The Visual and Performing Arts Center (VAPA) was created in 2021 by ten anchor arts organizations (‘Founding Members’) in Charlotte NC to create a much–needed space for artists to create, practice, exhibit, and perform their respective arts. Due to COVID and the closing of Spirit Square to accommodate renovations and construction of the new Main Library, many of Charlottes most innovative and cherished arts organizations lost an essential space to teach classes, rehearse shows and perform. This group of artists, which included the McColl Center and Charlotte Ballet, worked with Mecklenburg County to identify an underused space in uptown that could be repurposed as an improvised arts center.
This group were inspired by similar artistic incubators in other cities that, once established, grew in popularity and were able to transform once-desolate areas of town into vibrant thriving hubs for business and tourism. The initial group of visual and performing artists combined their efforts, passions, expertise, drive, and commitment to create a collective that could facilitate a space for creativity, art, performance and community, an entity that would both serve Charlotte’s irrepressible artistic community and attract the general public and visitors alike to enjoy this vibrant space. Thus, VAPA was born.
VAPA artists are currently collaborating with Mecklenburg County leadership on the design of the space. VAPA proposes to create affordable studio and creation space on the second floor and lower levels of the building, with performance and exhibition spaces on the first floor. Our intention is that artists will be able to create and exhibit in the same building, and for performers to learn, rehearse and perform for an audience in the facility as well.
The VAPA Center Organization exemplifies the innovation and creativity that can result when a diverse group of people work together towards shared goals. Our Board of directors is an interdisciplinary group of people from various arts backgrounds, races, sexes, orientations, for-profit/non-profit status and organization size. Our collaborate efforts to form VAPA demonstrate how diversity serves not only the artistic community but the greater Charlotte community. We intend VAPA to be a model and an enticement to inspire others to come together in service to our community and to the arts for generations to come.
“The VAPA Center will cultivate accessible exhibition and creative work spaces to inspire and nurture the relationship between artists and the community.”
VAPA is committed to providing low-cost studio and exhibition space for the visual arts by raising funds via grants, individual donors, fundraising productions and festivals, Arts market days and sponsorships from local companies. Our intention is to cover our operational costs, any build-outs, arts scholarships, arts supplies, signage, marketing, security, and community service projects through the support of members, patrons, local governments and organizations, the City of Charlotte and other donors from the greater Community. We want to thank Mecklenburg County for supporting our efforts from the very beginning as a crucial supporter and landlord.