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Charlotte_native

Charlotte Art Scene

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Tomorrow night, August 2nd, there will be a public forum at the McColl Center for Art on N. Tryon Street.

There was an article in the Observer Monday about the rising prices in our current "arts district" NoDa and the needs for artists in the greater community. A development company, Artspace, is coming to town to tour, take comments, and consider working with locals for an artists oriented community or project here in town. There are a handful of seminars during the day, but at 7:00 pm there will be a public forum.

For those that have been interested in, or have been concerned with, the art community here in town, this is an opportunity to be heard. This group has done projects in other cities, I have no idea the details other than what was in the Observer, and generally create live/work, live, or studio space with affordable rent the main goal.

Hopefully something good will come of this. There are a couple artist community proposals in the works in NoDa, but they are not limiting their search to that area, and these other plans were coming about long before this group.

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I am going to try and make it. It should be an interesting discussion. Affordable artist space and art promotion is a very important ingredient to a vibrant city. But when it comes to advocating for housing its very hard to make a separate case with all the other needs in the city regarding affordable housing for all. This organization has apparently had success in other cities. I hope they get a fair hearing here.

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You mentioned that there are a couple of artist community proposals in the works in NoDa... Are these different from the one that ArtSpace is possibly looking at? If so, do you or anyone else out there have any information? Thanks.

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I have read several letters to the editor and articles in The Observer about saving the NoDa arts district. And it seems from just having general conversations with friends around town and reading posting on forum such as this one that there seems to be a sincere plead to save NoDa. Is there any type of committee/group out there that is opened to anyone that wants to help? I have been in Charlotte for over 20 years and I really want to help NoDa not just stay Charlotte's Arts District but help it reach its potential. I think there are a bunch of people willing to help but we don't know how. Does anyone have any information on NoDa advocate groups out there? If so, please share. Thanks.

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You mentioned that there are a couple of artist community proposals in the works in NoDa... Are these different from the one that ArtSpace is possibly looking at? If so, do you or anyone else out there have any information? Thanks.

They are different. One in particular I've been working with someone about is a small arts oriented, for lack of a better word, village on North Davidson Street. Artspace is great, but they will work too slow to be able to get on board with this project. Unfortunately they will work to slow to stop the outflow of artists due to rents in NoDa. They are great, a non-profit, and do it for the true mission stated, but they have a list of requirements (tax credits for affordable housing which take extended periods to apply for, work through paperwork, and get -- plus they require an area 'survey' of artists to guage need, this according to them takes months). They said their best case would be a project in Charlotte in 3 - 5 years. As we all know the speed in which we see change, NoDa will be priced out by next year.

Email me directly if you have interest in, or know some that would, the 'village'. It is in the works now.

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NoDa is a good example of a neighborhood that has been destroyed by unreasonable property speculation. The speculation is such that it is driving out current residents who are renting, because prices are forcing the higher rents. In fact, it is even driving out some businesses. In a few years the NoDa arts district will be arts in name only.

We have discussed this neighborhood in several different threads and I think the general conclusion is that it will eventually become just another generic expensive neighborhood but a fairly nice one since it will have a transit stop. The bottom line is without a substantial amount of money, nothing is going to be done to stop the move in this direction as there is nothing in this city that would stop the property speculators from continuing to drive up prices. I expect the rest of the old buildings there will be eventually pushed down and replaced by new construction.

Maybe another part of the city could become the new arts district. Unfortunately it's going to have to be in a more suburban area as all of the places like Noda have or are being gentrified.

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I have read several letters to the editor and articles in The Observer about saving the NoDa arts district. And it seems from just having general conversations with friends around town and reading posting on forum such as this one that there seems to be a sincere plead to save NoDa. Is there any type of committee/group out there that is opened to anyone that wants to help? I have been in Charlotte for over 20 years and I really want to help NoDa not just stay Charlotte's Arts District but help it reach its potential. I think there are a bunch of people willing to help but we don't know how. Does anyone have any information on NoDa advocate groups out there? If so, please share. Thanks.

I don't know of any particularly missioned to 'preserve' NoDa -- but it is time to get this started. There are plenty of interested parties, but no cohesive movement and no real direction. I think the 100's that showed up for the forum with Artspace show the passion and need. There is a group that has started closer to town off North Davidson beside Urban Stash -- Artists Helping Artists, but housing isn't really their mission -- it is more of an overall grassroots group.

I would love to gather enough interested people to get this started, but it will take a large number of folks, especially some that have resources (code word for cash or access to it). Anyone reading that is interested, lets get this rolling...

