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Gantt Center $1 Million Recipient of Knight Foundation Grant to Help Technology Innovation Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced that the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture has been selected to receive a $1 million technology innovation grant. This funding is part of the Knight Foundation's $2.1 million commitment to help the Charlotte arts community innovate during the pandemic and beyond by using digital strategies to connect with new audiences and increase representation of communities of color in the arts.

"We would like to thank the Knight Foundation for recognizing the power and necessity of the arts," said David R. Taylor, President & CEO of the Gantt Center. "[Knight is] taking an active role in providing equitable access to quality programming for everyone, particularly people of color. With these resources, we will be able to enhance offerings that better engage in-person audiences as well as those relegated to virtual experiences due to the pandemic. This includes children, families and patrons with distance or accessibility concerns."

Knight's investment will help the Gantt Center hire a technology team to produce digital experiences, virtual exhibitions and creative family programming. The use of digital strategies and platforms will allow the Gantt, which celebrates the contributions of Africans and African- Americans to American culture, to continue supporting equitable engagement across the local community through its Initiative for Equity + Innovation, a permanent strategy designed to build racial equality by using the arts as activism. Additionally, new digital productions and programming will assist the museum in building new audiences, community partnerships and donor connections.

"Technology is a powerful tool for cultural organizations to connect ideas to audiences, especially in a time when the pandemic has increased the physical distance between us," said Chris Barr, Knight's director of arts and tech innovation. "In Charlotte, Knight's support will allow existing organizations to explore a new chapter of creativity as they evolve to reach new audiences safely and effectively."

This latest example of Knight's commitment to Charlotte through the arts reinforces its belief in its power to strengthen communities by connecting people to place and to each other. And it has become evident that technology is playing a key role in helping artists find ways forward during the pandemic. These latest investments in Charlotte's artistic community will help the Gantt Center and four other local arts organizations provide inclusive opportunities for all.

The Other Arts Organizations Receiving Funding

  • Levine Museum of the New South - $600,000
  • Que-OS - $200,000
  • Queen City New Play Initiative - $100,000
  • JazzArts Charlotte - $250,000

About The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is a multi-disciplinary arts institution located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1974, the Gantt Center’s mission is to present, preserve and celebrate excellence in the art, history and culture of African-Americans and those of African descent through visual and literary arts, dance music, film, educational programs, theatre productions and community outreach. For more information about the Gantt Center, visit ganttcenter.org.

About The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2020

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