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The Jazzy Holiday Gala

Charlotte Convention Center
Individual tickets $250
This program is sold out
  • About This Program

    Keep Cool.

    cool•ness noun | an aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style which is generally admired

    For 43 years, the Gantt Center has kept cool. Preserving and presenting facets of blackness has remained central to our mission. This year at Jazzy, we’ll celebrate the ineffable style and aesthetic known as Black Cool and you’re invited!

    About The Jazzy Holiday Gala

    You are invited to the Jazzy Holiday Gala, presented by Bank of America to benefit the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture. Jazzy 2017 is a black-tie affair and major fundraising event that held at the Charlotte Convention Center on Saturday, December 2 at 6:00 pm.

    Participate in a proud tradition and be our guest for an evening of generosity, community and fun. You’ll enjoy networking, cocktails, musical performances by Trumpet Mafia, dinner, dancing and presentations of the 2017 Spirit of the Center Awards. Read about our luminary award recipients below.

    All Jazzy inquiries should be directed to Mark Garrison at or (704) 547-3781.

    New This Year...

    Trumpet Mafia • Jazzy will take place in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center, which has entrances near NASCAR Hall of Fame.

    • Featured music by Trumpet Mafia, the showstopping New Orleans-based band led by Ashlin Parker, a Charlotte native and graduate of Northwest School of the Arts.

    Don’t miss what’s set to become the largest Jazzy gala yet, with over 800 guests expected. Come chill at Jazzy!

    Cocktail reception

    Jazzy Holiday Gala Raffle

    Win a Cool Experience! We've gathered eight raffle opportunities that will help you Keep Cool. Click here to learn more and see the exciting experiences.

    More About The Raffle

    2017 Spirit of the Center Award Recipients
    (Click to read more about each award recipient)


    Ferguson Chambers & Sumter, P.A.
    Esteemed Charlotte-based law firm which has earned an international reputation for affirming civil rights for almost 50 years

    Ferguson Chambers & Sumter, P.A.

    Geraldine Sumter and James E. Ferguson, II
    Geraldine Sumter and James E. Ferguson, II

    In 1968, Julius L. Chambers invited his associates, James E. Ferguson, II, Adam Stein, and James E. Lanning, to join him to form a law firm. That firm, Chambers Stein Ferguson and Lanning, now Ferguson Chambers and Sumter, P.A., has from that date through the present held its primary mission -- the provision of legal services with an eye toward obtaining equal opportunity and justice for all people.

    Julius L. Chambers
    The late Julius L. Chambers

    The firm's work has concentrated in civil rights—voting rights, school desegregation, employment discrimination, economic development, education and teacher rights, students' rights, police misconduct and other constitutional violations by government officials. Ferguson Chambers & Sumter, P.A. has amassed a state, national and international reputation for its work in civil rights as well as medical negligence and personal injury. Its lawyers traditionally have been active in local, state, national and internationally organizations which pursue similar goals.

    More About Ferguson Chambers & Sumter, P.A.

    ARTICLE: Civil Rights Champion James Ferguson Earns Luminary Award

    The Arts

    Charles Farrar
    A world-class artisan who through woodturning produces finely crafted bowls and vases, prized by museums and art collectors

    Charles Farrar

    Charles Farrar
    Charles Farrar

    Charles Farrar is an acclaimed studio artist who has exhibited and demonstrated his turned wood art around the country. Farrar grew up in southern Virginia and earned a degree in Business from Virginia State University. He holds certification in religious and philosophical studies as well as a graduate degree from Lambeth Palace in London.

    Farrar, who regularly teaches at Arrowmont School of Arts and Craftsin Tennessee and the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, retired from corporate life in 1995 to pursue his long-time passion of creating turned wood art. His work is held in the private collections of former Essence magazine editor Susan Taylor, actress Debbie Allen, retired General Wesley Clark, and the John & Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art. It is also featured in corporate and museum collections such as Bank of America; the David Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles; Danville Museum of Fine Art; Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture; The White House Collection; the Archbishop of Canterbury; and is held on permanent loan at the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar by the U.S. State Department.

    In 2016, Farrar curated the exquisite Shaping the Vessel exhibition of twenty-four works presented by the Harvey B. Gantt Center. The exhibition successfully toured at the Charles Wright Museum in Detroit, Michigan in 2017.

    More About Charles Farrar

    VIDEO: Charles Farrar at the Charlotte's Fine Arts Exhibition


    Philip Freelon
    Renowned architect of the Gantt Center and numerous cultural institutions, most recently the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

    Philip Freelon

    Philip Freelon
    Philip Freelon

    Known for imaginative design and thoughtful collaboration, Phil Freelon practices architecture that engages the community and enhances opportunities for interaction and learning. His design achievements include cultural, civic, and academic buildings produced for some of United States' most respected institutions.

