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Jerry Kirk

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Weird Charlotte: Are you originally from Charlotte, or did you come here from somewhere else? If you came here from somewhere else, where was that, when did you land here, and why?

Jerry: I came to Charlotte in 1991 with my wife, Lisa, from Plattsburgh, New York, after a 4 year stint in the Air Force. I'm originally from Falls Church, VA. I came to Charlotte seeking an art scene that I could become part of and, although there wasn't much of one at the time, I was still welcomed and quickly became a fixture.

WC: Of all you've contributed to the cultural fabric of Charlotte, what are some of your personal favorites?

Jerry: I'm very proud of being one of the original founding fathers of NoDa. I was one of the early artists to help support the first galleries to follow Center of the Earth back in 1991 – Absinthe and Acanthus, which later became 23 Studio and Wrightnow Gallery. I also produced a video about the evolution of NoDa which aired on local cable TV stations, and I'm a founding member of Charlotte's legendary Eclipse Art Group, which supported many local charities through silent auctions at our exhibits.

WC: What strengthens your dedication to do what you do, in spite of the fact that Charlotte has not yet developed a critical mass of creatively-attuned people?

Jerry: I'm an artist and that's all I know to do. It's less dedication and more necessity. I've chosen Charlotte as my home, and despite it's many flaws I do believe that the city will continue to grow and so will support for the arts. I have to believe that.

WC: What sometimes discourages you about Charlotte and makes you dream of living somewhere else? And where would that somewhere else be?

Jerry: The lack of support for local artists by Charlotte's galleries discourages me. Most prefer to welcome artists from other cities instead of reaching out to the amazing pool of talent we have here. Also very disheartening is the gentrification of NoDa and its failure to live up to the early promise of becoming the centerpiece to Charlotte's art scene. My family and I dream of living in the mountains of Western NC and in fact have a plan to move there in the not-to-distant future.

WC: What would help make Charlotte a more vibrant cultural city?

Jerry: Better support of all the arts from the public. More alternative publications devoted to the arts. The opening of more non-mainstream, alternative art galleries. (More? Are there any?)

WC: What can we do right now to make Charlotte a more vibrant cultural city?

Jerry: Support each other as artists by helping spread the word via emails, websites, word-of-mouth, any means possible on any openings, shows, exhibits, etc. that are upcoming. Awareness by local citizens about what cultural choices are available is imperative.

WC: Let's say there's some creative person out there who's considering moving to Charlotte. If you could say one thing to them, what would it be?

Jerry: Please, come on down. We can use all the help we can get. Just be aware that you face an uphill struggle.