Art auction benefits org

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 18th Annual Art With Heart Auction will be held on Feb. 24, 7 p.m., at CenterStage NoDa, 2315 N. Davidson St.

The event showcases the work of national artists. Sales of their pieces will benefit Safe Alliance, providing critical funds to assist women and children in crisis. Attendees will be able to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer, music and wine pull. There will be both silent and live auctions from an array of offerings.

Emcee for the event will be WSOC-TV news anchor Erica Bryant. Wade Cantrell will serve as auctioneer.

Since its inception in 2000, Art With Heart has worked with galleries and artists, both locally and around the globe, to raise more than $1 million for Safe Alliance. Every dollar raised provides hope and healing to those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.

The annual Juried Art Competition, open to all artists to who donate original artwork to the auction, will be held during the event and is the centerpiece. Contributions in all media, which are available for viewing at Safe Alliance’s website, will be reviewed by juror Joni Purk of Charlotte Fine Art, who will announce the winner during the evening. The first place prize is a 75,000-mile voucher from American Airlines. All finalists will be recognized at the event.

Tickets are now available for $35/regular advance, $85/at the door and $50/bid from home and are available online.

This year’s featured galleries include Charlotte Fine Art, Shain Gallery, Allison Sprock Fine Art Gallery and Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art. The museum partner is Harvey B. Gantt Center.

Sponsors for the 2018 Art With Heart Auction include Bank of America, Angela Knight Designs, Art Aspects, ArtGuide, Beacon Partners, Charlotte Skin & Laser, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Darton Group, Deloitte, Ed & Agnes Weisiger, J. Sam’s, Johnson & Wales University, Leigh-Ann Sprock, Mary Claudia Pilon, Robert A. Metzger Family, The Keith Corporation, Theresa and Robert LaPlaca, TIAA, WSOC-TV, Tea Huneycutt, Inc. and Yelp.


‘Black Magic Brunch’ upcoming

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Black Magic Brunch series, launched by the Color of Change, will be held on Feb. 24, 12 p.m., at Central Piedmont Community College, The Harris Conference Center, 3216 CPCC Harris Campus Dr.

The organization is hosting Black Magic Brunches all across the country to bring Black people together to celebrate and discuss issues affecting its communities. Attendees can enjoy food, discussion and collective visioning.

“We need our collective work and commitment to our community to be visible in all aspects of our lives — our homes, our place of business, our schools, and places of worship,” organizers said.

RSVPs are required and can be made online at


Org seeks nominees

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Freedom Center for Social Justice is currently soliciting nominations for transgender individuals in the Greater Charlotte area whose work, activism and/or lives deserve to be uplifted and recognized.

The center will be celebrating transgender individuals in honor of Trans Day of Visibility, and want to offer three to five individuals custom care packages as a thank you for all of their efforts. The observance day is March 31.

Nominations are due by March 12 and forms are available online at

To offer an in-kind donation for care package materials (gift cards, self-care items, etc.), email Jamila Reddy at

Bishop Tonyia Rawls

In other news, center Founder and Executive Director Bishop Tonyia M. Rawls was sworn in on Jan. 27 as the inaugural chair of the recently established LGBTQ committee of the NC NAACP Executive Board. This appointment came as a result of several years of work that the NAACP has been doing toward LGBTQ inclusion, protections and advancement.

Bishop Rawls, together with organizers from the center, will be facilitating statewide trainings for local NAACP chapters on some of the tactics used by those who use sexual orientation and gender identity as a major wedge issue primarily during election cycles.

Rawls explained, “These upcoming elections will have one of the most significant impacts on rights protections and advances for LGBTQ people in N.C. in recent times. We are standing to help ensure that religious liberty for one does not turn into social oppression for another.” She continued, “All people are deserving of all the rights, benefits and protections that citizenship and residency bring.”


Group announces grant opportunity

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Winters Group, Inc. has announced the formation of Live Inclusively Actualized (LIA), the firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm. As part of the launch, The Winters Group will be accepting grant applications to fund programs that are aligned with the Live Inclusively Actualized mission.

“Live Inclusively Actualized is our intentional effort to create a world where barriers no longer exist, where humanity and difference is accepted and celebrated and where we truly experience and all do our part to actualize equity and inclusion,” said Winters’ President and Founder Mary-Frances Winters.

Formally branded as Live Inclusively Actualized, the group will base its CSR strategy on three areas of giving: grantmaking, volunteerism and probono and discounted services. It will partner with 501c3 organizations that serve historically marginalized communities and deliver programs that promote inclusion, equity and justice.

As part of its inaugural 2018 grant opportunity, The Winters Group is specifically requesting proposals from non-profit organizations that serve women and youth. “This is our way to give back to the world,” Winters said, “and support those organizations that are doing the much-needed work on the ground, every day in our communities. Giving back is just one way we can all live inclusively.” For more information on Live Inclusively Actualized and the 2018 grant opportunity, visit

To learn more about how you can Commit to #LiveInclusively in your home, workplace, and community, take the pledge at


PFLAG fundraiser donations sought

CONCORD/KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The Concord/Kannapolis Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays chapter is holding its annual Spring spaghetti dinner, silent auction and raffle fundraiser on April 7, 6 p.m., at McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Rd., in Concord. N.C.

An advocacy award will be presented during the evening. Entertainment will be provided by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte who will present a concert for the event.

The organization is seeking contributions for its raffle and auction. Those who wish to participate are asked to consider donating items such as certificates, gift cards or tangible items. Deadline for submissions is March 1.

Tickets are $12.50 and raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the event for $2 each or six for $10. Email Joan Gale to learn more or to purchase tickets at


Roller Girls open season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Roller Girls opened their 2018 season on Feb. 17 at the Grady Cole Center. The All-Stars faced off against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Roller Radicals from Pennsylvania, and the B-Dazzlers faced the Soul City Sirens from Georgia.

During the bout, fans were encouraged to seek out “Ask Me” girls who were available to answer questions about roller derby action, rules and players.

Fans can purchase tickets online at the Charlotte Roller Girls website, the Common Market or at the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall for  $12/adult and $7/child in advance and $16/adult and $9/child on the day of. Children 5 and under are admitted free.


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Share your news with us

Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBTQ issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBTQ rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.