Many would agree that the arts can bring us together, even help us to overcome language barriers. And, Charlotte, like many cities in our country is a melting pot of different people, backgrounds and languages.
Art Si! is a relatively new initiative that is picking up steam in 2011. It is all about connecting cultures and communities with the specific goals of linking Latino artists with available resources, creating opportunities, empowering Latino initiatives, and bridging the communication and financial barriers that these artists may face.
Art Si! was created when the North Carolina Arts Council connected key advocates from Latino artists and groups in the Charlotte area into one cohesive group. Representatives from the Arts & Science Council, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, McColl Center for Visual Arts, NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Education Institute, Latin American Coalition and the Latin American Women’s Association share a common voice in and commitment to this project. Although there has been some seed money invested, much of the Art Si! support is through volunteering and in-kind donations of core members.
Since August 2009, Art Si! has drawn interest from many artists. They are eager for opportunities to access business training, and to highlight and celebrate accomplishments as well as connect with the Charlotte community.
In 2010, Art Si! presented five different experiences which included building on the successful annual Con A de Arte festival, which showcased over 20 Latino artists and was attended by over 300 people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Artists do have a habit of working in a vacuum, and Art Si! is helping Latino artists become better professionals. The Arts & Science Council is working closely this year with the Art Si! committee members on the group’s evolution and future strategic plans, which include meaningful monthly opportunities and lots of marketing. Artists like Ana Lucia Divins, a singer-songwriter and community leader, are out networking and educating communities about Latino arts and culture. Many of the Art Si! activities are bilingual.
Though the target audience for these initiatives is Latino artists and supporters of Latino arts, the vision is that Art Si! will be woven into the entire community’s cultural life providing the platform for Latino artists to have a larger voice in Mecklenburg County. To learn more about 2011 activities, check out their website, facebook page or, better yet, sign up for their monthly newsletter.
Finally, mark your calendars for their summer signature event, Con A de Arte. All events are free and open to the public. Friday, June 3, Latino artists will participate in the South End Gallery Crawl and at the Gil Gallery as well. On Saturday, June 4, the uptown Public Library will be filled with talented Latino arts from all over the Charlotte area. And this is only the beginning…
Art Si! website is www.artsicharlotte.org
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