It isn't too late, but timing is pretty critical now...

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Well... I'm not sure what the next step is but I guess let's keep this going and see what kind of interest we get. Everybody that has an interest in this I guess for now let's just keep a check on this. I think the energy is out there but we are all so scattered around the city. And to be honest, maybe an arts district may spring up somewhere else but it is unbelieveable to me that this town is not rocking and rolling on this. There are so many cool arts districts around the country that support their local arts scene. What is Charlotte's deal? Please anybody that has suggestions, information etc... let's just start a discussion and maybe we can get some ideas rolling. Thanks!!!!!

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That is a good question. I think maybe you summed it up when you mentioned that everyone was scattered around the city. Charlotte is basically a city of suburbs and for the most part, one isn't much different from the other. For example there aren't any Gay neighborhoods or a China town, or other similar ethnic or cultural areas in the city so I assume the same could be said for the arts. Arts are usually best supported by dense urban cities and Charlotte has a long way to go until it reaches this point. That might be the answer.

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This seems like it's applicable and may be of use in pointing you in a helpful direction:

http://www.charlottecentercity.org/nav.cfm...p;action=detail

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I heard an interview with one of the Art Space representatives on WFAE and he said that it looked as though Charlotte should be able to find enough funding to qualify for such an endeavor. He said that the search for space was not limited to NoDa, although generally loft/warehouse type spaces were ideal...so any property(s) which met certain criteria including, but not limited to physical features, price of building, location, etc... would be taken into account when making the decision.

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NoDa may have some artistic remnants here and there but its already a lost cause. The pressure from gentrification is too great. Its funny that many of the people renovating the mill houses and moving were attracted to the neighborhood because of its artsy vibe. Its not their fault or intentional but they are responsible for destroying the soul of NoDa by displacing what appealed to them in the first place. Sure, those on the beneficial side of gentrification say "move to Belmont" or move to "Optimist Park" and make another "NoDa". Those areas don't have the same old infrastructure to make an Arts district like NoDa used to have. Plus, with articles like Creative Loafing's "Find the hidden neighborhoods" the expectation prices on those still ungentrified areas are mostly already too high for artists :angry: Its a rather depressing situation. Our city is too diffuse and suburban in style to have a large artsy area anywhere. So artists and other creatives are spread out and as someone quoted in The Observer article said " being so scattered makes them invisble". Heck I am still renting an old affordable apt in Dilworth and so are a few artists. Almost all of our old apt buildings are for sale though and going condo, and the pool of affordable rentals is getting smaller and smaller.The only way any artists in Dilworth,Plaza Midwood and Elizabeth and NoDa are going to be around much longer are going to be those that bought in the 60s. In order to make a real effort to support creativity in this city we also need strong local gvt support. I don't see that coming from the current administration. The powers to be in this city support Nascar and vanity arts projects by the banks in Uptown. So they and the corporate controlled ASC can say "see we support the arts" they could care less about grassroots, independent and progressive art. They will never lend their support to innovative projects such as Artspace. Its too progressive for Charlotte. It would work in Asheville and The Triangle. Not here. So independent art will remain lost in the wilderness in this town. There is and will continue to be good art in Charlotte but you will have to continue to dig for it and search it out on your own.

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I don't know what to say to all of this other than everyone's comments are so true. It is actually quite depressing and so frustrating because I personally as an artist and other artist friends and supporters that I know feel like we don't know what to do. I do think that the current local goverment will never be of any help. I guess there is no magic answer but I think getting people talking like this may spur some kind of positive news. It just seems like Charlotte is really getting cool but the arts is turning into a "bragging" point of all of the famous works of arts and not a town that supports local artists. Maybe I am wrong but for the twenty some years I have been here I really have never seen the city embrace local artists. I'm not going to give up all hope. Thanks for everyone reading and posting valuable feedback.

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Hi Charlotte native... I'm not sure how to email you directly. I really want to hear about the "village" and how I can get involved.

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Charlotte_native. I would like to get in touch with you about "the village" that you mentioned in the other thread but I'm not sure how to do that. I actually may have a couple artists that would have some interest. Sorry I'm new to this forum and just not sure how to get in touch with you.

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Isn't this a pretty common occurrence in cities throughout the nation? A place gets "hip" by people (artists, musicians, etc.) willing to invest in the area and infuse some life into it, the general public catches on, rents skyrocket, the original populace is forced out, and that area becomes sterile. As cities continue to attract the affluent, I don't think this trend is going to slow down anytime soon, I'm afraid. If those who made an area such as NoDa what it is today move to another part of town, the same thing will just happen there. So what are the solutions? Government intervention in the form of rent control and other similar measures? Wouldn't this give the area more of an artificial vibe and not an organic vibe--thus causing the area to lose the charm that attracted so many in the first place?

