CHArt Awards its First Small Grants

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Faculty and Staff Led Projects Engaging the Arts, Communities, and Heritage Receive Funding

The new Center for Community, Heritage, and the Arts (CHArt) announces the re-granting of $14,000 in funds from the UNC Charlotte Division of Research. CHArt is rooted in the College of Arts + Architecture (CoA+A) with strong connections to the College of Humanities, Earth, and Social Sciences (CHESS). This new research center was established through the Division of Research Ignite for Centers pilot program and offers a space for interdisciplinary conversations focused on preservation and interpretation of the built environment through hands-on engagement with communities, their legacies, and specific places. CHArt expands the roles of the visual and performing arts, museums, archeological sites, and other fields within critical heritage and preservation efforts.

The Spring 2024 CHArt small grants ranged from $1,000 to $3,500. CHARt received 22 submissions from faculty or teams in 16 academic units (including all CoA+A units as well as 10 CHESS units). The review committee recognized projects that had research merit and significant community or pedagogical impact, aligned with CHArt priority areas, engaged interdisciplinary teams, and could be implemented in the next few months.

For Spring 2024, the CHArt Small Grant recipient teams and their projects are:

  • Lavagem Celebration: Dr. Tamara Williams (Dance) organizes this event to nurture and support authentic creative expression of African-Brazilian and Indigenous cultures. In the Lavagem gathering, people share traditional narratives and celebrate the resiliency and resistance of diaspora communities. CHArt funds will support a photographer and videographer to document the dance, music, storytelling, and oral traditions of the Lavagem Celebration.

  • Equity in Memory and Memorial (E2M): Dr. Julie Robinson Moore (Religious Studies) and Dr. Matthew Gin (Architecture) are leading this community-engaged peacebuilding initiative working toward racial reconciliation through the memorialization, preservation, and re-interpretation of slave cemeteries in Charlotte. CHArt funds will support a videographer to document the “Honoring our Ancestors” memorial for the burial ground for 186 enslaved people in unmarked graves at Providence Presbyterian Church.

  • Brooklyn to Browne’s Ferry: Meg Whalen (CoA+A), Nadia Anderson (Architecture), Mira Frisch (Music) and Ashley Tate (Dance) are exploring the history and heritage of the diverse University City neighborhood of Browne’s Ferry and the adjacent Grace AME Zion Church. CHArt funds will support hiring an undergraduate research assistant to study projects that have used dance as a vehicle for cultural heritage storytelling and to assist in the development of choreographic movement.

  • Charlotte Strings Collective: Mira Frisch (Music) and Brian Arreola (Music) lead this group of musicians committed to celebrating the music of Black composers through performance and education. CHArt funds will support rehearsals and performances of new string works inspired by the university-area neighborhood of Browne’s Ferry as well as planned concerts of String Works by Black Composers in Concord and Rock Hill.

  • Indigenous Digital Narratives: Dr. Jason Black (Communication Studies) is teaching an Indigenous Decolonization course in which students will tell arts-anchored, multimodal digital narratives based on the stories of indigenous scholars and community leaders. CHArt funds will support honoraria for Indigenous guest speakers to share their perspectives on lifeways and decolonial work with the students.

  • Invisible Histories Project: Dr. Wilfredo Flores (Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies) is teaching a Reading, Writing, and Archiving Charlotte course in which students will use digital media to create oral histories documenting events across Charlotte specific to Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ communities. CHArt funds will support honoraria for guest speakers to share specific histories about discrete local communities with the students.

  • Charlotte Atlas of Climate Inequality and Community Resilience: Dr. Tina Shull (History) and Michael Ewers (Geography & Earth Sciences) along with a team from Art & Art History and the Atkins Library are examining the role of resilience to climate change and the role of social capital in environmentally and economically disadvantaged Charlotte communities. The team will conduct participatory storytelling, arts, and mapping workshops and collect oral histories at branch libraries in the two communities. CHArt funds will support recognition of community participants and hiring a graduate research assistant to conduct background research and support the interview process.