NoDa NBA plans to help artists, small businesses with $150k grant

A grant from the city of Charlotte will help local artists and small businesses struggling with the impacts of COVID-19.

Countless artists have found themselves without work as gigs have been cancelled or postponed, or their work with small business customers cut as those very businesses attempt to stay afloat. On top of that, many artists’ second jobs in the service industry have been lost during the pandemic.

Small businesses are facing difficult times, as well, cutting or delaying everything from renovations to branding to marketing campaigns, which in turn lowers consumer awareness at a time they need it most.

In an effort to help mitigate this, the city awarded a Small Business Partner Support Grant of $150,000 to the NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association in July. The grant program is a $2 million fund to help small business partners, like nonprofits and academic organizations, that are focusing their efforts on COVID-19 impact relief.

The NoDa NBA plans to use the grant in three ways:

  • Placemaking: Create community-driven areas in public spaces that can help support small businesses, like outdoor dining in a right-of-way, a bandshell in a park with access for food trucks, a year-round Arts Market, and a sidewalk/street shopping promenade.
  • Marketing and branding campaigns: Use screen printers, graphic designers, digital and other artists to design Open for Business campaigns for small businesses that are struggling to market and brand amid COVID-19, with goods like posters, T-shirts, and other promotional items.
  • COVID-19 hygiene art up: Use artists to design creative focused on hygiene awareness amid COVID-19, like art on businesses’ hand sanitizer stations and hand wash signs, in a way that’s on-brand for individual businesses and shows commitment to consumers’ health and safety.

“COVID-19 has had a major impact on Charlotte businesses and artists. As Charlotte’s arts district, NoDa saw an opportunity to support both (businesses and artists) through the city’s Small Business Partner Support Grant,” said Jacob Horr, president of the NoDa NBA. “Artists and art make up a huge piece of NoDa and it is critical that we support them during this pandemic. We are extremely excited about the impact that we are going to make within NoDa and Charlotte.”

The NBA hopes to complete 24 projects (four in the placemaking category, 12 marketing and branding campaigns, and eight hygiene art ups), putting 20 to 24 artists back to work, assisting 20 to 24 businesses, and serving four to five neighborhoods with more than 100 businesses impacted. Two-thirds of funds will go directly to artists for their work and the remaining one-third will go to supplies.

The NBA is canvassing local businesses for the project through mid-August, and will send out artist RFPs and interview applicants in August and September. The projects will be planned and executed between September and December. If you’re interested in participating or learning more, reach out to