Charlotte’s Mint Museum of Art, Discovery Place, the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Ballet are among the top beneficiaries of financial support this year to be distributed by the region’s two biggest philanthropic organizations for the arts, the Arts & Science Council and the Thrive Fund.
ASC grants announced Tuesday included $1 million to the Mint Museum of Art, $840,000 to Discovery Place and $630,750 to Charlotte Ballet.
In all, the ASC announced planned grants of $13.6 million.
“These investments align with the tenants of the Cultural Vision Plan, the Cultural Life Task Force recommendations and ASC’s Strategic Plan,” said Robert Bush, ASC president, in a statement. “All of these plans imagine the impacts of arts and culture on our region’s quality of life, prosperity and lifelong learning.”
ASC has begun to alter its mission in line with a Cultural Life Task Force that studied how the region underwrites its arts sector. It is in the midst of a five-year program to reduce and cap investment to major players in the arts scene and provide support to emerging cultural groups that appear to reflect changes and growth in the region’s population.
Operating support went to 11 cultural groups in this cycle that did not receive money last year, ASC said: A Sign of the Times of the Carolinas, Carolinas Latin Dance Company, Charlotte Art League, Charlotte Folk Society, Gay Men’s Chorus, Historic Rosedale, Jazz Arts Initiative, Mint Hill Arts, On Q Performing Arts, One Voice Chorus and The Light Factory.
ASC said it continues to find ways to eliminate barriers to participation in cultural experiences though its new Culture Blocks program, which targets demographic groups and communities that have historically low levels of participation with ASC-supported programs.
ASC awards Tuesday follow the announcement of the Thrive Fund’s disbursements, which include $2 million to Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.
Among the nine other beneficiaries in Thrive Fund’s $3.5 million in grants for this year will be Opera Carolina, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and Discovery Place.
It is the second year for widespread underwriting by the Thrive Fund, the second-most prominent group after the ASC, which was established in 1958.
Launched in 2013 by former Bank of America chairman Hugh McColl to support the symphony for a decade, the Thrive fund grew quickly – raising about $40 million – and its mission was broadened to support Charlotte museums and performing groups.
“As a long-term supporter of the arts, I’ve always believed that a healthy culture sector is essential to having a great city,” McColl said in a statement. “I am pleased with the significant support we’ve received from our community and enthusiastic about Thrive’s impact on the long-term sustainability of our cultural organizations.”
Thrive funds are administered by the Foundation for the Carolinas with input from the ASC.
Many of its grants are aimed at helping organizations with their own fund-raising. A Thrive grant to the Levine Center for the Arts, for example, is targeted to help the Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture market their common campus in the 500 block of South Tryon Street.
“We wanted to invest in the infrastructure of these organizations,” Charles Bowman, North Carolina and Charlotte president for Bank of America, said in a statement, “with a particular focus on the development side, to ensure long-term sustainability.”
Major arts grants
From the Arts & Sciences Council:
Mint Museum of Art: $1 million.
Discovery Place: $840,000.
Charlotte Symphony Orchestra: $773,000.
Charlotte Ballet: $630,000.
Levine Museum of the New South: $444,000.
Children’s Theater of Charlotte: $434,000.
Opera Carolina: $430,000.
From the Thrive Fund:
Charlotte Symphony Orchestra: $2 million.
Opera Carolina: $450,000.**
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art: $200,000.*
Discovery Place: $200,000.*
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture: $175,000.*
Mint Museum of Art: $145,000.*
Levine Museum of the New South: $120,000.*
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte: $100,000.
*Two-year grant; **Three-year grant.