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Event Support Grant awarded to nine local organizations

Nov 29, 2023 02:01PM ● By WNC Business

ArtsAVL congratulates nine recipients of the City of Asheville’s Event Support Grant. Facilitated by ArtsAVL for the first time, the grant allows ArtsAVL to reimburse cultural and arts-related nonprofit events for certain City fees and charges.

Grants were distributed based on a competitive process to nonprofit organizations, which are eligible to receive financial support for events that are free and open to the public and permitted within Asheville’s streets, parks, and outdoor public spaces. The program’s goal is to preserve public arts and cultural programming within Asheville’s outdoor public spaces through the provision of financial assistance for community events that promote cultural heritage, diversity, and the creative arts.

“ArtsAVL provides a specialized perspective through its unique opportunity to reach and engage with our local arts community. That perspective fosters a sense of involvement and connection, contributing to a more inclusive and representative cultural landscape, while ensuring that events continue to thrive and enrich our community in the long term” says Jon Fillman, Community Event Manager for the City of Asheville. “ArtsAVL also contributes to the sustainability of the arts ecosystem in Asheville overall by supporting cultural initiatives including those benefiting from the City’s Event Support Grant.”

ArtsAVL is thrilled to announce the following grant recipients for fiscal year 2023-24:

Arts2People received a grant for their Surreal Sirkus Arts Festival, an all-day fair featuring music, circus arts, and a collaborative theatrical performance. The Surreal Sirkus will take place on October 26, 2024 in Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville. This year’s festival will also highlight Cherokee performers and acknowledge their history in the region and specifically Pack Square.

Asheville Downtown Association will use funds to support several initiatives: the Pritchard Park Arts and Culture Series, Downtown After 5, and Asheville Community Concert. The Pritchard Park Arts and Culture Series activates the park for 10 weeks during the summer through the weekly drum circle, Hoop and Flow Arts Jam, Summer of Science (with the Asheville Museum of Science), and a singer/songwriter series. Downtown After 5, an outdoor festival with music and arts programming and local food and drink, takes place on the third Friday monthly from April through September on Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville. The Community Concert, which will take place in November of 2024, brings a headlining North Carolina-based band to celebrate the musical contributions of the state’s musicians.

Asheville Mardi Gras will support their 17th annual Mardi Gras, taking place on February 11. The 2024 theme, “Secret Garden,” will be interpreted by a wide variety of “krewes,” including costumers, performers, and community participants. “Asheville Mardi Gras is growing, but we are still a volunteer-led organization,” shares Stephanie Kompathoum, Chair of the Board. “This support allows us to take care of some operational expenses like equipment and storage, so that we can focus on continuing to bring our fun, colorful, family-friendly, and free parade and Queen’s Ball to the streets of Asheville in the middle of winter.”

Asheville Symphony received funds for their Symphony in the Park concert, scheduled for September 7, 2024. This annual concert in downtown Asheville gives the community a chance to experience live symphonic music in a relaxed outdoor setting. The varied repertoire ranges from classical to musical theatre and cinematic hits. The program serves to integrate the Symphony holistically within the community, with emphasis on inclusion and accessibility.

Blue Ridge Pride Center will support the 2024 Blue Ridge Pride Festival in September. The daylong festival includes 200 local vendors, music, visual arts, drag performances, an Oral History display, a logo contest, and a Youth Zone with crafts, face painting, and more. The festival draws up to 17,000 attendees to Pack Square Park. The 2024 festival will also feature a greater number of vendors and performers of color than in years past.

Folk Heritage Committee will use funds to support production of Shindig on the Green, an outdoor concert featuring music, dance, and storytelling of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The 2024 Shindig on the Green (its 58th year in production) will take place weekly from July 10 to August 24. The multigenerational festival also brings together “hundreds of thousands of Asheville/Buncombe County residents as well as individuals from across the region and throughout the world have shared and enjoyed the rich traditional music, dance, and storytelling heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains in an admission-free and welcoming environment,” shares Linda Smathers, the Folk Heritage Committee’s corresponding secretary.

Hola Community Arts will support Hola Asheville, a festival showcasing art, culture, and rhythms of Latin America with programming that includes live music, vendors, artisans, and food. The one-day event is produced in June and celebrates and shares the Latin American heritage that is part of many Buncombe County residents’ lives and histories, as Latinos are the county’s largest minority group.

United Way will support their United for Youth Block Party, a partnership between Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, United Way of Asheville, Buncombe County, and local health, social service, higher education, and youth services community partners. The Block Party will take place close to the start of the ‘23-24 academic year, and will include youth dance crews, bands, singers, and poets. Youth will also perform important tasks related to setup and coverage, like photography.

YMI Cultural Center will use funds for the Goombay Festival, a 3-day event celebrating the rich and diverse experience of the people of the African diaspora. The YMI will hold its 42nd Goombay festival in downtown Asheville in early September. Performances include music, dance and performing arts, spoken word, and more, as well as special activities and areas for kids and youth.

“Asheville’s outdoor events and festivals are part of what makes our community so special,” Katie Cornell, ArtsAVL Executive Director. “They not only enrich our lives, but are also an important economic driver— creating job opportunities for artists, curators, technicians, event organizers, and other service providers. As the costs of events continue to rise, we are thrilled to be able to partner with the City of Asheville to provide this crucial support.”

Find more information about upcoming grants at

Source: ArtsAVL
Photo by Jim Donohoo Photography, courtesy of Asheville Downtown Association