Local Arts

Charlotte arts groups just won Knight Foundation grants to capture the city’s spirit

CarlosAlexis Cruz was one of the 12 artists and arts groups to receive a portion of the Knight Foundation’s new Celebrate Charlotte Arts grant. He’ll use the money for “La Bestia,” a Nouvea Sud production that’s a contemporary circus take on the Central American immigrant journey to the U.S.
CarlosAlexis Cruz was one of the 12 artists and arts groups to receive a portion of the Knight Foundation’s new Celebrate Charlotte Arts grant. He’ll use the money for “La Bestia,” a Nouvea Sud production that’s a contemporary circus take on the Central American immigrant journey to the U.S. Courtesy of Children's Theatre of Charlotte

A zombie noir podcast series, a Latin American film series and a dance-theater production involving Shaker-inspired music are among 12 projects by artists and arts groups receiving the city’s first Celebrate Charlotte Arts grants.

Nearly 200 artists and arts organizations applied for a share of the $200,000 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grant designed to fund art that captures the spirit of Charlotte. The foundation announced the winners Thursday.

“Charlotte is full of artists and arts organizations creating and presenting high-quality work,” said Priya Sircar, director of arts for the foundation, a national nonprofit with local roots. “Our hope is to help highlight these 12 projects and bring the diversity, talent and potential of Charlotte’s arts scene to new heights.”

The winners of the Celebrate Charlotte Arts grant will share their projects at the city’s BOOM Festival next April.

Since December 2016, the foundation has committed more than $1 million to Charlotte arts projects.

“Charlotte’s artists and arts organizations play a critical role in telling our city’s stories, connecting us through shared experiences, and adding to our local vibrancy,” said Charles Thomas, Charlotte director for the Knight Foundation. “From a public art mural in the Historic West End, to a circus exploring the Central American immigrant journey... these projects capture the complexity and beauty of Charlotte’s identity.”

Knight Grant1.jpg
JCharlotte artist Julio Gonzalez was among 12 Charlotte artists and arts groups to receive Celebrate Charlotte Arts grants Thursday from the Knight Foundation. Gonzalez will be using his to continue his ongoing multimedia project called Dia de Los Casi Muertos. Gonzalez uses video and photography to explore cultural differences between Mexican and American experiences with death and dying. Juan Ossa Courtesy of the Knight Foundation

To be eligible for funding, each project had to take place in the city and be created or presented by Charlotte-based artists or organizations. Projects were required to be at least partially completed by spring 2020 so they could be shared at the BOOM Festival.

And the winners are...

These are the grant recipients:

CarlosAlexis Cruz/Nouveau Sud ($25,000) for “La Bestia,” a contemporary circus take on the Central American immigrant journey to the U.S..

Eric Mullis, Joy Davis, Brent Bagwell, Troy Conn, Jessica Lindsey, Jeremy Fisher, Charlie Trexler, Chris Walldorf ($3,500) for “The Land of Nod,” a dance theater work that uses Shaker-inspired music and choreography to explore the story of Cain and Abel.

Giovanna Torres and Alexander Piñeres ($14,000) for “Cine Casual Film Series,” a film series presenting recent, internationally-acclaimed Latin American films in and for the Queen City.

Julio Gonzalez ($17,650) for “Dia de Los Casi Muertos,” a multimedia project that uses video and photography to explore the cultural differences between Mexican and American experiences with death and aging.

Kevin Patterson and Stationary Hobo Productions ($5,000) for “Detective Samwel Sift’s Loved One Discovery or Recovery Services,” a second season of a zombie noir audio drama podcast series set in Charlotte.

Kindred Collective ($25,000) for “Kindred Roots,” an exlporation of multidisciplinary public art and storytelling that highlights Charlotte’s historic West End.

Moving Poets ($25,000) for “Heaven,” a collaborative dance-theatre and visual arts performance inspired by stories of migration, displacement and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Renee Cloud ($25,000) for “Shiny Language Project,” a large-scale embroidery of internet comments in sequins, emphasizing the language we use and how it can affect others around us.

Sean Beck and Daniel Hamby ($8,000) for “Light + Song,” a cinematic video series of local musicians’ live performances.

True Lobster Charlotte ($15,850) for “I. daughter-monster,” a theater performance where monsters, mothers and magic reckon with abuses of privilege and power.

Urban Synergetics Lab at UNC Charlotte ($23,080) for “Charlotte Breaths,” an interactive public art installation of wirelessly-networked inflatables placed at sites around Charlotte that allow visitors a site to perceive the presence of visitors at other sites, promoting a spirit of public participation.

William Stephen Davis ($12,920) for “Foothills,” interactive dioramas accompanied by music and placed throughout the city in 2020.

For more details go to knightfoundation.org.

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