Since the 1970’s, the Arts & Science Council has distributed all non-facility-related City of Charlotte funding and Mecklenburg County funding for cultural organizations and programs. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg/ASC Public-Private Partnership for cultural affairs represents a broad range of interests in culture including art, science, history and heritage. Ours is a nationally recognized model for support of a local cultural community, combining resources from the public sector with those of the private sector to maximize impact.
Local government funding of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s cultural life through the ASC is a partnership that works. In the majority of our peer communities across the US, the services and funding such as that provided by the ASC is the sole responsibility of local government. ASC is our community’s “Department of Cultural Affairs.” The ASC grants panels ensure an equitable system of review by citizen panels and accountability for receipt of grant funds. The ASC’s thorough planning is evident in our work across Charlotte-Mecklenburg through the Cultural Facilities Master Plan and cultural plans for each of our suburban municipalities.
Funding ASC is an investment in the economic life of this community, including its jobs. For over a quarter century, a key element of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg economic development strategy has been promoting our cultural assets. It is a strategy that has worked. The impact of the ASC and our Cultural Partners on the local economy grew to $202.8 million in total economic impact in 2010, including supporting over 6,240 local jobs. When individuals and companies look to relocate, quality of life, including arts and culture, is key to their decision-making. And, as we work to maximize our tourism industry, we must remember that 40% of attendance at cultural events is by non-Mecklenburg County residents. These visitors spend an average of $30.72 per event in addition to the cost of admission.
Local government support leverages additional support. Every dollar invested by local government in the ASC is matched by over $7 by the ASC and is matched again at least dollar for dollar by our grant recipients.
Mecklenburg County residents support public investment in arts, science and history. Results of the Cultural Life in Mecklenburg County study conducted by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in April 2012 show:
- 74% of respondents support local government funding for arts, science & history programs.
The value of funding ASC lies in nurturing the growth of arts, science, history and heritage programs in every corner of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Eighty-five percent of the ASC’s FY13 budget will be distributed through its grant programs and services to the community including Operating Support, Cultural Projects, Latino Initiatives and Regional Artist Project grants as well as support for First Night Charlotte, Cultural Tourism, neighborhood-based residencies and a robust series of workshops for both volunteers and professionals focused on building their capacity to succeed. Local government funding helps support cultural programs – large and small – across Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Funding from the ASC provides the only stable source of operating support for our major cultural institutions. At the present time, state government funding, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, and individual giving are down from last year, but public needs and demands for programs are greater than ever. The ASC Operating Support grants help ensure that programs are affordable and accessible to all our fellow citizens, not just a few. This support helps existing facilities along with the new additions to our cultural community including the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Discovery Place, The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art & Culture, the Knight Theatre, and the Mint Museum of Art.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents support local government funding of arts, science and history. Results of the Cultural Life in Mecklenburg County study conducted by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in April 2012 show:
- 69.3 % of respondents agree that arts, science and history organizations make a positive contribution to the quality of life in Charlotte-Mecklenburg;
- 75.5% of respondents agree that arts, science and history organizations and programming make Charlotte-Mecklenburg more attractive to businesses and individuals considering relocation to this area;
- 74.8 % of respondents support local government funding for arts, science & history programs;
- 62.7% of respondents support 1% of the cost of constructing public buildings being used to enhance the facility with public art.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents support arts education in our schools. Results of the Cultural Life in Mecklenburg County study conducted by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in April 2012 show:
- 87.6% of respondents think that arts, music, drama and dance education programs in the schools are important in helping children to do better in other academic subjects.
- 80.8% of respondents think that arts, music, drama and dance instruction in the schools are valuable to the education of children.
Funding from the ASC provides quality cultural education and programming to Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents.
- The arts help children develop literacy skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
- The arts encourage divergent thinking and problem-solving skills, enabling students to think creatively.
- Current research has shown that arts education can play a critical role in a child’s academic and social development.
- Well-designed and executed arts education leads to overall improved academic performance, builds skills necessary for workplace success, and has a positive influence on the lives of students.
- Research and formative evaluation of successful arts programs have demonstrated that access to and participation in the arts helps decrease and prevent negative behavior by at-risk youth.