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JCSU Receives $975,000 grant from Mellon Foundation

Charlotte, N.C. (January 24, 2014) – Johnson C. Smith University has received a $975,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support faculty development and expand the curriculum in the Department of Visual, Performing and Communication Arts.

The new funding will also support a Mellon Early Career Faculty Development Program for technology and new media, an emerging scholars lecture series and a collaborative research initiative, according Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

 Over the next three years, the grant will enable the university to further develop its innovative curriculum in studio art, graphic art, film, dance and theatre by increasing the number of faculty in dance, adding a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance and a full-time faculty member in technical theatre.

The foundation initially helped raise the prominence of visual and performing arts at Johnson C. Smith University in 2008 by establishing an interdisciplinary degree in visual and performing arts with five concentrations. Recent Department of Education studies suggest interdisciplinary instruction currently is valued among employers.

Since its introduction, student interest in the visual and performing arts program at JCSU has grown significantly - from 13 to 50 students. “The continued support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation takes us a step closer toward growing each concentration into its own major degree program,” said Pinkard.

One of the most visible components of the program, the JCSU Arts Factory, opened on West Trade Street in 2010. The teaching facility for visual and performing arts is also home to the Black Box Theatre, which presents performances open to the public. 

About Johnson C. Smith University

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, close-knit urban university located in Charlotte, N.C. It has a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in ways that empower tomorrow’s diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders. Offering 22 fields of study to more than 1,300 students from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds, the university’s excellent academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility. For more information about JCSU, visit or follow the university on social media sites Facebook , TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

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