Charlotte's New Arts and Culture Board Debate Funding Individual Artists During Ongoing Covid-Relief Efforts

"Last year, Charlotte city government, business executives, and The Foundation For The Carolinas developed a plan aimed at boosting arts funding," reported Erik Spanberg in the Charlotte Business Journal. "It included the addition of an arts and culture officer — Priya Sircar, hired last summer — and the creation of an 18-member advisory board made up of arts, civic, and philanthropic leaders." $4.4 million remain uncommitted from this inaugural grantmaking period, and as organizations and communities face increased challenges due to the Covid-19 Omicron variant, the advisory board are opening new possibilties for how it could be allocated.

Sircar said the board is exploring working with the Arts & Science Council (ASC), Charlotte-Mecklenburg region's lead resource hub and cultural advocate, "to administer a portion of the remaining $4.4 million in grants later this year, principally for individual artists and grass roots groups." Sircar added that ASC has some funding opportunities coming up and "the advisory board is looking at whether some of these funds could plug into these programs.” The current public-private collaboration will end after three years, and the intent is for companies and private donors to contribute to preferred arts organizations and events on an individual basis going forward. The potential relationship to fund individual artists in partnership with ASC offers a unique opportunity to inform the long-term potential for boosting arts funding in the region.

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