N.C. Humanities Council moving to Charlotte from Greensboro

Drawn by Charlotte’s growing cultural scene and healthy business sector, the North Carolina Humanities Council announced Wednesday it would abandon its home of four decades in Greensboro and move to uptown next year.

“It’s the state’s largest city, the largest metropolitan market, home to a vibrant business community, and the cultural sector has gained so much traction,” said Paula Watkins, NCHC executive director.

On Jan. 30, the NCHC plans to open new offices in the UNC Charlotte Center City building on East Ninth Street, Watkins said. Four administrative positions will be filled locally because existing staff members have opted to remain in the Triad and will be given severance packages, she said.

“Charlotte is the state’s most dynamic metropolitan market, increasingly cosmopolitan and home of vibrant business, education and cultural sectors,” Neva Specht, chair of the council’s board of trustees and senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University in Boone, said in a statement. “We are excited about being there and having access to its ample resources and opportunities.”

NCHC, which gets most of its support from the National Endowment for the Humanities created by Congress, distributes about $130,000 annually in grants aimed at promoting the humanities in North Carolina.

Among its major current projects is Museum on Main Street, a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution that brings exhibits to rural communities and will open an exhibition at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History on Feb. 28.

Watkins, who took over as executive director last year after working for South Carolina’s Humanities Council in Columbia, said the nonprofit’s board began exploring the idea of moving this year when its lease came up for renewal on its North Elm Street office in Greensboro. NCHC had been in Greensboro since its founding in 1972.

Charlotte is already home to three of the nation’s top 50 foundations – the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Foundation for the Carolinas and the Duke Endowment – as well as smaller organizations supporting communities and the arts, such as the Leon Levine Foundation.