Why This Matters: Upcoming spring festivals and events illustrate how ASC supports cultural programming that builds community and demonstrates relevant cultural expression.
By Bernie Petit
BOOM Charlotte, as Hip Hop Orchestrated founder Kia Moore explained, is “Where bars, parking lots and resource centers become houses of art.” It’s where “the start of something new overtakes the psyche of the city.”
The second-year event, which takes place April 28-30, is about bringing the art “left of center stage” to the forefront in multiple venues across the business district of Charlotte’s Plaza-Midwood neighborhood. The three days of art, performance and the unexpected will include more than 50 free and cheap ($10) performances at seven venues within walking distance of each other.
The artist/community-led fringe arts festival celebrates the original and contemporary work created in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region and beyond.
Beyond that, it increases relevance and innovation by activating nontraditional performance or exhibition spaces close to where people live, which is why organizing nonprofit Que-OS was awarded a $10,000 Cultural Vision Grant from ASC to produce the festival.
The Cultural Vision Grant program responds to the community’s interest in arts, science, history and heritage programming that builds community or demonstrates relevant cultural expression as defined by the community’s Cultural Vision Plan.
BOOM Charlotte isn’t the only upcoming ASC-supported festival where artists and creatives will take over local streets, avenues and – in one case – waterways:
- The Cornelius Cultural Arts Group received a $5,000 Cultural Vision Grant to support Tawba Walk, a free community arts festival that celebrates the culture and character of historic downtown Cornelius by bringing together local artists, businesses and community residents. It takes place from 2-8 p.m. Saturday, April 29.
- The annual Kings Drive Art Walk returns to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway on Kings Drive (600 S. Kings Dr., Charlotte) May 6-7. The free event showcases fine and emerging artists. In addition to artwork ranging from clay and metal to mixed media and painting on display and available for purchase, there will also be crafts, music and family entertainment. Festival in the Park received a $15,000 grant from ASC to support this festival and its eponymous fall festival at Freedom Park.
- The 2017 Asian Festival and Dragon Boat Race, which takes place May 13 at Ramsey Creek Park (18841 Nantz Road, Cornelius), is a free family-friendly event celebrating Asian cultures and history. It is punctuated by annual Dragon Boat races between various community teams. It also includes cultural exhibits, performances, food and vendors.
These events are the spark that brings Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents and visitors together to enjoy arts and culture in nontraditional settings.
Leave it to BOOM Charlotte to light the fuse.