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The Voice of the Black Community
Early Autumn Dresses,Code:hi2017

Arts and Entertainment

Arts & Science Council fellowship grants open creative community
Five recipients will earn $10,000
Published Wednesday, December 6, 2017 10:30 am
by Ashley Mahoney

OnQ Performing Arts founder and artistic director Quentin Talley earned the inaugural Arts & Science Council Creative Renewal Fellowship.

Finding balance between running a performing arts company and fostering creative pursuits would challenge most artists.

Quentin Talley continues to search for it. As founder of OnQ Performing Arts Inc., Charlotte’s first African American theater troupe and first black resident theater company at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Talley’s life is a balancing act.

“I’m still trying to figure it out, and when I figure it out, I will let you know,” he said, laughing. “Seriously though, it is a very delicate balancing act, because I am tied in so closely with OnQ, being the founder, but also wanting to do individual projects—it’s a very thin line between balancing my individual pursuits and the pursuits of the company. Sometimes they intertwine and overlap, but I’m still working that out to branch out both ways.”

A recipient of the inaugural Arts & Science Council Creative Renewal Fellowship, Talley and three other Charlotte-Mecklenburg creatives experienced the first wave of the program.

“It’s unlike any other grant that I’ve pursued before,” Talley said. “It was strictly for renewing your creative spirit. It wasn’t project based or organizational based. It was something that you’ve always wanted to do that was outside the realm of going toward a project. I don’t have to present a project or give a final performance.”

Talley received the fellowship for a performing artist, with the intention to pursue the evolution of jazz, R&B, soul and hip hop music as it pertains to black theater and its impact on culture in America (other recipients: Audrey Baran for dance, Annabel Manning for visual, Melissa Salpietra for film). Talley took his opportunity to New York, where he apprenticed with acclaimed jazz percussionist Warren Smith.

“I met Warren Smith in New York, and he has 50-year archive [of music],” Talley said. “I’ve been helping him to digitize it. That’s outside of your normal grant proposal. Without a grant like this I wouldn’t have been able to be in New York for a couple of months and help our Warren with the digital archives.”

Said ASC Vice President of Cultural and Community Investment Ryan Deal: “Q is at the top of his practice as a creative, and he has an irrefutable record of rigor around his pursuit of a creative practice. That is true of his reputation in Charlotte, but it also transcends Charlotte on a national reputation.
Traditional assistance or recognition rests with those just starting out or lifetime achievers, but ASC addressed the void for those in the midst of their journey.

“It really helped renew my creative spirit,” Talley said. “I was in New York for a couple of months in the summer, and I’ll be going back at the end of the year. Opportunities like that are invaluable to keep the creative juices flowing. Big ups to ASC for providing grants like that—especially for individual artists, because individual artists don’t always get the funding that companies sometimes get.”

Said Deal: “We’re seeking to support creative individuals in what we’re referring to as mid-career stage. ASC has a grant funding program called the Regional Artists Project Grant that primarily focuses on emerging talent, and then we offer an award called ASC Honors that acknowledges and celebrates lifetime achievement in the creative sector. The Creative Renewal Fellowship was positioned to lift up, celebrate and support those folks who are in the middle of their career as practicing professional creatives.”

ASC is accepting applications for the second round of recipients. Five creatives will receive $10,000. Applications must be submitted by Feb. 2, 2018.

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