An Update on Public Funding for Arts and Culture

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Why This Matters: Public funding helps ASC continue to build and strengthen community in Charlotte-Mecklenburg by providing access to arts and cultural experiences for all residents.
A Carolinas Latin Dance performance at Charlotte Museum of History. The performance was supported by ASC's Culture Blocks program, which is funded by Mecklenburg County.
A Carolinas Latin Dance performance at Charlotte Museum of History. The performance was supported by ASC’s Culture Blocks program, which is funded by Mecklenburg County.
By Rebecca Scroggins
Director of Government Relations & Grants

ASC is grateful for the partnership with the public sector that will help engage all residents in participating in a vibrant cultural life and supports our work to ensure Culture For All. Public funding helps ASC continue to build and strengthen community by providing access to arts and cultural experiences for all residents.

As ASC begins fiscal year 2019 (which runs July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019), we wanted to provide an update on how city, county and state dollars will benefit Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s arts and cultural community.

City of Charlotte

  • Following an increase in funding to ASC for FY18, Charlotte City Council approved maintaining $3,190,823 in unrestricted funding to ASC for FY19 to help support our vibrant arts and cultural community. This public funding is re-invested in the community through ASC’s grant programs and services such as capacity building workshops and trainings for cultural organizations and individual artists.
  • City Council also approved a second year of funding to ASC’s Studio 345 program through the city’s Out of School Time grant program. The additional $200,000 will support apprenticeships and tutoring for the free, creative, out-of-school time youth development program.
    ASC's Studio 345 program receives public funding from the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
    ASC’s Studio 345 program receives public funding from the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Mecklenburg County

  • Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved a $125,000 increase in the FY19 budget for the Culture Blocks program. The county’s $800,000 investment will allow ASC, in collaboration with Park and Recreation and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, to remain committed to the current seven geographies and increase cultural programming investment in those areas. Additionally, two new geographic areas of focus will be added to the Culture Blocks initiative.
  • Mecklenburg County will also provide $350,000 in funding to support Studio 345. The county has supported the youth development program since it began in 2012.
  • County Commissioners approved funding of $750,000 to support operations of Spirit Square in FY19, helping make available arts, science, and history programming for our residents and visitors.

State of North Carolina

  • ASC and representatives from Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s arts and cultural community traveled to Raleigh May 23-24, 2018 for State Arts Day. Advocates from Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Blumenthal Performing Arts, Mint Museum, Community School of the Arts and UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture met with North Carolina Senate and House members representing Mecklenburg County to share the impact of the arts in our community.
  • A budget bill was approved by both the NC Senate and NC House of Representatives that includes a $300,000 increase in non-recurring public funding for the NC Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program Grants. ASC distributes Grassroots Arts funding through our Cultural Vision Grants and Operating Support Grants for emerging organizations.
  • Last month, the NC House of Representatives created the Caucus on Arts and Arts Education. Rep. Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg) is co-chair of the bi-partisan caucus, along with Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes). The caucus provides an opportunity for legislators to learn about the arts and their impact on the various communities across the state. In addition to Rep. Carney, members of the Caucus from Mecklenburg County include Rep. John Autry, Rep. Chaz Beasley, Rep. Mary Belk, Rep. Bill Brawley and Rep. Andy Dulin.
    Leigh Dyer of Mint Museum, Ryan Deal of Children's Theatre of Charlotte, Meg Whalen of UNC Charlotte, Rep. Becky Carney and Katie Miller of ASC at State Arts Day in Raleigh.
    (From left) Leigh Dyer of Mint Museum, Ryan Deal of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Meg Whalen of UNC Charlotte, Rep. Becky Carney and Katie Miller of ASC at State Arts Day in Raleigh.

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