skip to Main Content


JazzArts Charlotte Awarded and Recognized as a Southern Cultural Treasure by South Arts

Charlotte NC — July 6, 2022— JazzArts Charlotte is proud to be a recipient and member of South Arts’ inaugural cohort of Southern Cultural Treasures: a four-year initiative supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) -led and -serving arts and cultural organizations throughout the Southeast.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the Southern Cultural Treasures inaugural cohort,” said Lonnie Davis, CEO and Co-Founder of JazzArts Charlotte. “The generous multi-year support and connections provided by this program will help JazzArts to better execute our mission and purpose to utilize jazz as a tool to build new relationships and reach new audiences through more focused educational initiatives, quality performances and support for local artists.

This initial cohort is made up of 17 organizations that represent decades of BIPOC arts and community-driven stewardship throughout the nine-state region that includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  JazzArts Charlotte is thrilled to represent North Carolina in this effort, alongside our closest South Carolina cohort neighbors Colour of Music, Inc and Catawba Indian Nation.

“South Arts is honored to recognize and support these 17 organizations as Southern Cultural Treasures,” said Susie Surkamer, South Arts’ President and CEO. “These groups push the boundaries of creative expression, anchor their local communities, and advance the arts in our nine state region. Our hope is that this initiative, with the help of these organizations, will foster a more equitable art community throughout the Southeastern region.”

A significant goal of this program is “self-determined success”. The grant funding is general operating support, allowing each participating organization to define success and provide support that can be dedicated toward what will most impact their mission

As the cohort makes their assessments, training will be defined and geared toward what is most needed to meet their goals, with an eye toward capacity building. It will include professional development strategies such as marketing and communications, best practices towards accessibility, succession planning, plus other networking opportunities.

Through a vigorous application and interview process, JazzArts Charlotte along with these 17 nonprofits were chosen for their vital impact on their communities and helping to both define and preserve the uniqueness of the arts ecosystem in the region.  South Arts offers some of that detail for JazzArts Charlotte here.

“These organizations make up a dynamic representation not only of their region and their communities, but also the burgeoning desire to grow and serve the cultural landscape of the South,” said Joy Young, PhD South Arts’ Vice President of Programs. “Our duty at South Arts is to continue advocating for this kind of instrumental support, and we are confident that this cohort of Southern Cultural Treasures will help inspire these pursuits on a national scale.”

The program provides customized consultant services, networking, and knowledge sharing in combination with general operating grant funding, designed to be a measure of sustainable support.

South Arts’ Southern Cultural Treasures is supported by the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Infusion Fund, a partnership between the City of Charlotte, Foundation For The Carolinas and generous donors to support the arts and cultural sector, and the Zeist Foundation.

“Congratulations to JazzArts Charlotte on this major accomplishment,” said Priya Sircar, City of Charlotte’s arts and culture officer. “The City of Charlotte and our partners in the Infusion Fund are focused on equipping local arts groups with reliable resources and opportunities to position themselves for a stable future. JazzArts Charlotte’s participation in Southern Cultural Treasures is a perfect example of that work in action and signifies the quality and promise of Charlotte arts and culture on a regional and national level.”  Learn more about the City of Charlotte’s support of this initiative here.

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit

Don't Miss a Beat!

Sign up to receive news on shows, educational programs, and more.