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arts districts thrive on cheap space. I would think the cheapest space in Charlotte (and most mid-sized cities) is in the discarded big box stores along the inner suburban fringe (e.g. independence ave). How hard would it be to purchase an old kmart or two, subdivide the interior and provide some facade changes and landscaping in the parking lot -- presto, a very cheap artists community that is accessible (by car anyway) and probably not under any sort of pressure from gentrification.

I recognize that this is far from ideal (decaying strip centers carry a certain stigma) but, based on the 'rent gap' that urban theorists like to discuss, these locations likely represent the next wave of Charlotte's redevelopment. Why not encourage (through an institutional or municipal subsidy) artists to pioneer this next wave.

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Its not like this is New York or Philly or Boston, huge metros where there is always another abandoned neighborhood to "discover". Charlotte does not have enough old industrial districts to play that game. Our potential art space is finite and needs public support. And cities that care about local art DO support it through rent control programs for artists and taxpayer supported projects etc because the citizens value art and realize its importance. The fact that this concept which is successful around the country is so foreign, and illicits such a dumbfounded and shocked reaction from most Charlotteans makes my point about the almost nonexistent acknowledgement and support for homegrown art in this town.

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arts districts thrive on cheap space. I would think the cheapest space in Charlotte (and most mid-sized cities) is in the discarded big box stores along the inner suburban fringe (e.g. independence ave). How hard would it be to purchase an old kmart or two, subdivide the interior and provide some facade changes and landscaping in the parking lot -- presto, a very cheap artists community that is accessible (by car anyway) and probably not under any sort of pressure from gentrification.

I think this is a great idea because as you mention, there are plenty of these places in Charlotte. I would forget Independence however and look at Freedom Drive around Camp Green and Ashley Roads. Most of the city and many forumers here have written off that area, but I think it has a lot of potential for something like this. (and a lot of other things too) The other big benefit of this area is there is a lot of housing between this part of Freedom and Wilkenson that is waiting to be rennovated. One of the downers of this area is the proximity to the airport so jet noise can be an issue, but it will help to keep the prices down.

A little further out is Bradford Drive. This is a neglected area of Charlotte, but it has a number of zero lot line business buildings and a gridded network of houses that could be converted to galleries. (one could live in them too) It's pretty sketchy out there now, but no more so that Noda was in 1981 when it became noticed.

Edit: I merged the other topic with this one.

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I read an interesting article in The Observer a few months ago about Davidson's planned Arts District on South Main Street past the college. Two developers are getting together and dedicating a section of town for art galleries and studios. Davidson is helping with zoning and development guidelines. I know it's an impossible comparison between the two. Davidson is a small affluent town with a prestigious school and that type of educational influence always helps the arts but its a good general example of what can be done. If Charlotte never coalesces behind local art at least Davidson is right next door and Charleston and Asheville are easy drives when your artistic itch needs to be scratched.

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A few comments:

1) I think NoDa is far from being "over". Timing is critical, and you might not ever get that super gritty feel that was there a couple of years ago, but for mid-level artists, there is plenty of potential in and around the neighborhood. Take a spin down 36th towards N. Tryon, then on N. Tryon -- close proximity, cheaper properties, warehouse and industrial space.

2) Bradford Drive -- there is already a thread started last week about "Hoskins/Thomasboro". This is a huge neighborhood with CHEAP properties. It is getting further out from town, but great potential.

3) Wilkinson, Camp Green, Ashley Park were brought up at the Artspace meeting (there was an early afternoon meeting/forum with local developers, real estate folks, and others working on this in the area on the same day as the evening open forum). This area is largely unknown to many and has great properties that might fit the Artspace mold. It is being scouted, but a couple soon to be announced projects nearby might get others looking too.

Good and bad about a growing and thriving city -- people have to move fast or they get passed. I can't say this is anyone's 'fault' just how it is.

4) Bix Boxes. These came up -- great space, large, cheap, but they are so large with little to no windows, it is hard to make living space. They make good studio and performing space and we certainly have plenty of them.

I think we (anyone truly interested) need to start working on getting interested parties together. Finding support and getting something started. I am completely willing to do this.

