Creative Crossroads: Culture Initiative brings something new to NoDa | CLT Blog
Cultur Initiative's Show & Tell

Creative Crossroads: Culture Initiative brings something new to NoDa

Posted on 29 Jun 2009 by Desiree Kane

Cultural initiative's Show & Tell

photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

This is the third in a series titled “Creative Crossroads” — where we take a look at the current state of arts and creativity in the city.

NoDa is continuing to evolve and grow as the arts Mecca of Charlotte, and for good reason. Many artists, artisans, venue owners and patrons flock to the area when they desire creative festivities in Charlotte. In the flow of conversation when asked where the art/bohemian culture can be found around here, for many Charlotteans the answer is usually the same: go to NoDa. So, on recommendation by many, to NoDa I went for Culture Initiative’s Art Social, Show & Tell: An Eclectic Showcase of Sight and Sound on June 19 at the Neighborhood Theater.

Review and slideshow after the page break:

I have to say, the collective did a great job with great venue selection for this installment! A lot of blood, sweat, time, and tears were put into the visual displays, which was evident by the obvious careful selection and placement of the over 200 pieces of art on show. My favorite part was the ability to go home with art. After perusing the eclectic array of original artwork for purchase I was immediately drawn to John Pundt’s display where he was offering prints for free with the caveat that you must make a paper swan out of another of his prints in order to receive the one of your choosing. The approach was brilliant; he was having people make art of his art for art as the reward. It was this sort of thing that makes Culture Initiative events so drastically different. It really reflected back to me the type of environment NoDa has created for itself as well – Art is a gift to be shared. On June 19, art was gifted to me in the form of Show & Tell’s offering.

Cultur Initiative's Show & Tell

photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

The Neighborhood Theater was perfectly suited to host the culture festival. When I walked in the front doors not only were the Culture Initiative guys there to greet people entering, which I thought was a nice touch, I was taken aback by how colorful, alive and creative I felt after simply attending the event. Creativity begets more creativity and what was created Friday night was much like a living breathing thing. There was a flow that was evident between the art on canvas, the music on stage, the artists and the attendees enjoying taking it all in.

I left after having enjoyed live music by (most notably for me) The Hot Hot Heftones, speaking with artists, socializing, watching a couple get their portrait sketched, watching people make art to get art and purchasing some great prints feeling beside myself, my senses totally stimulated by where I had been for two and a half hours.

Creating a sense of inner creative potential seems to me like what Culture Initiative has been striving for all this time when they put on an event. This is also the same creative sense the NoDa area embodies. On any day of the week you can trek up North Davidson St. and expect to find one or more instances of collective creative energy in the form of things like a drum circle, artists sitting together sketching the people who pass, photographers having coffee or wine sharing tips of the trace, weekly knitting bees, Guerrilla Gardening meet-ups, freelancers attending #CLTJelly, etc.

The state of the ‘art scene’ in Charlotte is strengthening because of collectives like Culture Initiative and the community value such groups offer — drawing in consumers and generally uplifting positive creative endeavors. I suspect in a couple of years Charlotte will experience a true art culture renaissance, one that has already begun most recently with the rise in popularity of the North Davidson area within creative youth culture.

photos: James Willamor; view this slideshow on Flickr


  1. Joel Andrew Tracey 29 Jun 2009 at 11:34 AM

    Love the review, thank you. Is it possible to get the high res images emailed to me?

  2. Kara 29 Jun 2009 at 6:17 PM

    I was honored to display some of my work at the Show and Tell event. I thought the venue was chosen perfectly, and the artwork was very inspiring with some raw natural talent on display. The bands suited the evening, and I met some really great people as well. Very well organized and loved the variety of merchandise available for purchase. I am fairly new to displaying my work and networking with other artists because I’ve worked on the web for so many years, and this was the perfect start for me. I would support Culture Initiative and the Neighborhood Theatre 100 times again and will in the future. What a fabulous night!

  3. John Pundt 29 Jun 2009 at 6:51 PM

    The more the artists bond together the more formed the creative voice of Charlotte’s area will be. It is vibrant and moving steadily. I am honored to be invited to participate in helping with such a positive transition with good people. I will gladly trek from South Carolina joining in as much as i can and you know many other artists in the southeast region will start causing a snowball effect with diverse artistic inspiration.

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