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North Carolina Arts Council | Art Matters
In this issue | June 2021
  • Introducing Spark the Arts
  • Governor Cooper reappoints Jaki Shelton Green N.C. poet laureate 
  • Behind the Boards: highlighting North Carolina hip-hop producers 
Introducing Spark the Arts
Spark the Arts NC
As our state and nation turn a corner in the pandemic, we are looking to the future. We know that North Carolina’s recovery from the pandemic depends on the arts, just as its endurance of it did. What would the past 15 months have looked like for you without books, music, and movies?
 
The songs we make and sing together, the dances we dance, the stories we see ourselves in on screens, canvases, or pages lift our spirits. They bring us together. They help us grow.
 
Vitality. Fellowship. Healing. These are the qualities the arts spark, and they are what North Carolina needs to rebuild its economy and emerge resiliently from the pandemic. This is why we’ve created Spark the Arts, a statewide campaign to inspire public participation in the arts across North Carolina.
LEARN MORE
Governor Cooper reappoints Jaki Shelton Green N.C. poet laureate 
Jaki Shelton Green
Last month Governor Roy Cooper announced that he would reappoint Jaki Shelton Green as North Carolina’s poet laureate.
 
“Jaki Shelton Green has a remarkable ability to connect with people from all walks of life through the literary arts,” Governor Cooper said. “I’m proud to reappoint Jaki and look forward to seeing her inspire more young poets and artists in this role.” 
 
Green is the first African American, and the third woman, to serve as the state’s ambassador for poetry and the spoken word. She began her tenure in 2018.
 
Read more about Jaki Shelton Green's accomplishments, work, and goals for her tenure as poet laureate here
LEARN MORE
Behind the Boards: highlighting North Carolina hip-hop producers
NC Producers contact sheet
From top left: D.R.U.G.S. BEATS, Imani Pressley, JermJuice, Kashif Norville, Khrysis. Bottom row from left: Millie Vaughn, Pelham and Junior, Pheonyx the Producer, Professor X, SoloSteeze.
Sonic architects. Vibe setters. Mood makers. Hip-hop producers are integral to the sound, success, and legacy of the genre. In her latest story for Come Hear NC, hip-hop scholar Kyesha Jennings introduces readers to a group of North Carolina hip-hop producers who are making their mark on the genre. 
READ MORE
In case you missed it
It’s official! June is Pride Month in North Carolina. Governor Cooper renewed the state’s commitment to making our state a safe, welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community to live and work. We know artists are in the vanguard of that effort, and to celebrate Pride Month we revisit this story about the Pinhook, an artist-owned venue in Durham that is an anchor for the city’s LGBTQ+ community.
 
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Our senior program director Carly Jones discussed the impact that artists are having on policy as they advance the movement toward equity in North Carolina with One Beat, an incubator for music-based social entrepreneurship.
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In April, our visual arts director and accessibility coordinator, Kathleen Collier, helped kick off the 2021 N.C. Film Forum Series by speaking about grant opportunities available for indie filmmakers. Presented by the Cucalorus Film Foundation and UNC-Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, this free monthly series explores emerging resources, trends, and developments relevant to N.C. filmmakers. Catch it the second Wednesday of each month on Zoom.

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The N.C. African American Heritage Commission recently published a list of Juneteenth events taking place across the state here. In honor of Juneteenth, numerous N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resource sites will feature events and tours about African American history and culture throughout the month of June.
In the news
In the news
Governing published a compelling story about the role the arts will play in helping the nation’s economy to recover from the pandemic. 
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Warren Wilson College received nearly $1 million from the Windgate Foundation to expand craft programming.
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The arts sector is a pillar of Ashe County’s economy and community identity. Education NC published a story about the county’s intentional investment in the arts and arts education here
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Arts Greensboro commissioned local artists to create an original song and video to celebrate the healing power of art. The results are moving. Watch now.
Dates to know
The arts are essential to North Carolina’s recovery. If you agree, consider supporting the North Carolina Arts Foundation today. 

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North Carolina Arts Council
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