Artist_Charlotte, your ability to get personal messages on here is "turned off" i just tried to send one to you -- anyone interested please send me a message and we'll get going. (you click on the persons name then go to 'communications')

Relying on goverment or a non-profit on this is great, and hopefully will continue to progress, but if we are to have something happen sooner than later, we the people will have to do it. Artspace is GREAT, but they say the best case for them is 3 - 5 years -- they need a lot of community support, government tax incentives, studies to support those, and these take A LONG TIME. I doubt the city will do anything -- this is nothing that will get noted nationally in their eyes, therefore will not be worthwhile. Even if they did get behind this, private development is not one of the city's strongpoints and plenty of people will oppose this -- therefore it would also take a long time. In 1, 2 or 3 years prices will only continue to skyrocket...

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Rent control for "artists" seems unfair. How does one decide who qualifies as an artist?

Why do we need an artists district anyways? Seems like an artifical way to make a neighborhood for hipsters.

Artists will gravitate towards cheap rent. Most artists I know live along Central Ave for the combination of cheap rent and hipster bars like the Penguin.

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Artists will gravitate towards cheap rent. Most artists I know live along Central Ave for the combination of cheap rent and hipster bars like the Penguin.

They live there till rents rise too high for them. Coming real soon for Central Ave.

Artist friends I have live all over. It is a misconception that all artists are poor or can't afford expensive property. But the ones that are limited with funds, just getting started, or working through school have a real hard time in a growing city.

The reason artists want to have "districts" is the creative bounce that happens between them. NoDa nurtured a lot of artists in the city and still does. I think having a district that is organic and clustered makes for a great part of town to visit if you don't live there. Unfortunately artist and gay districts tend to be over-loved and everyone else moves in and the first pioneers move out.

The Artspace projects are owned by them, are rentals, and they base whether someone is an artist simply on their being active in their artwork (according to them). They don't disallow certain types of art, their example was poets or writers -- they qualify too. The point of thier visit and the dialogue it opened was precisely this: finding out if there is a need, letting people know why art communities or projects are beneficial, and to see if there is support. Personally I would hope to see artists that are local that DO have lots of money chip in for the cause.

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Ideally, artists and other creatives develop their own areas and self evolve. From an authenticity standpoint its a plus. I just think in smaller cities like Charlotte its tough to stay ahead of the real estate values for a substantial time. Some support is needed. The ideas being batted around don't involve moving into a sterile building and putting up a sign that says " Arts District" :lol: Regarding how "artists" would be chosen. This has been done in Asheville and larger cities. Local arts groups or local gvt set up evaluation committees consisting of a wide variety of artists to evaluate applicants. The hope is to create something in the areas that still have some artistic vibe like North Davidson so it would be the right fit. For people that support arts in Charlotte,advocating this can be quite frustrating. This city can work wonders when there is an organized push for new amenities: Nascar Hall of Fame, Whitewater Center, the various land swaps for baseball Uptown. I know the Wachovia complex is going to be beautiful and is needed but I am speaking on a community and neighborhood level. Art in Charlotte should not only consist of Ivory Towers Uptown that primarily appeal to the high end market and nothing else. Imagine would could be done if there was at least half of the passion for artistic, creative, and unique culinary neighborhoods beyond the smattering we have now in this town, as there was for the Nascar Hall. The results would be amazing.

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ok... I have been thinking about this all day. I come home and read some positive things. Charlotte_native... Rock on! I personally am NOT counting NoDa out like some people are. I have this gut feeling that we are going to see some amazing things happen over there in the next couple of years. Many will argue and that's ok but let's not give up all hope.

Side note.. I'm not sure why you can't email me because everything seems to be set up right.

Try it again.

Ok... I have to say that I'm so happy to have found a group of people that want to at least try to do something. I have several friends that are interested but we don't know how to get something started. I don't want to be involved with the Corporate "Look at our World-Class City" and how we have the best collection of famous artist campaign. I think that it is great that we will have some awesome works of arts etc... But there needs to be some kind of support of our local artists. I work for one of the major corporation and they don't need our help. Let's focus on the local artists scene. And let me just say that not ever artist in this town lives in NoDa or Plaza Midwood etc... I love those areas and I can say I live in Plaza Midwood for several years. I don't live there now but that is no reason to not want PM or NoDa to thrive. I think alot of artists around town really want a centralized area to bring us all together and create positve creative energy together. Wherever that place is or will be who knows but so many of us are searching. Ok..just check this link out... I'm not saying this is exactly what Charlotte needs but at least there is a sense of positive creative community goals and these people are doing SOMETHING. Grant it they must have an awesome local government and we all know we don't really have that here at this moment. And for the love of all good things please let us not bring in the partisan thing in this discussion. Thank you kindred art spirits....

Artist Guild of Manatee of Brandenton Florida

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