Thursday, August 25, 2011

Looking for cultural chemistry

Critical Mass may sound like it should stand atop a column devoted to the Catholic church, so I'll start with a confession: The name is actually a hand-me-down from a friend in another town who decided he didn't want it himself.

No matter where it comes from, the name works perfectly for Charlotte. The city has worked for decades - at least since the Arts & Science Council issued its 25-year master plan in 1976 - to set off a cultural explosion. Charlotte prides itself now on starting into its second 25-year plan with the opening of the Levine Center for the Arts uptown.

Does that mean the arts boom is upon us? Well, think about the unheralded milestone coming up: This season will be the 10th anniversary of the Charlotte Symphony's last season with a balanced budget. Since then, while the orchestra has managed to keep playing, a series of other cultural groups - beginning with Charlotte Repertory Theatre - have gone under.

So it looks like the arts community is still looking for the fuel it needs. You have to give people credit for sticking with it, though.

A while back, leaders of Charlotte Chamber Music filled me in on their coming season. They had wanted to include Schubert's "Trout" Quintet, one of the most beloved chamber works there is, but it wasn't an option. There wasn't room at the First Presbyterian Church to put four string players next to a piano.

So the group is on a quest to find a new place to go someday - part of a master plan of their own. We'll come back too that soon.


Mark said...

Charlotte has made strides in the classical music scene, but it has a way to go as well. I am grateful for WDAV, Jonathan Martin, and Warren-Greene. Big steps.

Anonymous said...

Arts & Science Council

So where is the Science or are they only concerned with mindless entertainment?