A Proposed Plan By Charlotte City Council Has Some Worried About Funding For Local Creative Work

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For decades, public and private money, specifically for the arts, has been disbursed to artists, organizations, and cultural programs through the Arts & Science Council. Under Charlotte city council’s proposed plan, it would create its own advisory board with an arts, and science coordinator that would distribute the funds instead, says the president of the Arts & Science council, Krista Terrell.

“We do have concerns and trying to understand why would the city kind of re-create an ASC within city government, create have a cultural commissioner and a board made up of public and private funders to invest this work,” Terrell says.

She says there’s concern on how this would impact equitable funding and investments in artists.

“There’s no discussion or talk that we have heard of so far around the investment in creative individuals, it seems to be from the proposal as well as those two or three meetings, it’s about those legacy organizations that are in city-owned facilities.”

Terrell says the council has said part of the reason for this change: economic development.

“We’re just really trying to understand where all of this is coming from. They do say economic development, but again is that really around tourism.”

Elizabeth Palmisano is an artist advocate. She says creators have more access to the Arts & Science council than they do the city government.

“Why are you taking money from an organization that has a relationship with a creative community, that the creative community can hold accountable, that the residents of the city can hold accountable,” Palmisano says.

Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt tells WCCB that the council is committed to making sure that local artists continue to have equitable access to funding and their goal is to develop a long term plan to increase funding for the arts and culture ecosystem and to do that in a way that is sustainable for the long term.