Creating A New Day

img_1841It takes a village to raise a child, as the often-quoted Africa proverb reads. And The Arts Empowerment Project’s annual New Day Luncheon celebrates some of the many members of this village who support artistic opportunity for children in our community.

This year’s New Day Luncheon honorees include PNC Bank; Lelia Smallwood, from the YWCA of the Central Carolinas; and artist Rosalia Torres-Weiner. The event at Charlotte’s Mint Museum was nearly twice as large as last year’s; a humbling and inspiring testament to the impact the program is making.

“We are so very grateful to our very wonderful sponsors, donors and supporters for making our second annual New Day Luncheon a huge success,” said Natalie Frazier Allen, CEO and Founder of The Arts Empowerment Project.

See more luncheon photos here

Along with recognizing supporters and sponsors of the arts, the New Day Luncheon is a fundraising opportunity for the programs The Arts Empowerment Project provides and facilitates. This year, donors contributed nearly $50,000 toward the future of this work.

taep-2016-luncheon-52“The funding is critical,” said Lelia Smallwood, regional director for youth programs for the YWCA of the Central Carolinas, and one of this year’s New Day Luncheon honorees. “Fortunately, our community has so many artists and arts supporters who can take the lead in supporting these kinds of programs.”

Programs like Free Art Friday at the YWCA combine both the creative aspects of art and literacy to foster the missions of the YWCA and The Arts Empowerment Project.

Read Also: Free Art Friday at the YWCA

“It truly is a win-win for all of us,” added Ms. Smallwood. “We know that involvement in the arts does promote academic success.”

Smallwood says her “dream” would be to see programs like Free Art Friday expand to other YWCA branches in Mecklenburg and Union County.

Those dreams can only become a reality with the continued involvement of this village of sponsors and friends.

“Without the generosity of our supporters, we would not be able to fulfill or mission and reach the children and teens we serve… The Arts Empowerment Project is truly thankful!”

About The Arts Empowerment Project:

The Arts Empowerment Project was founded in 2011 by Natalie Frazier Allen, an attorney and child advocate in Charlotte and former Chief of the Domestic Violence Unit in Washington, D.C. The Arts Empowerment Project collaborates with lawyers, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Social Services, Guardians Ad Litem, and Mecklenburg County’s 26th Judicial District Court to make a difference in the lives of children affected by violence and abuse.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit:

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