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North Carolina Arts Council | Art Matters
In this issue | September 2022
  • Arts Council leadership out and about
  • Poetry Out Loud registration is open
  • N.C. African American Heritage Commission calls for artists
The North Carolina Arts Council is proud to announce the largest number of grants we have ever made: 584 awards totaling more than $15.8 million dollars. They support organizations in the following categories: Spark the Arts, the Grassroots Arts Program, Organization Support, State Arts Resources, Statewide Service Organizations, Traditional Arts Programs for Students (TAPS), Arts in Education Artist Residencies, and Technical Assistance. These dollars will offer continued support for our state’s arts sector as we continue to recover from the pandemic.

We’d like to extend a huge shout-out to everyone on the North Carolina Arts Council staff who made this record-setting grant cycle happen, with thoughtful community engagement and constituent support provided throughout the process. 

Keep an eye out for news of the exciting and important work these organizations will be doing with these funds.
Arts Council leadership out and about
A travel map of with the destination pin drop of North Carolina, and a North Carolina Arts Council branded notebook of Field Notes documenting constituent visits from members of the agency
Executive Director Jeff Bell traveled to western North Carolina last month and spent time with many of our constituents in the region. In Asheville, he attended Arts North Carolina’s board meeting, visited the western office of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and toured Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. He also stopped by the Madison County Arts Council to see one of our smART Community initiative murals and visited the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Read more about his trip in the first installment of our new series, “Field Notes,” on the Arts Across NC blog.
Jahlessa Phelps and Dr. Tamara Holmes Brothers
Jahlessa Phelps (L) and Dr. Tamara Holmes Brothers (R). Dr. Brothers's mentee, Jahlessa Phelps, spent her DIAL internship this past summer at the Community Music School in Raleigh. As the assistant program director of the school’s music camp, Jahlessa gained experience in grant writing.
This summer, Deputy Director Dr. Tamara Brothers served as a mentor for the DIAL internship program hosted by United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. For the first time, Wake County joined five other communities across the country to support college students with backgrounds historically underrepresented in arts leadership. The 10-week paid internship was designed to give students hands-on experience that will be applicable to their careers, as well as access to a network of leaders in different arts sectors.
Poetry Out Loud registration is open
Poetry Out Loud
Poetry Out Loud is a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and is hosted in North Carolina by Triad Stage, in Greensboro. The program encourages high-school students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation, which helps them master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Students have the opportunity to compete at classroom, school, district, state, and national levels.

Teachers interested in recruiting their students for participation in this year’s Poetry Out Loud program can register on this Google Form.
N.C. African American Heritage Commission calls for artists
Africa to Carolina project logo: a graphic of in the shape of the continent of Africa, with the outline of the state of North Carolina embedded within Africa
The Commission and its partner, the North Carolina Museum of Art, are seeking a community-engaged artist for Africa to Carolina, a project that is among other semifinalists that the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is considering for funding as part of its Inclusive Public Art Initiative. The artist will collaborate with communities to design a public art piece commemorating the lives and lasting legacies of those who disembarked onto North Carolina’s coastal shores from ships that had carried them from the African continent as part of the global slave trade.

The artist application deadline is October 7. You can find more information about the project and apply at
In case you missed it
Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off on September 15
Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed September 15–October 15 Hispanic Heritage Month, to honor and celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of the Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx communities across North Carolina. This year’s theme is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated between September 15 and October 15 because, during this period, seven Latin American countries celebrate the day of their independence from their colonizers.
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Diamante Arts & Cultural Center celebrated 25 years of service 
Diamante’s mission is the preservation, development, and promotion of the culture, heritage, and artistic expressions of the diverse Latino and Hispanic community of our state. Based in Raleigh, the organization is the oldest of its kind in North Carolina. We spoke with Lizette Cruz Watko, Diamante’s founder and executive director, and Peter Marin, a teaching artist and Diamante's curator of exhibitions, about the significance of this anniversary, the important work that Diamante does for its community, and what we can expect from the organization in the future. 
Diamante Arts & Cultural Center Celebrates 25 Years of Service
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Applications are still open for many regional Artist Support Grants
The Artist Support Grant program, funded by the North Carolina Arts Council, is an opportunity for regional consortia of local arts councils to award project grants to artists in 18 regions across the state. These grants will fund the professional and artistic development of emerging, midcareer, and established artists so they can enhance their skills and abilities to create work or improve their business operations and capacity to bring their work to new audiences.

We put together an FAQ post on the Arts Across NC blog that will answer all your questions about this grant. Check it out at
In the news
We send condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Brian Horton, who died on September 15. Dr. Horton received one of the Arts Council’s 2020 Artist Fellowships and served as the director of North Carolina Central University’s Jazz Studies program and the NCCU Jazz Ensemble.
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North Carolina was well represented at the 74th Emmy Awards, with Durham’s Matt and Ross Duffer earning multiple nominations for their series, Stranger Things; Winston-Salem native Jerrod Carmichael earning three nominations; and Raleigh’s Ariana DeBose presenting an award.
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Raleigh Arts announced their 2022 Raleigh Medal of Arts awardees. A ceremony celebrating the awardees will be held on October 20, 2022, at Theatre in the Park in Raleigh, N.C.
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Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
North Carolina Arts Council
109 East Jones St.
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