Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation (CMCF) has awarded the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture a $10,000 grant for the KEEPING WATCH initiative, a three-year project led in partnership with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.

Working with historians, writers, artists, scientists and environmental experts, KEEPING WATCH is exploring three local environmental issues: plastic waste and recycling (KEEPING WATCH on PLASTICS, 2014), urban streams (KEEPING WATCH on CREEKS, 2015), and air quality and the value of trees (KEEPING WATCH on AIR, 2016).

Programming for KEEPING WATCH on PLASTICS began in March with the opening of “Sustain Me Baby” in the College of Arts + Architecture’s Projective Eye Gallery at UNC Charlotte Center City and “Is This Yours?,” a collection of public art installations in locations around Charlotte. Both exhibits are on view through Thursday, June 26.

Panel discussions, film screenings and a “Recycled Runway” fashion show were among this year’s events. Click here more information about KEEPING WATCH programs.

An affiliate of the Foundation for the Carolinas (FFTC), the CMCF supports initiatives that address local needs in the areas of children/youth, housing, workforce development, social capital and the environment. The CMCF has partnered with numerous organizations to help preserve the environment and improve the quality of life in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. Among significant CMCF-supported projects is the Carolina Thread Trail, a regional network of greenways and trails that links 15 counties.

“Foundation for the Carolinas is excited to support this important initiative,” said FFTC Executive Vice President Brian Collier. “We were attracted to the project because of the innovative way KEEPING WATCH uses the power of art to translate important environmental issues and concepts. The quality of the exhibits ensures that the initiative will create community dialogue. But, my real hope is that someone will take what they learn and use it as a catalyst for action.” 

Planning for the 2015 exhibitions and programs is well under way.

“This great support from Foundation for the Carolinas is pivotal for our KEEPING WATCH on CREEKS year,” said Crista Cammaroto, director of galleries for the College of Arts + Architecture. “It will allow us to begin placing art alongside the creeks, marking areas in a way that enhances the natural ebb and flow of the creeks, along with the history of the communities that have grown around them.”

In addition to Cammaroto, the KEEPING WATCH initiative is directed by Mary Newsom, associate director of urban and regional affairs at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, and independent curator June Lambla, Lambla artWORKS. It includes a broad alliance of diverse community partners and funders dedicated to engaging the public in issues about the natural environment.