Arts & Culture

Best Local Charlotte Arts Programs To Support

April 23, 2012 6:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Charlotte’s cultural scene continually blossoms, and instrumental to that growth is the Arts & Science Council. Known locally as ASC, this organization stewards the advancement of individual artists and non-profit organizations through grants, public arts, strategic planning and cultural initiatives. More than 150 organizations receive unrestricted operating support. They are listed here.With so many arts organizations worthy of support in Charlotte, it can be difficult to get involved with one in particular. Help lift up one of these six that are either established as a part of the local cultural terrain or rising stars.

carolinaactorsstudiotheater Best Local Charlotte Arts Programs To Support

(credit: Carolina Actors Studio Theater)

Carolina Actors Studio Theater
2424 North Davidson St, Suite 113
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 455-8542

Located in the NoDa arts district, the Carolina Actors Studio Theater (CAST) is known for significant, challenging works and elaborate productions requiring large scale, expensive installations such as a revolving stage and a 3,000 gallon tank of water. The organization, actors, directors and production staff are recipients of many awards in recognition of their creativity. CAST will work with volunteers interested in any aspect of theater production. Makeup, lighting, set design and construction skills are shared with all who are willing to help. If time for volunteering is at a premium, consider being an usher or a box office helper. Volunteers are also sought for board committees to manage the business aspects of their theater organization.

Related: A Guide To The Charlotte Fine Art Festival!

charlottecivicorchestra Best Local Charlotte Arts Programs To Support


Charlotte Civic Orchestra
P.O. Box 11334
Charlotte, NC 28220
(704) 344-0098

The Charlotte Civic Orchestra (CCO) is a volunteer-based, 75-piece orchestra made up of accomplished local musicians. Starting as a course in symphonic music at Central Piedmont Community College in 1986, CCO gives diverse audiences affordable access to cultural experiences.  Donations support their educational program, which introduces students to a symphony orchestra. Their season, early fall to May, will include four concerts and an appearance at the Festival in the Park. If you want to volunteer your musical skills, competitive auditions are held throughout the year.

folksociety Best Local Charlotte Arts Programs To Support


Charlotte Folk Society
P.O. Box 36864
Charlotte, NC 28236
(704) 372-3655

Completely operated with volunteer support, the Charlotte Folk Society is celebrating 30 years of sharing American roots. Free monthly concerts called “Gatherings” at the Great Aunt Stella Center include old-time, bluegrass, Celtic, black string band, gospel, Native American, contemporary folk, storytelling and ballad traditions. Essential to passing on folk traditions is the involvement of youth, showcased at one Gathering each year. In 2002, CFS established the Marilyn Meacham Price Scholarship to the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops for musicians, ages 12 to 21. Donations are crucial to the existence of these events, so contribute today.

csyo Best Local Charlotte Arts Programs To Support


Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra
Charlotte Symphony Junior Youth Orchestra
Two Wells Fargo Center
301 S Tryon St
Charlotte, NC 28282
(704) 525-0522

The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras (CSYO) are supported with volunteers and funding by the Symphony Guild of Charlotte and, of course, by the parents. Performances have included Festival in the Park and SouthPark Summer Pops in Charlotte. Their annual Youth Festival spotlights talented young classical musicians who perform alongside members of the Charlotte Symphony. Complimentary tickets to the Youth Festival are donated to other non-profits serving youth. Volunteers are needed for youth music education initiatives and fundraisers. Symphony Guild president, Lisa Phillips, indicates, “And yes, we are always thrilled to accept donations!” Donors mailing checks in care of the Charlotte Symphony should indicate on the memo line that their gift is specifically intended for the youth orchestras.

festivalinthepark Best Local Charlotte Arts Programs To Support


Festival in the Park
1409 East Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 338-1060

An institution in Charlotte since 1964, Festival in the Park is a performance venue for many local organizations. This annual free fall festival in Freedom Park offers visual arts, theatrical performances and music of all genres. The hands-on, educational programs for children are another appealing aspect of this family-friendly event. Art collectors, come prepared to purchase pieces for home or office décor. It is mind boggling that production is handled by one, full-time office employee, some seasonal employees and Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation staff. The festival depends heavily on volunteers, whether they perform onstage or behind the scenes. If you have artistic skills, or need to fulfill community service hours, the beautiful lakeside setting beckons.

onqproductions Best Local Charlotte Arts Programs To Support


On Q Productions
1009 Grace St
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 492-6229

Quentin Talley, the youthful founder and Executive Artistic Director of On Q Productions, has established a strong presence in Charlotte. On Q is the first African-American theater company in residence at the prestigious North Carolina Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts. Talley has tackled a noteworthy theatrical repertoire, with directing shows including “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World” by Suzan-Lori Parks, Amiri Baraka’s “The Dutchman” and Douglas Turner Ward’s “Day of Absence.” Talley confirms that donations are more than welcome. Volunteers are needed for the front table, selling merchandise and informing people of upcoming productions. Help is also needed backstage, where volunteers will learn the ins and outs of how a show runs from the beginning rehearsal to the final curtain.

Jacquelin Celeste Peters has produced award winning radio programs at WPFW Pacifica-Washington. She is a Culture and Events Examiner in Charlotte, North Carolina, which she calls home. Her work can be found at

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