    As Managing and Design Director of the North Carolina practice of Perkins+Will, he leads the company’s Durham and Charlotte offices, and serves on the firm’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Prior to joining Perkins+Will, he was founder and CEO of The Freelon Group.

    Freelon’s recent and current achievements include serving as lead architect and directing the Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smith Group team for the highly-acclaimed National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall. He is also the design architect for award-winning museum and cultural projects including the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, Emancipation Park in Houston, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore. His library, education, and civic design projects include facilities in Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Durham, North Carolina.

    Freelon, a native of Philadelphia, earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree in Architecture from North Carolina State University and a Master of Architecture degree from MIT, and completed a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He served as an adjunct faculty member at North Carolina State University's College of Design and lectured at major universities across the country. He is a longtime member of the faculty at MIT’s School of Architecture+Planning.

    Freelon’s work is regularly published in national design journals including Architect, Metropolis, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, and Contract magazine. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including: Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, recipient of the AIA North Carolina's Gold Medal, President Obama appointee to the United States Commission of Fine Arts and recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.

    More About Philip Freelon

    VIDEO: Phil Freelon: Community Builder

    VIDEO: Turning Ideas Into Reality: Phil Freelon at TEDxRaleigh 2012

    ARTICLE: Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is Philip Freelon's commission of a lifetime

    ARTICLE: AD Speaks With the Most Accomplished African-American Architect Living Today

    Photo Highlights
    (Click to view photo galleries / video)

    2016 Photo Gallery
      2015 Photo Gallery
      2014 Video

    2017 Host Committee

    See full committee list

    Yele Aluko MD, MBA, FSCAI (Co-Chair)
    Chief Medical Officer
    Americas Advisory Health Sector
    Ernst & Young

    Tim Atwell
    SVP, Technology Executive
    Bank of America

    Evette Beckett-Tuggle
    Managing Principal
    The Agilant Group, LLC

    James H. Caldwell
    Partner, Regulatory & Capital Markets Consulting

    Victor Fields
    EVP & Chief Financial Officer
    Cardinal Innovation Healthcare Solution

    Alfred Glover

    Jerri Irby
    Assistant VP, Human Resources
    Carolina Healthcare

    Josh Lanning
    Moore & Van Allen PLLC

    Michael Parkins
    Sr. M&A Business Broker
    Gottesman Company

    Michael Todd
    T Michael Todd Law Office

    Victor Vines
    Vines Architecture Inc.

    Darrel J. Williams, FAIA
    Neighboring Concepts


    Bertram Scott (Co-Chair)
    Vice President
    Novant Health

    Shirley Houston-Aluko, MD (Co Chair)
    Medical Director
    Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness

    Ned Austin
    Crescent Communities

    Tonya Brandon, CCIM, RPA, LEED® AP
    Managing Director
    Global Workplace Solutions

    Keith W. Clark
    Senior Vice President
    The PNC Financial Services Group
    One Piedmont Center

    Herbert A. Gray
    Life Enhancement Services

    Kim Henderson
    Chief of Staff to CEO, President
    Novant Health Foundations

    Thaddeus Jones

    Raki R. McGregor
    Vice President
    Novant Health

    Mike Riley
    President and COO
    Novant Health

    Irina Toshkova
    New Gallery of Modern Art

    Eric Watson
    President & CEO
    Carolinas Minority Supplier Development Council

    Gala Sponsors

    Presenting Sponsor

    Diamond Sponsors

    Platinum Sponsors

    Gold Sponsors

    Silver Sponsors

    Presence. Vibrance. Social Justice.

    Why Your Support Matters

    In Charlotte, the Gantt Center keeps alive the arts, stories and achievements of Black Americans. Amid concerns about gentrification and erasure, tension around heritage and history, and divisions that threaten civility and safety, the Gantt Center is a refuge.

    Harvey Gantt and award recipientWe are a bridge. You strengthen us. It is through your generous support that we link Africa with the Americas, span the past and present — and transcend — the differences between and among us. Whether hosting Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the works of a local artist or a middle school field trip, nearly 365 days a year, the Gantt Center delivers educational programs, exhibitions and performances that assert the power, brilliance and resilience of those of the African diaspora.

    Gala attendeeOur presence in Charlotte tells important local and global stories. Your contributions make that possible. When founded in 1974 as the Afro-American Cultural and Service Center, we emerged from a backdrop of unrest and protest in Charlotte. Transformed in 2009, the Center helped cement the legacy of Charlotte’s first black mayor, Harvey B. Gantt, and also reclaimed an uptown block that was a part of Brooklyn, the once bustling black neighborhood destroyed during 1960s urban renewal.

    Stories that educate and inspire are kept and retold by the Gantt Center—in our origin, our location, our name, our architecture and our work, every single day. Each gift makes an impact because your support keeps alive insightful stories that generations must never forget.

    All Jazzy inquiries should be directed to Mark Garrison at or (704) 547-3781.

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