Arts and Humanities

Carolina Performing Arts receives $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The largest grant the Mellon Foundation has invested in Carolina Performing Arts will bring together acclaimed artists, students, faculty researchers and community partners for multiyear artistic collaborations that explore scholarly themes.

Memorial Hall.
Exterior view of Memorial Hall on May 24, 2018, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Carolina Performing Arts will launch an initiative connecting the arts, scholarship and public service at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The initiative, Creative Futures, will bring together acclaimed artists, Carolina students, faculty researchers and community partners for multiyear artistic collaborations that explore scholarly themes such as free speech, women’s empowerment and community health.

Over the next four years, the $1.5 million investment from the Mellon Foundation will support four creative teams, each led by a participating artist. CPA is currently selecting the artists, whose areas of expertise range from choreography to writing to vocal performance.

Emil Kang, executive and artistic director for CPA and special assistant to the chancellor for the arts, said the grant will support UNC-Chapel Hill’s commitment to making art a fundamental part of the Carolina experience — a tenet of the University’s Arts Everywhere initiative.

“We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their partnership in helping us continue to imagine new goals and realize them,” Kang said. “With their continued leadership and support, CPA will launch a new model for work that leverages faculty engagement in communities through artistic creation.”

As students, faculty and community members connect through experiential art, Creative Futures will also build on the Arts Everywhere principle that the arts are for everyone.

“The ideas outlined in this grant are the distillation of a philosophical shift at our organization, which places primacy on the idea that the joining of the arts, scholarship, and community can be a driver of powerful change,” Kang said.

This grant builds on previous Mellon Foundation support for CPA’s Arts@TheCore and DisTIL fellowship programs.

“The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is pleased to support Carolina Performing Arts’ visionary approach,” said Mellon Foundation Senior Program Officer Dianne Harris. “With this experiment in co-creation, CPA will empower communities through opportunities for collective self-expression, enrich faculty research and teaching, deepen undergraduate investment in local communities, create bridges between the campus and its surrounding community and test a new working prototype for creative and performing artists.”