Dear Friend,

Forty years ago, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the first Afro-American Cultural Center festival held in Marshall Park. I have personally witnessed the move from the park to Spirit Square, to our home in the Old Little Rock Church, and present home in the Harvey B. Gantt Center. Dr. King would say, "We're on the move now." The Center has been the fulcrum around which my life moves; the church and education are the other two. So, as we commemorate Philanthropy Month, I recall the days of great expectations in the midst of struggle, and recall events from sock-hops to the first Jazzy Christmas. Jazzy was our first major annual fundraiser, chaired by Mrs. Vivian Williams in 1979. This December will be the 35th Jazzy Celebration. It continues to be a labor of love shared by many. Individuals, corporations, community groups, and friends unite to generate funds for the Center, while celebrating the Christmas season in Charlotte.

We must acknowledge that great civilizations have produced great cultural traditions and artifacts. Greatness demonstrates a society is more than its many parts and at no better place is supreme goodness captured and displayed than through its cultural symbols such as art, drama, dance and music. Philanthropy, the giving of self, wealth, time, energy, enables the capture, presentation, and preservation of individual and communal life of a culture- and assures its presence for current and civilizations awaiting birth.

Forty years is not a long time in the history of civilizations, but it is time enough to capture and project the culture of a people in art, music, dance, drama, education. For we wander no longer in the wilderness; we are in the city. Build a city, build a community undergirded by the Gantt Center that will not forget its roots but claim those roots as the foundation of the best to come carefully designed, serenely envisioned, and unapologetically presented, preserved and promoted through philanthropy. Become one of the 1974 forty years later. Join and serve.

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The Gantt Center is located at Levine Center for the Arts and supported by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Arts & Science Council.

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Please direct questions or comments to Kris Cole, Development Manager at (704) 547-3781 or

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
at Levine Center for the Arts
551 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 547-3700