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Charlotte Area

Campaign Raises $7.2 Million For Arts In Charlotte

Blumenthal Performing Arts
Erin Keever

The Foundation for the Carolinas says it has $7.2 million in corporate commitments for funding local arts organizations.

The foundation said in a statement that Bank of America, National Gypsum/C.D. Spangler Foundation and Trane Technologies each contributed $1.8 million, while Barings and JELD-WEN each contributed $900,000. The goal is to raise $18 million from local companies to match $18 million from the city of Charlotte, with a total goal of $36 million over the next three years.

The city of Charlotte recently tapped the Foundation for the Carolinas to distribute arts funding this year as it creates an advisory board to determine how the money is spent. The city and Foundation for the Carolinas will appoint a grant-making board led by residents to distribute the funds.

Charlotte City Council member Julie Eiselt, who chairs the Mayor’s Ad Hoc Arts and Culture Committee, said in a statement that this kind of partnership “can unlock the transformative power of the arts and cultural community to serve all our citizens.”

Meanwhile, a group of artists, creatives and community members going by ART Future is urging City Council to postpone moving forward with its plan so artists can have more input on how the funding is distributed. The group said in a statement that it also wants more funding to be earmarked for independent artists and to make sure the funding is being distributed equitably.

“I am excited about the commitment from the city (as well as the private/corporate sector) to increase funding for the cultural sector,” said Krista Terrell, president of the Arts & Science Council, which has long been a major funder for arts and cultural initiatives in Charlotte. “However, I am deeply disappointed that the city developed its cultural sector recommendations without seeking public input from many stakeholders, one of those being individual artists.”

The city announced in February that it would transition away from directly sending money to the ASC. Last year, the city gave the nonprofit $3.2 million, which is 25% of the organization’s budget.

The city said it would boost its arts and cultural spending to $4 million annually and add $2 million this year in federal COVID-19 relief funds. The private sector has agreed to match that $6 million public contribution.

City Council was set to be presented with the latest budget Monday evening, which will include arts funding.

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Updated: May 3, 2021 at 6:17 PM EDT
This story was updated to clarify how much each company contributed to the fund.