Latest ASC Cultural Vision Grant Recipients Announced

Categories: News & Media
Thirty-one groups and individuals receive a combined $198,000 in funding for cultural projects that build community and increase relevance and innovation.
Three of the latest ASC Cultural Vision Grants recipients (from left): Queen City New Play Initiative (Stacy Rose, founder), Lorien Academy and Shawnna Pledger.
Three of the latest ASC Cultural Vision Grants recipients (from left): Queen City New Play Initiative (Stacey Rose, founder), Lorien Academy and Shawnna Pledger.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 1, 2021) – From projects using the power of the arts to build coping skills and ease anxiety/mental health challenges to those promoting racial and social equity, Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents and visitors will have opportunities to experience more community-focused and innovative cultural programs supported by ASC Cultural Vision Grants.

Cultural Vision Grants respond to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community’s interest in arts, science, history and heritage programming. The awards provide funds of up to $10,000 to support high quality arts and culture projects presented within Mecklenburg County by Mecklenburg County-based creative individuals or nonprofit organizations that advance one of the following goals:

  • Building community by connecting individuals across points of difference
  • Building community by nurturing, celebrating, and supporting authentic cultures and creative expression
  • Increasing relevance by using arts, science and history to address complex community issues
  • Increasing innovation by supporting the creation of new and groundbreaking work

Sixty-nine groups and individuals applied for the latest round of Cultural Vision Grants, with 31 recipients selected to receive a combined $198,000 in funding. All projects are anticipated to conclude by June 30, 2022.

Forty-five percent of the grantees are first-time Cultural Vision Grant recipients and 71 percent of the projects are led by and/or serve communities that have historically been under resourced, including African, Latin-a/o/x/e, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA), LGBTQ and disability communities. 

“ASC is proud to fund the work of Charlotte-Mecklenburg creative individuals and cultural organizations – in spite of an ongoing pandemic and other challenges – that continue to engage and strengthen our communities through arts and culture,” said ASC President Krista Terrell. “We appreciate our public and private donors who understand and believe in ASC’s commitment to cultural equity and our centering of community in all that we do. This support allows us to invest in the people, programs and ideas that move us toward a more equitable, sustainable and innovative creative ecosystem.”

Award recipients are:

