Celebrating Charlotte Arts…virtually

Today, I should be in Charlotte enjoying the 5th annual BOOM festival, an artist-led presentation of contemporary visual and performing arts, which is supported by Knight Foundation. The 2020 festival was originally scheduled for this weekend, April 17 – 19 and like many events across the country, it’s been postponed until further notice as a result of COVID-19. So, instead of celebrating Charlotte’s arts scene in Plaza Midwood, I’m at home, which I expect is where you are, too. 

Being home won’t stop us from celebrating, because now, more than ever, our artists and our communities need to be recognized, celebrated and supported. BOOM will be sharing virtual programming from this year’s roster of artists starting at 4:00 pm (EST) tomorrow, Saturday, 4/18. Be sure to check out BOOM’s website for details, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Meanwhile, take a look at the 12 grant winners of the 2019 Celebrate Charlotte Arts initiative, an open call to support the creation and presentation of work by Charlotte-based artists and organizations. We had planned on showcasing their work at BOOM, but given the current restrictions, had to postpone. That said, given the high-caliber of the work, and the place these artists have within the Charlotte arts community, we thought you deserved a glimpse of them now. I hope you are as delighted with their work as we are!

Knight Foundation believes that great art connects people to place and to each other; that’s why we invest in arts and culture to build stronger, better informed and more engaged communities. We look forward to showcasing these 12 Charlotte artists in the future, but here’s a glimpse into what they have been working on, updates on their projects, and information on how you can follow and support their work. 


La Bestia by CarlosAlexis Cruz / the Nouveau Sud project

A contemporary circus take on the Central American immigrant journey to the U.S., told from the multicultural and intercultural perspective of the Nouveau Sud project.

An interactive public art installation of wirelessly-networked inflatables placed at multiple sites in Charlotte that will allow visitors in each site to perceive the presence of visitors in other remote sites, promoting a spirit of collective awareness. See more of Dimitris work here, and USL here

The Land of Nod by Eric Mullis

A dance theater work featuring Joy Davis, Brent Bagwell, Troy Conn, Jessica Lindsey, Chad Thompson, Charlie Trexler, Chris Walldorf, and Eric Chang that utilizes Shaker-inspired music and choreography to investigate the story of Cain and Abel.

Cine Casual Film Series by Giovanna Torres and Alexander Piñeres

Photo credit: Ernest Moren Photography

Film series presenting recent, internationally-acclaimed and award-winning Latin American films, specially curated for the Queen City. Follow Cine Casual on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. View a list of free Latin American films you can watch here.

Dia de Los Casi Muertos by Julio Gonzalez

Photo credit: Julio Gonzalez

An ongoing multimedia project that uses video and photography to explore the cultural differences between Mexican and American experiences with death and aging. Follow Julio on Instagram.

Samwel Sift: Post-Apocalypse Detective, an Audio Comedy by Kevin Patterson and Stationary Hobo Productions

Photo credit: Stationary Hobo Productions

A second season of a zombie noir audio drama podcast series set in Charlotte, which will integrate more of Charlotte’s local history and character. Listen to season 1 here

Kindred Roots by Kindred Collective

Image credit: Georgie Nakima and Gustavo Soto.

An exploration of multidisciplinary public art and creative storytelling, designed with Charlotte’s creative community and partners, culminating in a mural and event that highlights the Historic West End’s legacy and creativity. View highlights of Kindred workshops on Instagram.

Heaven by Moving Poets

Photo credit: Jeff Cravotta

A collaborative dance-theater and visual arts performance inspired by stories of migration, displacement and the tenacity of the human spirit. Watch a recap of the performance and find more information on the production including artist bios here.

The Shiny Language Project by Renee Cloud 

Photo credit: Jason Watson

A large-scale embroidery of internet comments in sequins, emphasizing the language we use and how it can affect others around us.

Light + Song by Sean Beck and Daniel Hamby 

Photo credit: Taylor Montalto

A cinematic video series of local musicians’ live performances, celebrating the city’s identity through music and creative collaborations. View the series on YouTube and follow Light + Song on Facebook and Instagram.

I. daughter-monster by True Lobster Charlotte

The Monster (Karina Caporino) introduces The Girl to a magical home filled with lost toys and memories, thereby setting off a tumbling tale of self discovery guided by small truths trapped in dreams, threats, and interwoven stories. Photo credit: Claire Nagkat

A site-flexible theater performance where monsters, mothers and magic conspire to reckon with multi-layered abuses of privilege and power. Follow True Lobster Charlotte on Instagram.

Foothills by William Stephen Davis 

As I neared the final stages of disassembling my childhood home, I filmed the process, casting shadows of objects left in rooms from projected images of my childhood. This will be an accompanying video piece with FOOTHILLS.” Photo credit: Erik Murphy

A public art display of interactive dioramas accompanied by music and shared throughout the city in 2020. Listen to the first demo released as a component of the FOOTHILLS project.

Jayne Butler is an arts program officer at Knight Foundation. You can follow her on Twitter at @jaybutlr.

Image (top): Performance of Heaven by Moving Poets, photo by Jeff Cravotta.