Sometimes a rose grows out of the concrete, other times an entire garden can be sprouted from a single crack in the sidewalk. This is the case with the Charlotte art community, a web of life that reaches from the streets of NoDa to the University area. Throughout the previous months I have discovered this community, and have been accepted with open arms. A poet G. Yamazawa stated that “once you have a community, a network of support then you can begin to grow.” This series of images was taken across a period of months and locations, yet all of them encompass the same subject. The expression of humanity, through the medium known as art.

Word of Mouth

An open mic hosted by Dupp & Swat on alternating Wednesdays. Local artists come to perform and excite the crowd with soulful poetry. The creative studio is decorated with paintings of remixed pop culture icons and black royalty. Sir Abstraxxx serves as the M.C. of the night.


Copy of DSC_0056
A Poet Named Superman
Sir Abstraxxx
Uptown Ezy





CAB Open Mic

An event hosted by the UNC-Charlotte Campus Activities Board. This session was open to all students from different walks of life as the images will show. The M.C. for the night was G. Yamazawa, who entertained yet enlightened the crowd through his hip-hop infused lyrics. Both members from MERGE and SoulSpeak graced the microphone as well as first timers, like Francis (the last image in the set).




An open mic dedicated to love and Valentine’s day. This event was hosted by MERGE and the Nu Rho Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. On this night the audience was exposed to the various forms of sexual intimacy, emotional connection and the after-effects of heartbreak. Each poet coming to the stage to speak on the most essential human quality.


Dammit Fannie

A cultural explosion within the walls of Studio 1212. Every so often Dammit Wesley and Dj Fannie Mae open their doors to host a celebration of the black art within NC. The event was full of musicians, poets, painters, models and even a chef; proving that any form of art can be used to bring people together.




Zoo Crew


Youthful Records
Polar Pop the Diva


Dj Fannie Mae
Incognito the Band
Samuel L. Jackson depicted by Dammit Wesley

Rooted beneath the skyscrapers and streetlights is a seed that has sprouted. The tree of life is beginning to grow in Charlotte, as artists perfect their craft and follow personal mantras. Each day on instagram, twitter or facebook is another post dedicated to their passion; and in a city with limitless opportunity that passion can become permanent. You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the work of someone else, there’s enough wisdom in recognition. Art may be crafted by the hands of another but it is a reflection of your own soul.


As the orchard grows from the cracks within the concrete ask yourself, will you allow yourself to blossom with the rest of the garden?

~J. Varina




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