City of Charlotte Hires First Arts and Culture Officer
Cory Burkarth
Arts & Culture Officer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 27, 2021) – The City of Charlotte announced Friday that Priya Sircar will serve as the city’s first arts and culture officer. Sircar is the former director of arts for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami. In that role she oversaw Knight’s arts investments in and across the eight cities in which Knight has offices, including Charlotte.

Priya Sircar“We are excited to welcome Priya and her family to Charlotte and I’m thrilled to get to work with one of the top arts professionals in the country,” Charlotte City Manager Marcus D. Jones said. “Priya brings an exceptional level of knowledge and passion to this position and that is going to benefit the entire arts community here in Charlotte. A thriving arts community is a priority for the City of Charlotte and I’m looking forward to working with Priya and other local stakeholders to ensure that the next chapter for artists and arts organizations here in Charlotte is the most successful one yet.”

In her new role as the City of Charlotte’s first arts and culture officer, Sircar will convene individual artists and creatives, arts organizations, community members, corporate and nonprofit partners, and elected officials to create a cultural plan for Charlotte.

“Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know Charlotte as not only one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the United States, but also as one of the most creative,” said Sircar. “I am thrilled to work with this dynamic community on creating a new, comprehensive cultural plan that will serve current and future Charlotteans.”

The cultural plan will take a comprehensive look at Charlotte’s arts, culture and creative economy and ecosystem, and create a roadmap for future cultural programming, infrastructure and investment. A key goal of the plan is developing sustainable funding for arts and culture in Charlotte while maximizing the economic impact of this crucial sector.

Sircar has 20 years of experience serving communities through philanthropy, nonprofit management and consulting and is a tireless champion for the arts, inclusion and equity. A practicing artist, she has been active in dance, music, theatre and film and has worked with museums, parks and gardens, libraries and other cultural organizations around the United States. Sircar also has deep experience in community engagement, having facilitated planning in cities including Dallas, Houston and Louisville, Kentucky.

Sircar has a master’s degree in arts administration from Teachers College of Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas.

“Here we have an opportunity to set the course for the whole cultural future of our city, and this time do it in a fair, equitable and sustainable way,” said Manoj Kesavan, Founder and Executive Director of BOOM Charlotte. “Having worked with Priya when she was the national Director of Arts at the Knight Foundation, I am so excited that she has been selected to be the first ever Arts & Culture Officer for the City of Charlotte. With her great experience, along with her special insight and understanding of the cultural ecosystem here, I can't think of a better person to lead us at this critical juncture.”

In addition to overseeing the creation of the cultural plan, Sircar will serve as the liaison to the Arts and Culture Advisory Board and provide recommendations to inform decision making. The Arts and Culture Advisory Board is charged with determining the use and allocation of future arts funding.

“The advisory board will be crucial to shaping an equitable and sustainable future for arts and culture in Charlotte,” Sircar said. “I very much look forward to collaborating with the board.”

The city is currently taking applications for the 18-member board through Friday, Aug. 27.

Sircar will report to the city manager and begins work on Sept. 12.