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Author: Travis Silvas

Charlotte Celebrates Arts Night Out June 15

Arts and culture continue to take center stage in downtown Charlotte. Arts Night Out, a collaboration between Windwalker Underground Gallery, CharlotteRising, and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, will fill the community will local art Friday, June 15 during Charlotte Celebrates. “We have been tossing around the idea of bringing Arts Night Out into downtown Charlotte for a couple of years now, but the time never felt right,” said Kalli Dempsey of Windwalker Underground Gallery. “Windwalker and CharlotteRising have been working together to tangibly support the idea of art being a catalyst for a revitalized and vibrant downtown, and Arts Night Out seemed like a perfect project to bring downtown venues together with a creative center.” Dempsey said the goal was to start small, locating seven to eight artists and venues, but as discussions started with local businesses and artists, the event continued to grow. Charlotte’s inaugural Arts Night Out will feature 17 local artists who have been paired with 17 local businesses to display their work. “As residents stroll through downtown they will have a chance to watch artists at work, listen to live music, purchase art, make art, and hopefully it will encourage people to walk into a downtown store that they have never walked into before,” Dempsey said. The event has the potential to be an economic driver for local small businesses, said Dillon Rush, executive...

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City of Charlotte’s 2018-19 budget shows an investment in revitalizing downtown

Such a great emphasis has been placed on the revitalization of downtown Charlotte by a number of local organizations. On Tuesday, May 29, Charlotte City Council showed its interest in partnering with community members, organizations and businesses in those efforts by adopting a budget that demonstrates its willingness to partner in revitalization efforts. “With this budget, we were really looking at two major themes,” said Mayor Tim Lewis. “One is the continuation in the investment in downtown. We want to be in partnership with the organizations and businesses downtown. The other is very significant in our emphasis on infrastructure projects.” Chief among the downtown projects slated to fall under the fiscal year 2018-19 budget is the proposed pocket park. The projected cost of the project is $215,000. The council’s adopted budget includes a maximum of $140,000 from city funds for the park. The remaining money is expected to come from a number of grant sources. “This is so much bigger than just a park,” Lewis said. “To people coming into the community, it adds attractiveness to downtown. It also allows people in the community to see a real change and growth in their downtown. That draws people to the community.” The city has set aside $15,000 for an M-50 Traffic Impact Analysis, which is the first step in any future plans the city has to calm traffic on Cochran...

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Art of Charlotte to unleash community’s wealth of talent

It may be a surprise to some to learn that both the state and national Main Street organizations identified arts and culture as a key strategy to downtown Charlotte’s revitalization efforts. Through extensive research, both organizations concluded the arts and culture have a big presence in Charlotte. But, how many people are aware of all of the talent in the area? A group of local community members, including representatives from CharlotteRising, CanDo!, Windwalker Underground Gallery, and Charlotte High School students have formed to show that art really is at the heart of downtown Charlotte. The group created Art of...

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Teachers unite in red for students

Several Charlotte Education Association members are concerned their students are not fully getting the help they need and have chosen to voice their concern by joining the statewide movement “Wear Red for Public Ed.” That participation, however, has been met with resistance from Charlotte Public Schools administrators. Close to 50 current and former Charlotte Public Schools teachers, and members of the Michigan Education Association gathered in the Charlotte Upper Elementary School parking lot Wednesday, May 23 proudly wearing red shirts. The group took things a step further that morning, taking part in a planned “walk in,” in which they...

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Charlotte receives second $10,000 LEAP placemaking grant

The City of Charlotte has been awarded its second Public Art for Communities grant from the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and PNC Foundation. CharlotteRising executive director Dillon Rush and Mayor Tim Lewis were presented a check for $10,000 Friday, May 11 during a press conference held at LEAP’s office in REO Town in Lansing, joining representatives from the City of Lansing and City of Mason, which also received $10,000 grants. “We’re so excited to accept this award and further the placemaking initiatives in downtown Charlotte,” Rush said. The $10,000 will be used to commission a piece of public...

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