North Carolina Arts Council - Art matters

November 3, 2020

In This Issue:

  • A Letter from the Director
  • Save the Date: BIPOC Arts Equity Forum
  • We're Hiring
  • Staff Updates

A Letter from the Director

Greetings to artists and advocates for the arts in North Carolina.
Today marks the culmination of a lengthy process by which Americans choose those who will represent our communities, our states, and our nation in government. If you have already made the effort to cast your ballot, thank you. If you have not yet voted, please go to the polls now so your voice can be heard. You can find your polling site here
This has been an historic year for our state and nation. The arts sector is responding to a global pandemic and to an urgent call for racial justice. I am inspired by the compassion, dedication, and service that I have witnessed from North Carolina artists and arts organizations during this time, and I am amazed by our network’s commitment to adapt and to endure in order to sustain the arts. My admiration extends to the staff of the North Carolina Arts Council, who have been resolute in their determination to marshal and distribute resources needed for our field to survive. 
The crises and challenges we face are far from over. Be assured that this agency will continue to advocate every day for our state’s arts sector. No matter where you live, we believe that your well-being and that of your community depend on the integration of the arts in everyday life.
Thank you for all that you do to enrich North Carolina through the arts. And make sure you vote!

Wayne Martin

Save the Date: BIPOC Arts Equity Forum

Earlier this year, we committed to learning about how disparities of race, class, and access stand in the way of our vision of arts for all. On Friday, November 20, from 2–4 p.m., we will host the BIPOC* Arts Equity Forum, a virtual event developed for North Carolina arts organizations of color. The forum is designed to help the Arts Council better understand and address racial and cultural inequities in our field. Because of limited capacity, attendance at this event is first come, first served only. Registration will open on Friday, November 6.
Follow our social media for updates @ Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Instagram

For questions about this program, please email our deputy director, Tamara Holmes Brothers, at or call her at 919.814.6526. For accessibility accommodations, please get in touch with our accessibility coordinator, Kathleen Collier, at or 919.814.6515.

*BIPOC is an acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

We're Hiring 

We are now accepting applications for a Theater and Literature Director who will promote writers, literary organizations, theater artists, and theater organizations through programs, resources, technical assistance, and partnerships. This position administers grant funds to literary and theater organizations, along with fellowships and residency programs for individual artists, and it oversees the Poet Laureate program. The Theater and Literature Director is part of our Artists & Organizations team.
Apply Now

Staff Updates 

We are pleased to welcome three people to the Arts Council’s staff, congratulate another on her new position here, and say farewell to another who will retire next month.
Karen TarkulichKaren Tarkulich is the new program administrator for our Artists & Organizations team. She has a bachelor’s degree in decision science from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in arts administration from Drexel University, where she wrote her thesis on the relationships among arts institutions, administrators, and activism. Before joining our staff, Karen worked in a wide range of arts organizations in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. She has worked with the Scrap Exchange’s outreach department, where she facilitated workshops for people of all ages, and at Music Maker Relief Foundation, where she assisted with fundraising. As the audience services coordinator at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, in Philadelphia, she oversaw both the front-of-house team and the volunteer program. As the studio art program coordinator at the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, she oversaw studio and community classes for children, teens, and adults. Karen is also a practicing artist, whose work primarily explores issues of identity and whiteness. Contact her at Welcome, Karen!

Joseph PerezJoseph Perez brings a strong knowledge of arts and education event planning and programming to his new role as program administrator for our A+ Schools team. In graduate school, he taught and facilitated physical and virtual global discussion classrooms connecting East Carolina University and 43 international universities. Joseph was responsible for the logistical and financial planning of two faculty-led study abroad trips to India, and he programmed youth events during his time with the town of Ayden’s Arts and Recreation department. His experience managing the logistical needs of multiple and diverse groups of educators and students, together with his passion for the arts, make him a great fit for A+ Schools. In his free time, he enjoys the study of Tibetan language and philosophy, writing, gardening, playing the mandolin, and spending time with his family. Contact him at Welcome, Joseph!

Sam GerweckIn July, Samuel Gerweck accepted a position as the special projects coordinator and content strategist for our Marketing & Communications team. Sam studied performing arts with a focus on vocal performance and music theory at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Before joining the North Carolina Arts Council in his new role, he was a key team member on the Come Hear North Carolina initiative and the 2019 Year of Music, serving as a content contributor, contract supervisor, and program facilitator. His work builds on his interest not only in highlighting the great variety of art in this state but also in understanding the people, places, and circumstances that influence its creation. Outside of his work with our agency, Sam enjoys playing and listening to music, exploring North Carolina’s natural beauty, and cooking a good meal. Contact him at Welcome, Sam!

