Why This Matters: ASC Cultural Vision Grants respond to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community’s interest in cultural programming by helping Mecklenburg-based creative individuals and groups pursue projects that build community and increase relevance.
By Bernie Petit
A new collaboration will teach Charlotte residents to love their zip code.
The ZIP Code Project, a partnership between 100 Love Notes Foundation, Queen City Forward and Read Charlotte, will build connections between neighbors through participatory photography and digital storytelling.
It’s one of the 16 inaugural projects supported by ASC Cultural Vision Grants, which help nonprofit organizations and creative individuals pursue initiatives that build community or demonstrate relevant cultural expression.
The ZIP Code Project will build community by working with amateur photographers from within eight zip codes – 28202, 28203, 28205, 28208, 28210, 28217, 28269 and 28273 – and professional photographers from outside those zip codes. The goal is to increase awareness of the range of life experiences found within different zip codes.
When thinking about their neighbors, “a lot of people just look to who’s to the left or the right of them or who they see at their Harris Teeter or Food Lion,” said Eleanor Shell, a volunteer consultant for 100 Love Notes. “We’re trying to get people to expand their understanding of ‘neighbor.”
Read Charlotte, a community initiative dedicated to improving youth literacy, will engage the students and families it works with to photograph how they see their zip codes. Queen City Forward, a hub for social entrepreneurs, will curate data for a culminating exhibit and work with the Read Charlotte families on PhotoVoice, a participatory photography and digital storytelling method.
100 Love Notes, started in 2015 by Hyong Yi as a way to honor his late wife on the one-year anniversary of her death, will recruit the professional photographers and work with The Light Factory to display the photographs. As the project unfolds, there will be opportunities for residents within the selected zip codes to participate in workshops that teach them to use photography to tell their stories.
The hope is that the authentic and creative expression of the human experience displayed through the ZIP Code Project, as well as the quality of life data shared as part of the exhibition, will spark curiosity, conversation, connection and social change.
More than 40 groups and individuals applied for the first round of Cultural Vision Grants, with 16 recipients selected to receive combined funding of nearly $100,000 for cultural projects.
Award recipients selected:
To build community by connecting individuals across points of difference to increase understanding, acceptance and positive regard between communities:
- Charlotte Jewish Film Festival – $5,000 to support experiences that engage diverse, non-Jewish audiences with universally appealing stories, characters and themes shared through the film festival.
- Girls Rock Charlotte – $5,000 to launch a new Kids’ Summer Camp program for girls and gender diverse youth that uses rock music education to teach social justice leadership.
- Martha Connerton/Kinetic Works – $5,000 to support a partnership with Changed Choices to present “The Sessions,” a two-day series that includes dance-making workshops for non-dancers, recorded performances of “Moving Stories/Changing Lives” and public discussions.
- Queen City Forward – $7,000 to support the ZIP Code Project, a collaboration with the 100 Love Notes Foundation and Read Charlotte designed to build connection between neighbors through participatory photography and digital storytelling.
To build community by nurturing, celebrating and supporting the authentic cultures and creative expression of specific neighborhoods:
- Central Piedmont Community College Foundation – $5,000 to produce “Dances of India,” a cultural program that celebrates Charlotte’s Indian community by presenting Asian Indian classical and folk performing arts traditions.
- Charlotte Museum of History – $1,250 to support the performance of traditional African drum music and to engage East Charlotte audiences in exploring African-American culture that was part of the settlement of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
- Community Education Project – $4,695 to support “Utrennik,” the annual International New Year Celebration for children that showcases the traditions of Russian-speaking cultures found in the Charlotte area.
- HistorySouth – $5,000 to produce “Legacy Narratives,” a video that will feature the oral histories of 12 long-time residents of Charlotte’s McCrorey Heights neighborhood and be presented in a variety of public forums in 2018.
- Nicholas Napoletano – $6,500 to support a collaboration with Time Out Youth and Aerial CLT for a mural that represents a racially diverse, LGBTQ-inclusive community along the North Tryon corridor.
To increase relevance and innovation by activating nontraditional performance or exhibition spaces close to where people live:
- The Cornelius Cultural Arts Group – $5,000 to support Tawba Walk, a community arts festival that celebrates the culture and character of historic downtown Cornelius by bringing together local artists, businesses and community residents.
- Que-OS – $10,000 to produce the BOOM Festival, an artist/community-led fringe arts festival centered in Charlotte’s Plaza-Midwood neighborhood.
To increase relevance and innovation by providing groundbreaking and participatory experiences that reflect the changing communities in which we live:
- Caroline Calouche & Co. – $7,000 to support the creation and production of “Star Gazer: A Trek Into Outer Space,” which will include interactive astronomical experiences, in April 2017 at Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Booth Playhouse.
- Donna Scott Productions – $6,000 to produce “Eat the Runt,” a play that challenges gender and race differences by utilizing a diverse cast and allowing the audience to cast the show each night.
- MoRA (Monroe Road Advocates) – $10,000 to support middle Monroe Road residents’ and stakeholders’ collaboration with artist Leslie Scott on a public artwork project for their community.
- Three Bone Theatre – $4,975 to engage prospective audience members during the rehearsal process to create performances that directly bind people to the art they help create.
- XOXO – $10,000 to produce “#CAKE,” a multiplatform interdisciplinary performance work that will occur throughout uptown Charlotte and consist of an art installation, a mp3-enhanced surrealist walking tour and a theatrical performance at Goodyear Arts.
Want to Apply?
Mecklenburg County-based creative individuals and nonprofit organizations that want to apply for the next round of ASC Cultural Vision Grants must submit a letter of intent by noon on Friday, March 3, 2017. Full application guidelines are available here.
Organizations that have a current operating or project grant from ASC are not eligible to apply at this time. Funded projects must start between July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018, and conclude before June 30, 2019.
*This blog post has been edited to reflect that a previously selected project was not finalized in time for this grant cycle.