  • The Arts Empowerment Project — $6,250 to support bringing together youth and law enforcement officers through art to positively impact the nature of community-police interactions in Charlotte.
  • Barre Belle — $3,750 to support low-income, underrepresented youth through exposure and access to ballet.
  • Lakeetha Blakeney — $6,250 to support the stage and film production of “Sweet Jenn,” which acknowledges past horrors in American history that relate to the enslavement of Africans/African Americans in order to move society forward in truth and reconciliation.
  • Charlotte Film Society — $6,250 to support the Charlotte Film Festival, a yearly multicultural film festival organized by the Charlotte Film Society, with the mission to foster diverse and inclusive cinematic arts and educational outreach.
  • Charlotte Museum of History — $6,250 to support the annual African American Heritage Festival and Indigenous Peoples Celebration.
  • Charlotte Pride Band — $8,250 to support Charlotte Pride Band concerts and community outreach focusing on music by LGBTQIA composers and composers of color celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion and cultural understanding of these communities.
  • CineOdyssey Film Festival — $8,250 to support the CineOdyssey Film Festival, which celebrates and gives voice to filmmakers of color from the African, Caribbean, Latin-a/o/x/e, Asian and Native American diasporas.
  • Digi-Bridge — $9,500 to support partnership with Briarwood Academy for year of STEAMLab educational programming.
  • Vickie Evans — $6,500 to support the production of “The Gift,” a play about the African American experience.
  • Friends of President Polk’s Birthplace, Inc. — $3,500 to support the interpretive program, “Inalienable Rights: Living History Through the Eyes of the Enslaved,” presented by the Slave Dwelling Project at The President James K. Polk State Historic Site.
  • Dionne D. Hunter — $3,250 to support underserved communities color, including nursing home residents and children of single parents, by introducing ways of expressing themselves through the arts and providing insights into Black history and complex social issues.
  • India Association of Charlotte — $8,250 to support the annual Festival of India, presenting and preserving the rich cultural diversity of India for the mainstream community of Mecklenburg, under the umbrella of the CLT SHOUT! festival.
  • International House of Metrolina, Inc. — $7,000 to support the local immigrant artist community through “The Journey: Art Exhibit and Competition,” showcasing artwork depicting local immigrants journeys to the U.S.
  • Anne Lambert / Charlotte’s Off-Broadway — $6,250 to support productions of “She Kills Monsters,” which is to be co-produced by Charlotte’s Off-Broadway (Anne Lambert) and Women in Plays (Sheri Marvin) at the Arts Factory black box theatre in spring 2022.
  • Learning Resources for Change — $7,500 to support the installation of new murals and accompanying programming at Echo Makerspace.
  • Lorien Academy of the Arts — $8,250 to support an eight-week Summer Art Academy for youth living in low-income households.
  • Nadia Meadows — $2,000 to support the material and exhibition costs of “Subtle Oppression,” an art installation that, through the exploration of natural hair braiding and twists, examines the subtle injustices that African Americans and other races face.
  • Metrolina Association for the Blind — $2,500 to create a descriptive mural tour, “Visual Art is for Everyone,” for Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents and visitors with vision loss by partnering with Disability Rights and Resources and Art Walks CLT.
  • Metrolina Native American Association — $9,250 to support engagement with authentic Native American culture, through interactive online experiences and the 2022 powwow in Mecklenburg.
  • Marlon Morrison — $3,250 to support better relations between law enforcement and communities of color through filming a round table discussion hosted by Officer Reggie Richardson, co-founder of The SEE Program, and screenings of the documentary.
  • Moving Poets Charlotte Inc. — $6,250 to support the creation of a new media and dance theatre production of “The Little Prince” with local multi-disciplinary artists.
  • Our Daily Bread Foundation — $7,500 to support Micah’s Bakery Program, a training program for disenfranchised individuals to learn the history, art and science of baking authentic bread, while celebrating and uniting cultures in our communities.
  • Shawnna Pledger — $3,750 to support the Youth Exchange Project, a multidisciplinary arts summer immersion program that builds empathy across cultural divides.
  • Project Scientist — $8,250 to support under-invested girls in Charlotte by providing a high-quality, equitable enrichment experience through the Project Scientist Virtual STEM Lab.
  • Promise Resource Network — $9,500 to support partnerships with community creatives, bringing healing through arts and science.
  • QC Family Tree — $8,250 to support a community-engaged artist residency during Fall 2021 at QC Family Tree in west Charlotte.
  • Queen City Art Fest — $5,000 to support economic empowerment, heightened awareness, significance and need for African diaspora art culture.
  • Queen City New Play Initiative — $7,500 to support “Remember When …,” a commissioning and sharing of micro-plays about artistically underserved Charlotte communities.
  • SouthEnd ARTS — $7,000 to support the growth of an inclusive community committed to racial equity and progress for all through the arts by creating equity art exhibitions, building cultural bridges and empowering underinvested artists.
  • Jacobo Strimling — $9,500 to support and celebrate the contributions and achievements of Charlotte’s Latin-a/o/x/e community through “Los Charloteanos,” a series of original illustrations and stories featured online and at a signature event.
  • Camerin Watson — $3,250 to develop a movement for Collective Healing through Collective Dance in Fall 2021.

Initial applications for the next round of ASC Cultural Vision Grants for Mecklenburg County-based creative individuals and nonprofit organizations are currently being accepted through Wednesday, Sept. 8 at noon.

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ASC Cultural Vision Grants are supported, in part, by Mecklenburg County, the Infusion Fund and its generous donors, and individual donors to ASC.


Bernie Petit