Friday, March 5, 2010

Charlotte Arts Catalyst takes center stage

Posted By on Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 5:22 PM

I frequently hear artists complain that there aren’t enough venues for them to show their work and that there isn’t enough interest and support for them. Fortunately, several people, instead of complaining, are actually doing something about it. Some have established artist collectives while others have set up online sites to promote and facilitate communication amongst artists. I recently spoke with the leaders of some of these groups. Here's a look at one of those conversations:

Charlotte Arts Catalyst

Interview with: Zachary Reader

Date founded: The group was officially founded January 12th, 2010 at our first meeting.

Number of members: As of the beginning of March, the group has 18 “board” members.

Group’s mission: To establish a center for art and music, which fosters the growth of creativity and community in Charlotte through exhibition, events and education.

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What’s your vision for the group?

Reader: I'm so excited about the day when this vision becomes a finalized reality that sometimes I lose sleep thinking about it. The future I see for this space consists of a venue for local and touring bands, artists and filmmakers as well as a place where various workshops, gatherings and meetings can be held. We're also looking forward to offering affordable artist workspaces and free music lessons for people of all ages. Another big thing that has to be incorporated with the success of this center is the promotion of our community's artists and musicians and their products. I've seen my friends creating all kinds of amazing things over the years and often these creations never leave their house. I know we all have friends who we can say the same about, so I think it would be amazing if Charlotte had a hassle-free non-profit home for all these talented people, whether established or not, to showcase themselves.

What gave you the inspiration for the group?

A big inspiration for me for years now has been seeing other cities do similar things to what we're trying to do. Places like Atlanta, Philadelphia, Baltimore, even Chapel Hill and Asheville have one or more independent facilities designed to encourage many types of creativity and communities and also function as venues for music and art. These are all cities I visit often, usually for the sole purpose of attending an event at one of these spaces. Somehow Charlotte really just hasn't developed a place quite like this yet, and I feel like it has to happen now! After living here for 11 years, I finally feel confident and knowledgeable enough to take on this project, with a handful of great people who feel the same as I do.

When and how do you meet or communicate?

We meet on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the atrium at Amelie's French Bakery. Down the line, I think our meeting places could alternate if necessary. In between meetings, there is a Facebook page set up to serve as a message board and a place to share any progress that has been made.

Where is the group now and where else do you want to take it in terms of your vision?

We are still in the very early stages of development and working out the standard kinks. I can tell that all the people on board have already put extensive thought into this idea long before we had our first meeting, so I think we'll start making strong and steady progress in no time. Once we've got a home and a sturdy base, I would love to see that we've made a noticeable positive impact on this community and it's people. Eventually, maybe we could even work with new outlets or grow into a bigger or second space.

What can others do to support it?

As a new group taking on this huge project we can use all the help we can get. We will have a website up shortly but the best help we can ask for from others right now is to simply join our group on Facebook. There they can share their thoughts and ideas for this space so we can get the most accurate results possible. Soon, the members of our group will be able to see other ways they can help, such as fundraising events they can attend and/or things they can donate.

Note: Charlotte Arts Catalyst is having its first fundraiser, a music fest, on Friday, March 5th at The Milestone at 3400 Tuckaseegee Road. Featured bands are: Sea of Cortez, Members of the Sea, Moenda, Quiet Hooves and Bubbly Mommy Gun. Cover is $6.

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