By Bernie Petit
Just what is “Imagine 2025: Share the Vision,” the forward-thinking event taking place Sept. 23 at Booth Playhouse?
It’s a creative and interactive conference to inspire members of the cultural sector.
It’s a day of artistic performances to energize the community.
It’s a forum for prominent national and local speakers to spark the imaginations of creative people across our region.
And it’s the vehicle for the Arts & Science Council (ASC) to release the results of the community’s cultural vision plan, “Imagine 2025: A Vision for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s 21st Century Cultural Development.”
“It sets forth a vision for the future but it doesn’t give out all the steps along the way, which requires all of us in this community to be creative and innovative,” said ASC President Robert Bush. “We wanted to reveal the vision plan in a new and different way that brings some of the most creative individuals from both the nonprofit cultural sector and the for-profit creative sector together.”
In short, “Imagine 2025” – both the upcoming event and the vision plan – is something our community has never attempted at a time when local residents are calling for expanded cultural opportunities.
“The plan and the day that we are going to unveil it are built around the central themes that the community articulated to us about building community using arts and culture, providing innovative programming for a rapidly changing population, and ensuring critical thinking and creativity are a part of every child’s education,” Bush said.
Tackling those themes require a different approach.
“So at this rollout,” Bush said, “you will hear from local artists and arts leaders talking about things that we’re already doing to advance those themes, national people talking about how we can engage the community in new and different ways, and private sector innovators around how creativity is a critical part of our for-profit economy.”
National presenters include Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation vice president for arts, and Aaron Dworkin, founder, Sphinx Organization and member of President Obama’s National Council on the Arts.
More than eight additional speakers, including David Mohler, vice president of emerging technology, Duke Energy; Michael Ford, owner, Upstage NoDa; and Dr. Jean Wright, chief innovation officer, Carolinas HealthCare System, will also share their perspectives on issues important to the cultural sector.
There will be performances by physical theater expert CarlosAlexis Cruz, who will be presented with the 2014 ASC McColl Award at the event, and Community School of the Arts bassist Eric Thompson III, as well as a science-based performance by Discovery Place and short films by students of Studio 345, ASC’s out-of-school youth development program for high school students.
Participants will be able to engage “Imagine” speakers about cultural topics in sessions facilitated by national radio personality Sheri Lynch and ASC vice president Ryan Deal, co-hosts for the event.
Other speakers include: Regina Boyd, program director, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Shaun Cassidy, associate professor of fine arts, Winthrop University; Amy Herman, founder, Vintage Charlotte; Lisa Hoffman, associate director, McColl Center for Art + Innovation; Irania Macias-Patterson, co-founder, CrissCross Mangosauce; and Rosalia Torres-Weiner, founder, Project Art Aid.
The cultural vision plan provides a roadmap for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s 21st century cultural development.
The “Imagine 2025” event brings together a collection of creative minds to inspire us all to make the journey together.
“This is about how we advance together on this front, that no one entity is going to drive this development,” Bush said. “Achieving this vision is going to be something that we all share together.”
Tickets to the daylong event are $25, which includes lunch, and available at CarolinaTix.org. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Duke Energy are the presenting sponsors.