CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 7, 2022) — JazzArts Charlotte has joined the first cohort of the
Southern Cultural Treasures program by the Atlanta-based nonprofit
South Arts and the
Ford Foundation, alongside 16 other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) arts organizations across the southeastern United States.
Through the program, JazzArts Charlotte, a nonprofit dedicated to the presentation, education, and support of jazz in Charlotte, will have access to three years of funding, training and networking that will help the organization grow.
"It's an honor to be a part of the Southern Cultural Treasures initiative," said Lonnie Davis, CEO and co-founder of JazzArts Charlotte. "The support and community provided by this program will help us accomplish our mission to connect the cultural community and develop an audience for jazz through quality education, performance and musician support."
JazzArts Charlotte's inclusion in the cohort was supported by a grant from the
Infusion Fund, which is a partnership of the
City of Charlotte,
Foundation For The Carolinas and private donors to support Charlotte-area arts and culture for three years.
Arts and Culture Advisory Board in March approved a
$200,000 Infusion Fund investment in Southern Cultural Treasures while South Arts was conducting its application and selection process. The funding enabled one local organization's participation in the cohort. As one of 17 Southern Cultural Treasures, JazzArts Charlotte will receive $300,000 in general operating grants through March 2025. The nonprofit will receive additional benefits from the program, including:
A project grant of up to $7,500.
Capacity-building support and training valued at approximately $100,000.
The opportunity to network and collaborate, and to extend JazzArts Charlotte's reach and profile nationally.
Connections with other regional and national funders.
"Congratulations to JazzArts Charlotte on this major accomplishment," said Priya Sircar, the city's arts and culture officer. "The City of Charlotte and our partners in the Infusion Fund are focused on equipping local arts groups with reliable resources and opportunities to position themselves for a stable future. JazzArts Charlotte's participation in Southern Cultural Treasures is a perfect example of that work in action and signifies the quality and promise of Charlotte arts and culture on a regional and national level."
Southern Cultural Treasures is designed to be a measure of sustainable support. By providing BIPOC-led and -serving organizations with tools to establish their own agency and institutional narratives, the initiative encourages growth throughout the South — not only in the context of the arts, but also in the impact of surrounding communities. The 17 Southern Cultural Treasures are:
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama
Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, Miami, Florida
Teatro Avante, Miami, Florida
Art2Action, Tampa, Florida
Deep Center, Savannah, Georgia
Otis Redding Foundation, Macon, Georgia
True Colors Theatre Company, Atlanta, Georgia
Ballethnic Dance Company, East Point, Georgia
Asia Institute, Louisville, Kentucky
Junebug Productions, New Orleans, Louisiana
Efforts of Grace, New Orleans, Louisiana
Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, Utica, Mississippi
B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, Indianola, Mississippi
JazzArts Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina
Colour of Music, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Catawba Indian Nation, Rock Hill, South Carolina
Collage Dance Collective, Memphis, Tennessee
"South Arts is honored to recognize and support these 17 organizations as Southern Cultural Treasures," said Susie Surkamer, South Arts' president and CEO. "These groups push the boundaries of creative expression, anchor their local communities, and advance the arts in our nine-state region. Our hope is that this initiative, with the help of these organizations, will foster a more equitable art community throughout the Southeastern region."
South Arts first announced the Southern Cultural Treasures program in the fall of 2021. It complements the Ford Foundation's
America's Cultural Treasures initiative, which aims to acknowledge and honor the diversity of artistic expression and excellence in America and provide critical funding to organizations that have made a significant impact on America's cultural landscape.
"We are thrilled to partner with South Arts and honor these 17 cultural institutions and their contributions to the regional landscape," said Lane Harwell, program officer for creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation. "We hope this investment will inspire more funders and patrons to support the diversity of arts organizations and expressions in the American South."
Organizations throughout the nine-state region were given the opportunity to submit a letter of intent. After review, those most closely aligned with the program goals were invited to complete a full application that went through a pair of national reviews before undergoing an interview process with South Arts' leadership. These 17 nonprofits were chosen for their vital impact on their communities and for helping to define and preserve the uniqueness of the arts ecosystem in the region.
"These organizations make up a dynamic representation not only of their region and their communities, but also the burgeoning desire to grow and serve the cultural landscape of the South," said Joy Young, South Arts' vice president of programs. "Our duty at South Arts is to continue advocating for this kind of instrumental support, and we are confident that this cohort of Southern Cultural Treasures will help inspire these pursuits on a national scale."
South Arts' Southern Cultural Treasures is supported by the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the
Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the
Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Infusion Fund and the