Arts and Culture Team

Arts and Culture Advisory Board

The Arts and Culture Advisory Board will work with Priya Sircar, the city’s arts and culture officer, to develop a comprehensive arts and culture plan; allocate approximately $4.4 million in remaining funds from the 2022 fiscal year to support arts, culture, and artists; and $12 million each in the 2023 and 2024 fiscal years. The board is made up of nine members appointed by the private sector and nine members appointed by the City of Charlotte.

Cyndee G. Patterson

Advisory Board Chair; President, Lee Institute/The Duke Mansion

Cyndee G. Patterson is president of the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the historic Duke Mansion and the Lee Institute. The Duke Mansion operates as a historic inn with all of its proceeds designated to the building’s preservation and protection. At the Lee Institute, Patterson’s work has included facilitation, process design, civic engagement projects, leadership training and strategic planning for nonprofits. Patterson also acts as lead faculty and facilitator for the Charlotte Chapter of the American Leadership Forum. (Appointed by Foundation For The Carolinas; named board chair by Mayor Vi Lyles)


Carla Aaron-Lopez

Independent Artist and Arts Educator

Carla Aaron-Lopez is an independent artist and arts educator from Charlotte. Aaron-Lopez has taught art at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools since 2014 and previously served as an adjunct professor at Fort Valley State University. She has experience in various creative fields, from photojournalism to podcasting to arts exhibitions, and continues to exhibit her personal works while teaching. (Appointed by Charlotte City Council)


Charles Bowman

Banks of America President of North Carolina; Vice Chair for Wealth Management in North Carolina

Charles Bowman is the President of North Carolina. Also, he serves as the Vice Chair of Wealth Management in North Carolina. A native North Carolinian, Charles grew up in Thomasville, N.C., and was graduated from UNC – Chapel Hill where he was a Morehead Scholar. He holds a J.D. degree from UNC School of Law and a M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University. After practicing law in Charlotte, Charles joined Bank of America in 1996. He and wife, Mary, reside in Charlotte and have two adult sons, John and Peter. (Appointed by Foundation For The Carolinas)


Aisha Dew

Artist, Arts Administrator and Political Strategist

Aisha Dew is an artist, arts administrator and political strategist. Dew is president of the Dew Group and has served as chair of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party and director of performing arts for Hall Neighborhood House in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She is currently the national political director for Higher Heights for America. (Appointed by Charlotte City Council)


Sandra Fernandes

Global Returnship Program Director, Glide - Relaunch, Wells Fargo

Sandra Fernandes is the global program director for Wells Fargo’s Glide – Relaunch internship program. In this role, Fernandes oversees and determines recruiting, engagement and retention strategy. Fernandes also sits on the Charlotte advisory council for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Wealth and Investment Management Diversity Council. (Appointed by Foundation For The Carolinas)


Irisol González

Fine Artist and Muralist

Irisol González is a fine artist and muralist living and working in Charlotte. She immigrated from Costa Rica with her family at age 10. In her work, she explores the sentiments and physical experience of being a brown, female immigrant functioning in today's American political atmosphere. González has exhibited her work at the Mint Museum, Goodyear Arts and CAM Raleigh. (Appointed by Mayor Vi Lyles)


Lex Kimbrough

Filmmaker, Brave Boy Media

Lex Kimbrough is a filmmaker with Brave Boy Media. Kimbrough has earned accolades for his work, including New York Emmy Award-nominated short documentaries “Holocaust Painter” and “Highway Mike.” As a producer, Kimbrough’s first feature film was an official selection at the American Black Film Festival and garnered awards throughout the festival circuit. (Appointed by Mayor Vi Lyles)


Su Ping Lu

General Counsel - Securities, Governance and Corporate Finance, Honeywell

Su Ping Lu serves as Honeywell’s vice president and general counsel for corporate and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance). She understands how complex organizations develop processes, policies and governance models that enable effective oversight, decision-making, resource allocation and change management. As part of the Arts and Culture Advisory Board, she applies these skills to ensure Charlotte’s arts community survives and thrives, inclusively and sustainably. (Appointed by Foundation For The Carolinas)


Tim Miner

Co-founder, Charlotte is Creative

Tim Miner is the co-founder of Charlotte Is Creative, and manages the nonprofits’ Queen City Quiz Show, the HUG (Helpful Unfettered Gift) microgrant program, and the Biscuit. Miner has served on the executive committee and board of directors of the Isabella Santos Foundation, and on the nonprofit advisory committee for SHARE Charlotte. He also co-leads the Charlotte chapter of CreativeMornings. (Appointed by Charlotte City Council)


