Why This Matters: An ASC Cultural Vision Grant supports The Roll Up CLT, which explores economic improvement through people, community arts and creative strategies in Charlotte’s Camp Greene community.
By Bernie Petit
Taking ownership of the issues or challenges you see with the tools you have is at the heart of The Roll Up CLT, a community-based artist residency which explores economic improvement through people, art and creative strategies in Charlotte’s historic Camp Greene neighborhood.
Founder Jessica Moss acquired the property for The Roll Up CLT in 2016. She spent a year rehabbing what had been a vacant property for more than a decade into a habitable home, gallery and workspace for artists.
She gets her real estate prowess from her father, an agent who met her mom while showing property to the maternal side of Moss’s family. Her do-it-yourself spirit comes from her mother – and a home repair TV icon.
“I remember growing up watching Bob Vila pre-HGTV and learning value of not relying on strictly others but first being able to see what you can accomplish with the means that you have,” Moss said.
Her work developing the project’s sister site in Pittsburgh planted the seed for what the work has become in Charlotte. Once the house was ready, she began seeking funding for the project and planning what the space could be and who it could help.
While in Charlotte, Wallace has held monthly free portrait sessions at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Beatties Ford Road Regional Library and programmed at BlkMrktClt, Central Piedmont Community College, Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, Hodges Taylor and New Gallery of Modern Art. Her residency concludes this month.
Moss extends invitations to international artists “to show the connectivity to black communities around the world,” she said. “Charlotte is experiencing a lot of the same challenges found in many of the historic and predominately black communities across the U.S.”
Artists arrive with extensive backgrounds in working with community before their residences, which last six months to a year. The paid residency program provides transportation, meals and supplies.
The residents also partner with Lorien Academy of the Arts, which uses drawing, painting and photography classes to help middle and high school students in West Charlotte became better artists and more thoughtful and engaged members of their communities.
A $5,000 ASC Cultural Vision Grant is helping The Roll Up increase relevance and innovation by activating its nontraditional cultural space at the neighborhood level.
“This is a real investment in an individual for a long duration,” Moss said. “Without support of individual contributions or grant funding from organizations like ASC, this would not be possible.”
The Roll Up CLT offers emerging black artists with residency opportunities that often don’t come until later in life and without making a specific ask of them.
“Rather,” Moss said, “it gives them the time to focus on their craft and in reciprocity build relationships with this community.”