Aug 17, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chatham Arts Council Announces Brand New Artist Opportunity with Arts + Equity Initiative
PITTSBORO, NC – In order to promote an arts landscape that reflects the demographics of an ever-changing county, the Chatham Arts Council (CAC) has developed the Arts + Equity Initiative to serve communities whose voices aren’t always heard. Through a diversity of artistic voices, we are able to see and understand the commonalities that bring us all together as a community. Arts + Equity seeks to intentionally make space for artists who have less access to traditional sources of funding and support.
“Arts + Equity is an experiment that’s been several years in the making. When there are segments of the community who don’t apply for arts funding support year after year, we have to look structurally at why that might be. And in that exploration, folks have been so generous in helping us design Arts + Equity so that we might better serve those artists who may not traditionally feel included,” remarks CAC Artistic Director Cheryl Chamblee. “Artists help people feel seen, and we really need Chatham’s artists with disabilities, super-rural artists, Black and Brown artists to have pathways to making art in our communities. It won’t be perfect, but we hope Arts + Equity will be one of those pathways this season.”
CAC has partnered with the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Malcolm Bryant Corporation, Chatham Park, and Mosaic/Northwood Landing to raise $10,000 for this pilot grant program. CAC will be granting ten $250 awards, five $500 awards, and two $2,500 awards.
Eligibility for Arts + Equity requires that performing, visual, and literary artists live in Chatham County and identify in at least one of three ways: 1) As Black, Brown, BIPOC, Hispanic, Latine, Asian, Middle Eastern, Indigenous American, or Pacific Islander; 2) As a person with one or more visible or invisible disabilities, or 3) As a resident of a super-rural community in Chatham with a total population of fewer than 4,000 folks.
“We’re not putting a lot of restrictions around this,” explains Cheryl Chamblee. “Artists know what they need to make their work, and we want to hear it from them.” Arts + Equity could help propel a specific project, or it could help an artist get access to skills, knowledge, or tools they need for all the work they do.
“Maybe it’s materials like brushes or canvases or fabric. Maybe it’s technology like design or scriptwriting software. Is it a few hours of coaching or a boost in marketing materials?” says Chamblee. “It could be the final few hundred bucks to buy a kiln, or studio time to record an album, or even a babysitter to give an artist uninterrupted creative time toward a specific project.”
As a Chatham resident and professional playwright who brings stories of Black history to the stage nationwide, Mike Wiley understands the importance of an inclusive arts community. “Our community grows by the minute, it seems,” he says. “If we want to grow as a truly diverse county and community, seeking out diverse artists and helping them be heard and seen is an absolute necessity.”
Mike adds, “Economically, it will be good for the county because diverse artists will look at Chatham and see it’s a community where they could live, that has a place for them.”
Applications for the Arts + Equity Initiative open on August 17, 2023 and can be accessed here. Designed to be responsive to artists’ needs, Arts + Equity proposals are on a rolling deadline, and artists can apply any time during the 2023-2024 season, until all available funding has been awarded. The review panel will meet once a month, and awards will be announced on the 15th of each month.
CONTACT: Andrea Akin, Marketing/Public Relations Leader of the Chatham Arts Council, email@example.com or 919-548-5762