community.
“In addition to supporting the operations of established and emerging arts, science and history organizations, we are also pleased to invest in programs that align with ASC’s mission and commitment to respond to community needs articulated in the Cultural Vision Plan and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force report,” said ASC President Robert Bush. “ASC’s funding supports organizations whose programs entertain and inspire us as well as programs that build social capital and enhance Pre-K-12 education, strengthening and training cultural professionals and volunteers and lifting up creative individuals.”
Initial investments include support of arts and cultural experiences in all six Mecklenburg County towns, programs that build community by celebrating and supporting the authentic cultures and creative expression of specific neighborhoods and increasing relevance and innovation by activating nontraditional performance or exhibition spaces close to where people live and operating support for established and emerging cultural organizations. Two cultural groups that did not receive operating funds from ASC in FY17 will receive it in FY18: Three Bone Theatre and Tosco Music Parties.
Grant requests were evaluated by a panel of national and local financial and arts agency leaders.
ASC’s new grant making policy, approved in 2015, began a transition for Operating Support grant recipients to ensure sustainability of the program and provide operating support to emerging cultural groups that reflect the changes and growth of our population. Year one of what was to be a multi-year transition to lower grant maximum awards was completed in June. However, ASC experienced an accelerated shift from unrestricted funding to restricted funding due to donor interests in 2017. This shift has impacted funding to support the operations of cultural organizations. The pool available for unrestricted Operating Support grant awards in FY18 declined by $612,000. This reality accelerated decreases for 11 recipients.
In FY18, an increase in restricted funding will allow ASC to continue to seek solutions to barriers to participation in cultural experiences though the Culture Blocks initiative. An increased restricted investment of $175,000 from Mecklenburg County allows Culture Blocks to engage people in communities that have historically low levels of participation with ASC-funded programs. Through this program, ASC works in partnership with parks, recreation centers and libraries to facilitate dialogue, listening and understanding local residents’ perspectives on arts and culture to identify ways to introduce new or relevant arts and cultural programs in those communities.
ASC also received new restricted funding of $200,000 from the city of Charlotte to support Studio 345, a free, out-of-school time development program for high school students that uses the arts to inspire them to stay in school and graduate. In the past four years, one hundred percent of students enrolled in Studio 345 graduated from high school. Studio 345 is also receives restricted funding from Mecklenburg County.
ASC’s planned investments for FY18 will also support cultural learning experiences for Mecklenburg County pre-K-12 students, commissions for new public art across Charlotte-Mecklenburg, workshops and training opportunities for organizations and creative individuals and more.
ASC seeks to ensure all residents and visitors have access to a vibrant, excellent, relevant and sustainable cultural community. The organization advocates and provides grants and services to support arts, science and history organizations and creative individuals by combining resources from the public and private sectors to maximize community impact. ASC’s mission is to ensure access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.
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Krista Terrell, APR