Celebrate charlotte arts winners receive $200,000 for arts projects that showcase the spirit of the city

Winners of Knight Foundation’s inaugural initiative to show their works at BOOM Festival in spring 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Sept. 19, 2019—The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the winners of its inaugural Celebrate Charlotte Arts initiative, which supports projects by and for residents of Charlotte that showcase artistic excellence and capture the spirit of the city. The twelve winning arts projects will receive a share of $200,000 to bring their ideas to life. 

“The essence of Charlotte was reflected in the caliber and creativity of applications for this new initiative,” said Priya Sircar, Knight Foundation director for arts. “It’s undeniable that Charlotte is full or artists and arts organizations creating and presenting high-quality work. Our hope is to help highlight these twelve projects and bring the diversity, talent and potential of Charlotte’s arts scene to new heights.” 

Nearly 200 artists and organizations applied to Celebrate Charlotte Arts, which sought ideas earlier this year from across diverse communities and in every artistic genre. The twelve winners will share their resulting projects in a Knight-sponsored showcase at Charlotte’s BOOM Festival in April 2020. 

“From a public art mural in the Historic West End, to a circus exploring the Central American immigrant journey, and so much more, these projects capture the complexity and beauty of Charlotte’s identity,” said Charles Thomas, Charlotte director for Knight Foundation. “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. We can’t wait to see these winning projects come to fruition.”

To be eligible for funding, Celebrate Charlotte Arts projects had to take place in the city and be created or presented by Charlotte-based artists or organizations. Additionally, the projects were required to be at least partially completed by spring 2020 to be shared at the BOOM Festival. Artists and organizations with active Knight Foundation grants were not eligible for additional support through this program. 

Knight Foundation funds great art because it builds community, connecting people to each other and to the places where they live. Since December 2016, Knight Foundation has committed more than $1 million to Charlotte arts projects big and small; you can view our funding announcements here and here. Celebrate Charlotte Arts expands on this work.

The twelve winning projects are:

CarlosAlexis Cruz / the Nouveau Sud project ($25,000)
La Bestia
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

Dimitris Papanikolaou/ Urban Synergetics Lab at UNCC ($23,080)
Charlotte Breaths
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

Eric Mullis ($3,500)
The Land of Nod
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

Giovanna Torres and Alexander Piñeres ($14,000)
Cine Casual Film Series
A film series presenting recent, internationally-acclaimed and award-winning Latin American films, specially curated for the Queen City

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

Photo: Dia de Los Casi Muertos project. Credit: Juan Ossa

Kevin Patterson and Stationary Hobo Productions ($5,000)
Detective Samwel Sift’s Loved One Discovery or Recovery Services
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

Kindred Collective ($25,000)
Kindred Roots
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

Moving Poets ($25,000)
A collaborative dance-theater and visual arts performance inspired by stories of migration, displacement and the tenacity of the human spirit

Renee Cloud ($25,000)

The 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)
Light + Song
A cinematic video series of local musicians’ live performances, celebrating the city’s identity through music and creative collaborations

“Back Home”  a mixed media collage of paper, glue and wood scrap. Credit: William Stephen Davis

True Lobster Charlotte ($15,850)
I. daughter-monster
A site-flexible theater performance where monsters, mothers and magic conspire to reckon with multi-layered abuses of privilege and power

William Stephen Davis ($12,920)

A public art display of interactive dioramas accompanied by music and shared throughout the city in 2020

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

Image (top): “Creative place-keeping on the East Side at East Town Market.” Credit: Levon Knox, courtesy of Kindred Collective