Charlotte Cultural Plan
City of Charlotte
In January 2021, Mayor Vi Lyles created the Charlotte City Council’s ad hoc Arts and Culture Committee to develop a policy for arts and culture as an economic development strategy for Charlotte. The committee was charged with identifying a new investment strategy to support the creative community. With the appointment of the city’s first Arts and Culture Officer, Priya Sircar, in August 2021, Charlotte is well-positioned to evolve and advance its already vibrant arts and culture ecosystem to the next level.
Arts and culture are central to providing a vibrant quality of life for all people, and play an important role in economic development by attracting businesses, new residents, and visitors to cities and regions. To ensure local arts and culture have a healthy future, the City of Charlotte is developing policies and strategies that stabilize the arts and cultural sector within Mecklenburg County, incentivize growth opportunities for artists and arts and culture organizations, grow the industry ecosystem, and respond to community needs and opportunities. The planning process requires involvement of engrained voices in the arts and culture ecosystem as well as new and emerging ones, to ensure that activities at all scales, geographies, and focus areas are supported into the future.
Fourth Economy was tasked with inventorying and mapping the arts and culture assets located within Charlotte-Mecklenburg; cataloging existing economic and community priorities that intersect with arts and culture goals set in previous planning efforts; studying benchmark cities and pulling out key lessons learned from these comparable case study communities; evaluating the existing funding landscape for arts and culture within Charlotte-Mecklenburg; and developing recommendations for a sustainable funding and governance model to support the sector over the next decade.
While the plan is still underway (projected to be completed by June 2023), the planning team developed a robust “State of Culture” Report that summarizes all of the learnings from nine months studying the arts and culture ecosystem in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The City of Charlotte hosted a public event for residents and other stakeholders to comment on and respond to the eight emerging insights developed as a part of that reporting process, which helped the Committee identify the priorities they will build strategies around.