Sandra DavidsonIn April, Sandra Davidson accepted a new position within the agency: content director. Sandra has a diverse background in media and content. She has bachelor’s of arts in political science and master’s degree in folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2015 she co-founded Bit & Grain, a documentary project about North Carolina, and She & Her, a southern feminist podcast and radio show that she produced and co-hosted for five years. She joined our staff in 2017 as the content strategist and produced the 50 for 50 project for our 50th Anniversary campaign. She directed content and developed programs for the Come Hear North Carolina campaign and co-hosted “Under One Roof,” a livestream benefit concert for North Carolina artists affected by the pandemic. She also hosts and produces our podcast, Arts Across NC. Sandra is passionate about photography, stories that bring people together, and her eight-year-old greyhound, Link. Contact her at Congratulations, Sandra!
Sharon HillOur final staff update is bittersweet. Sharon Hill, our arts in education director, will retire in December.
Sharon came to the North Carolina Arts Council with a wide range of experience in arts and arts education. She began her career as an art teacher and taught grades K–12 in eight states. She then had administrative positions—elementary arts consultant, director of arts education, and senior coordinator of arts education—in large urban and suburban school systems in Virginia and Arizona. Later, she taught visual arts, design, and arts education at Virginia Wesleyan College and Meredith College. At Meredith she was promoted to director of art education and director of gallery outreach, eventually serving as director of the art department. She was the first portfolio, admission, and recruiting coordinator for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison University prior to landing at the North Carolina Arts Council.
Sharon took on the role of Director of Arts in Education in 2014 with the goal of increasing and improving collaborative partnerships both within and outside of the agency. She has traveled to all 100 counties to meet with school, community, and local arts leaders to improve grant projects, engage new grantees, and train constituents on high-quality arts education practices. She has grown the Poetry Out Loud program to include diverse participants, judges, and performers. Within the agency, she has worked with her peers to integrate arts education into agency programs and initiatives; her goal is to create a citizenry that is well-taught in the arts. She also held roundtables for agency staff and artists, arts leaders, and grantees to improve arts programming and facilitate partnerships in the arts. These roundtables grew into a 2018 Arts in Education Symposium for midlevel arts education managers. With 120+ in attendance, the group learned about excellence in teaching artistry, grant application tips, arts integration, and more. During the past year, Sharon helped meet the needs of teaching artists who were drastically affected by the COVID-19 crisis through the bimonthly "Teaching Artist Tuesdays" series. This series, in partnership with North Carolina Central University, serves artists and teaching artists as they evolve to meet the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. Sharon’s philosophy of facilitative leadership is evident in the strong partnerships she established with universities, school districts, the leaders of professional organizations, and the staff of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. 

In Case You Missed It

  • The Arts Council’s visual arts director, Kathleen Collier, has been named the agency’s official accessibility coordinator. In that role, she will manage our Arts Accessibility grants and initiatives and serve as a resource for arts organizations and artists interested in learning more about professional development opportunities and resources related to accessibility. She recently participated in an Arts Access webinar about making online content accessible by seniors with memory loss. Watch that here. 
  • Carly Jones, director of the Arts and Organizations team, has been selected for South Arts and the Western States Arts Federation’s Emerging Leaders of Color initiative—a professional development program promoting representative leadership and equity in the arts.
  • Smithsonian Magazine recently published an article on “Hanging Tree Guitars,” a new book about the North Carolina artist Freeman Vines. Born and raised in Greene County, Vines has built guitars and sculptural works from found materials for 40 years. The book traces the story of a series of guitars and art pieces that Vines made from a tree once used in a lynching. Vines wrote the book with our folklife director, Zoe van Buren, and it features photographs by Timothy Duffy, of the Music Maker Relief Foundation.
  • Our Teaching Artist Tuesday workshop series continues. Developed in partnership with North Carolina Central University’s Teaching Artist Certificate Program, these workshops serve as a roadmap to the COVID-19 landscape for teaching artists. Explore the series and sign up for future courses here. 
  • Organization Support Grants are open to arts organizations that have received a direct grant from the N.C. Arts Council in the past five years. The program has a rolling deadline. Apply here

In The News

  • The N.C. Department of Commerce made many arts nonprofits eligible for the Mortgage Utility and Rent Relief Program, a new grant program that provides financial relief to business in industries that were closed due to COVID-19. Eligible arts organizations include museums, concert hall operators, live theater operators, performing arts center operators, dance studios, and botanical gardens. Grants are distributed on a first come, first served basis.
  • UNC School of the Arts alumnus Jonathan Majors stars in HBO’s critically acclaimed sci-fi series, “Lovecraft Country.” Read an interview with him here.  
  • North Carolina writer, scholar, and North Carolina Award for Literature recipient Anthony Abbott died on October 3. Abbott was a vital member of the North Carolina Writers Network and beloved member of the state’s literary community. 
  • Kennedi Carter, a Durham, N.C. photographer, photographed Beyoncé for the cover of the December issue of British Vogue. She is now the youngest cover photographer in the magazine's history. Read more about the shoot here.
  • Arts Day 2021 is slated for March 23–25. Produced by Arts North Carolina, Arts Day is an annual gathering that draws hundreds of North Carolinians together to learn, network, celebrate, and advocate for the arts. This year’s event will take place online.


November 10

Teaching Artist Tuesdays

November 20

BIPOC Arts Equity Forum

March 23–25
Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
North Carolina Arts Council 109 E Jones St Raleigh, NC 27601-1023 USA

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.