Artists need money.
QCity Metro spoke with several local creatives, and they agreed that they want to see Charlotte stakeholders provide more financial support and affordable spaces.
Why it matters: A 2022 survey, published by Charlotte is Creative, reported that 45% of respondents’ only source of employment was their artistic discipline. 63% noted they would like more public and private funding opportunities to improve their ability of becoming a full-time artist.
“Resources looks like more studios, places that can press up flyers, business cards, merchandise and more places that support local talent,” Charlotte-based rapper Dante “Dante M’$” Elam told QCity Metro.
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“So whether that be venues or places that host open mics and [those places] having their door open to local talent because there’s a lot of local talent.”
Another creative, Joanne Rogers, who owns Nine Eighteen Nine Studio Gallery at the Visual and Performing Arts Center (VAPA), agreed with the artists, but also noted that many of them are unaware of resources that are already available.
“Funding. Knowing about the funding, knowing where to find the funding, [and] applying for the funding is a huge learning curve,” Rogers told QCity Metro in a separate interview.
Rogers went on to share that the people who usually get funding are the people who know where to look for it.
QCity Metro compiled a list of grants, tips and resources that are available for creatives in the Queen City and throughout North Carolina.
Check it out below.
Advice on how to be a competitive applicant
- Ensure your project will enhance the community
- Ensure your funding request can achieve the desired outcome
- Ensure your budget matches the need of your project
- Demonstrate reliability by documenting projects that you have completed in the past
- Collaborate with successful community leaders and/or established artists
Going Public: A Public Art Incubator (Deadline: March 3, 2023)
Made possible through the Arts and Science Council (ASC), artists whose applications are accepted, will go through three, six-hour workshops that detail what public art is and what opportunities are available. Selected artists will receive a $500 stipend.
- Must reside in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, or Rowan County
- A completed application
- Work samples that illustrate professional studio practice
- A resume that demonstrates professional artistic achievement(s)
Placemaking Grant (Deadline: March 3, 2023)
This grant supports projects that will revitalize and enhance Charlotte’s community. Places of focus include leftover or underutilized areas, streetscape spaces and the creation of community gathering spaces, allowing individuals to establish a new identity for their neighborhoods.
- Neighborhood and homeowners associations or community organizations
- Businesses or merchant organizations
- Individuals with written support from the community or private property owners as appropriate
- People who live within the City of Charlotte limits
Creative Mecklenburg Grant (Deadline: March 6, 2023)
This grant provides funding to established and emerging artists who reside in Mecklenburg County to enhance their creative abilities. Creatives representing visual arts, craft, performing arts, traditional and interdisciplinary art forms are encouraged to apply and can receive up to $3,000.
- Individual artists and art organizations
- Artists who have lived in Mecklenburg County for at least one year before January 31, 2023
- Cannot be a student or have already received an award from the Arts and Science Council
Creative Writing Fellowships (Deadline: March 8, 2023)
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awards $25,000 grants in prose and poetry to published creative writers for research, travel and career advancement. Chosen applicants tend to demonstrate “artistic excellence” and quality writing skills.
- Cannot have been awarded two or more fellowships
- Cannot have been awarded any fellowship or Translation Fellowship on or after Jan. 1, 2015
- Cannot be a news reporter or a scholarly writer
- Cannot be working towards an academic degree
Project Paid Artist Intern Residencies (PAIR) (Deadline: March 22, 2023)
SouthEnd ARTS has partnered with several art stakeholders to award ten creatives with free studio space for two months. The space, however, is not livable. Project PAIR is designed to educate emerging artists on the dedication required to pursue a professional art career.
Entry fee: $35
- Must be 21+ years of age
- Cannot be enrolled in any degree program, residency or maintain a separate studio during residency
- Emerging who identify as historically-excluded area artists, makers and creatives are encouraged to participate
Opportunity Fund Grant (Deadline: March 31, 2023)
The city of Charlotte and the Arts and Culture Advisory Board are accepting applications for grants up to $30,000 for the Opportunity Fund grant cycle. The grants come from a funding pool of $325,000. Artists and creative groups with nonprofit fiscal agents or sponsors can request funding for “near-term” projects and initiatives.
- Project will take place primarily in Charlotte or Mecklenburg County or benefit the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area
- Project concludes by June 30, 2024
- Project does not require multiyear or unrestricted funding from the Infusion Fund
- Project does not fund capital expenses or infrastructure costs (a new requirement for this cycle)
- Have not received prior support through the Opportunity Fund
Cultural Vision Grant (Deadline: May 1, 2023)
This grant supports individuals and organizations, based in Mecklenburg County, who are committed to enriching art, science or history sectors through cultural expression and addressing issues that affect local communities.
- The project is an arts, science, history, or heritage project that takes place in Mecklenburg County.
- The project begins between June 1, 2023 and Dec. 1, 2023
- The project ends on or before June 30, 2024.
- Applicant is either an individual with a primary residence in Mecklenburg County or a Mecklenburg County-based, nonprofit
Helpful Unfettered Gift (HUG) Micro-Grant (No deadline, awarded monthly)
There are two types of HUG grants: a $250 micro-grant or a $300 credit at the Charlotte Community Tool Bank. This fund is intended to remove any small obstacle that hinders the overall success of any creative project you are working on.
- Any Charlotte-based for profit or nonprofit creative project
- Private citizens or organizations
- Ongoing or new projects
- Previously HUG-funded projects
The Knight Foundation Funding (No deadline, at foundation’s discretion)
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation allows applicants to submit a letter of inquiry through its website. Applicants are asked to provide a brief summary of their project and explanation of why they are pursuing the project. If the foundation is interested, applicants will submit a full project proposal.
- Requests for support of fundraising events
- Requests to cover operating deficits
- Charities operated by service clubs
- International programs and organizations, except U.S.-based organizations supporting a free press around the world
For more information on eligibility
Future grant opportunities
Artist Support Grant (Applications open in August 2023 for fiscal year 2024)
Artist support grants fund professional development and artist development for emerging and established artists to enhance their skills and abilities to create work or to improve their business operations and capacity to bring their work to new audiences.
Grants for Arts Projects (Applications open July 11, 2023)
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) supports creative projects that engage audiences in new and innovative ways. Applicants may be professional artists, enrolled in residencies, or participating in community projects and may request up to $100,000.
Free Studio Space at Nine Eighteen Nine Studio Gallery
This gallery space, located in the Visual and Performing Arts Center, is open for artists to create (paint, draw, photograph or practice) when the gallery is not in use. There are currently no private studio spaces available.
To utilize the space:
- Text only: 704-777-4187
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) offers this online, six-week course that goes into the fundamentals of grant propositions such as explaining your need(s) for funding, detailing your reasons for working on a particular project and learning how to develop and articulate project outcomes.
Start dates: March 15, April 12, May 17
Requirements: There are no prerequisites required for this course.
CPCC’s Small Business Center offers free, one-on-one coaching that teaches you effective marketing skills and how to set up a business structure.
Call for entry is an online portal that offers opportunities to enter into nationwide art shows.
North Carolina Arts Council Artist Opportunities
The N.C. Arts Council posts art shows, creative jobs and other opportunities for artists to utilize on its website. There is also a biweekly newsletter that you can subscribe to with updates about new and available creative opportunities.
The N.C. Arts Council is available to assist with grant writing, based on one’s specific discipline.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Writing Groups
Whether you’re an aspiring writer or a seasoned writer, the CMS library offers opportunities for writers to get advice and improve their writing.
QCity Metro Reporter Amanda Harry contributed to this story.