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The Gantt Center's Initiative for Equity + Innovation leverages the Gantt's art exhibitions, programs and its relationships with the community to help close the cultural divide. Our vision is to develop sustainable ways to promote diversity, inclusion and equity across the community—particularly throughout K-12 education systems. We created Envision Me to solidify our stance on culturally relevant K-12 educational programming and address the call for action towards equity in education.
EnVision Me is a longitudinal School Partnership Program created by the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture. Structured as a collaborative community model involving Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Envision Me seeks to cultivate student creativity by designing culturally rich, project-oriented experiences that support learning through Visual Teaching Strategies (VTS) and across the curriculum.
The pilot phase of the program launches in 2021 in partnership with Marie G. Davis K-8 School, with a focus on 6th thru 8th grade. The program will expand to serve additional schools in the coming years. Students will learn to examine, discuss, and create works of art that explore culturally relevant topics that impact themselves and their communities. Hands-on collaborative activities and reflective discussions will be facilitated by a professional teaching artist-in-residence, over a six-week period.
EnVision Me aims to:
- Build cultural awareness and understanding of community
- Provide students with a platform for self-discovery and confidence building
- Use the creative process as a foundation for idea formation & articulation
- Increase student's awareness of visual literacy
- Help students develop critical thinking skills
About The Teaching Artist
E. Mackey is a director, cinematographer, and editor from Miami, FL. Beginning his career in 2002, he first found notoriety as a rapper, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. His experience in the music and fashion industries have afforded him the opportunity to work with various celebrities, while his business ventures have led to worldwide travel.
In 2012 he founded what would become Dope Heart Media Inc., a multimedia company that provided graphic design, photography, and video production to local businesses and individuals. By 2018 he had completed over 500 projects, traveled to 14 countries, and expanded his client list to some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Twitter, Google, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Remy Martin, Hennessy, and many more.
Mackey decided to pursue a career in film and earned a Master’s of Fine Arts, in Film Production, from Full Sail University where he graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Not long after graduation, he would go on to create Blvck Spades, a lifestyle brand that is most known for its luxury spades decks and premium products.
Always the creator, he is currently promoting his third book, "Lift Every Voice", a photo history book that chronicles the Black experience in America from slavery to present day.
Follow E. Mackey on Instagram @EMackeyCreates.
How Can My School Participate?
The Gantt works at the district and school leadership level to identify schools that are ready participate in Envision Me. If you are a school principal interested in administering this program for your school, contact us at email@example.com to be added to our email list. Program participation information will be shared as it becomes available.
Phillip Johnson, Principal of Marie G. Davis says, "I would like [for my] students to understand that art goes beyond academics. It is important to know that when there is a high level of community support from parental involvement and partnership programs, it has a positive impact on students' academic, social and emotional needs. By doing so, it influences the school culture and shifts students' mindsets on ways that they can help support, not only their local community, but also community on a global scale."
Contributors & Supporters
Envision Me is made possible through a major financial contribution from the Oscar & Heide Groomes Family Trust.
"We support The Gantt Center because of our strong sense of social conscience and sense of duty to tackle inequality. Our belief in uplifting Black culture, our personal values and desire to leave a positive legacy is why we give."
- Oscar & Heide Groomes
About The Groomes
D. Oscar Groomes is a Metallurgical Engineer, Physicist and Materials Scientist by trade. He earned BS degrees at both Tougaloo College and Brown University and an MS from Carnegie-Mellon University before joining General Electric (GE) in 1984, then GE Plastics in 1988. Mr. Groomes has held positions as President of GE Plastics South America in Brazil, General Manager of the Polycarbonate Business in Europe, President of GE Specialty Chemicals and President and CEO of GE Rail Services in Chicago, Illinois. In 2004 he left GE to join Almatis, a privately held LBO, as Chief Executive Officer based in Frankfurt, Germany. Oscar retired from Almatis after its successful sale in December 2007. Oscar is currently consulting with Groomes Business Solutions providing growth and transformation strategies, and is a Managing Director at consulting group Arcadia International and is a frequent lecturer.
Heidemarie "Heide" Groomes utilizes her 25-year record of success in leadership to help organizations reach and sustain an innovative market position in a global arena. Proficient in German, Heide has led culturally diverse teams in Europe, China, Japan, Brazil and India. Her industry experience ranges from financial services to pharmaceuticals, plastics and specialty chemicals. From 2005 to 2007 she served as Chief Commercial Officer at Almatis GmbH in Frankfurt Germany, nearly doubling the business during her tenure. Prior to this, Heide spent 11 years at General Electric (GE), where she developed a medical market strategy that launched GE Plastics into new markets. Subsequently, Heide held sales and marketing positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mobil Plastics and PepsiCo. Heide is currently co-owner of Groomes Business Solutions with her husband Oscar, helping private equity firms from their vantage point as industry experts in the chemical and rail industries and serving as interim CEO and CCO roles for private equity-owned companies in transition.
Support is also provided by:
To learn more about making a financial contribution to support education equity, contact Alizá Diggs-Bailey, Vice President of Philanthropy + External Engagement at (704) 547-3739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.