Corey Mitchell

Arts Educator and Founder/Artistic Director, Theatre Gap Initiative

Tony Award winner Corey Mitchell is active as a director, actor, keynote speaker, educational consultant, and workshop presenter in Charlotte and throughout the country. Mitchell has 25 years of experience in the classroom, including 20 years as theatre arts educator at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte. Mitchell also sits on boards for the North Carolina Theatre Conference and The Arts Empowerment Project. (Appointed by Mayor Vi Lyles)


Grace Nystrum

SVP - Strategic Marketing Executive, Global Banking and Markets, Bank of America

Grace Nystrum is senior vice president and strategic marketing executive for global banking and markets at Bank of America. Nystrum leads Hispanic and Latino segment strategy and serves as a community relations manager in the local Charlotte market. Nystrum previously served as the executive director of the Camino Community Center, in 2018 and 2019, as part of Bank of America’s Executive on Loan program. (Appointed by Foundation For The Carolinas)


Shefalee Patel

Independent Artist and Community Volunteer

Shefalee Patel is an Indian American visual artist and dancer. Her passion is sharing her deep-rooted culture with the community through the arts and dance. Born and raised in Chicago, she has lived in Charlotte since 2001 with her family. She has been active with the India Association of Charlotte, the YMCA, International Woman’s Day, SouthEnd Arts, the Guild of Charlotte Artists, Namaste Artists CLT and the Charlotte Art League. (Appointed by Charlotte City Council)


Kevin L. Patterson

Arts and Community Board Member

Kevin L. Patterson is a retired director at IBM. He is the immediate past-chairman and board member of Jazz Arts Charlotte. He is a trustee of Friendship Memorial Baptist Church and serves on the national board of directors for 100 Black Men of America. He has chaired numerous arts organizations, including the Arts & Science Council. Patterson has also led other organizations, including the United Way of North Carolina, 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte, and Focus On Leadership. (Appointed by Charlotte City Council)


Lisa N. Schoder

Vice President of Integrated Media and Partnerships, Lowe’s

Lisa N. Schoder is vice president of integrated media and partnerships for Lowe’s. Schoder is responsible for translating business and marketing objectives and strategies into world-class communications planning, from mass broadcast to digital demand. Schoder is an active member of the ANA Media Growth Council and joined the board of directors of the Media Ratings Council in 2021. (Appointed by Foundation For The Carolinas)


Charles Thomas

Charlotte Program Director, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Charles Thomas is the Charlotte program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Raised in Charlotte, Thomas is also the former executive director of Queen City Forward and the Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film. Thomas is a professional photographer and co-published the book “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” He serves on the board of trustees of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and is a member of the New Generation of African American Philanthropy giving circle. (Appointed by Foundation For The Carolinas)


Nick Tosco

Attorney, Poyner Spruill

Nick Tosco is an attorney at Poyner Spruill in Charlotte practicing in the areas of local government law, land use, zoning, and complex civil litigation. Tosco grew up in the music and arts scene in Charlotte and has experience as a professional musician and a member of the band justincase. He is currently on the Men for Change steering committee, the North Carolina State Bar Association’s zoning, planning and land use council, and is vice chair of the Mecklenburg County Bar Law and Society Committee. (Appointed by Charlotte City Council)


April Whitlock

Head of Corporate Citizenship, LendingTree

April Whitlock is the head of corporate citizenship for LendingTree, where she created the LendaHand Alliance Cohort program that funds founder-led and community-embedded nonprofits. She is an avid theatre buff who grew up on the stage as a dancer and a musical theater performer. Whitlock is on the board for the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. In addition, she is a member and past president of ENCORE!, the theater’s volunteer organization.  (Appointed by Foundation For The Carolinas)


Dr. Ricky A. Woods

Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church-West

Dr. Ricky A. Woods has been senior minister of First Baptist Church-West since 1995. During that time, Dr. Woods has worked tirelessly to not only serve as minister to the church's members, but help the church serve as a community beacon of social justice. His previous work experiences include Senior Minister of Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, NC; Senior Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics; and Instructor for the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education. A graduate of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro with a Bachelor of Science in Economics, Dr. Woods graduated Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University School of Theology in Richmond, VA, and then earned the Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton.(Appointed by the Arts & Science Council)


Priya Sircar

City of Charlotte Arts and Culture Officer

Priya Sircar is the City of Charlotte’s first arts and culture officer. Sircar came to the city from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she oversaw Knight's arts investments across the United States. A dancer and choreographer, actor and former musician, Sircar has performed around the country, directed movement for theatre, and produced and appeared in films that have screened in festivals including South by Southwest.