Mark Peres

Mark Peres
Celebrator of the creative class

Mark Peres Celebrator of the creative class

Celebrator of the creative class

Six years ago, relative newcomer Mark Peres saw a void in Charlotte. There was no outlet, he thought, that celebrated artistic expression and sought to elevate the discourse. So he created one. Charlotte ViewPoint started as a modest, digital magazine with original essays, poetry, and photography. The first issue went to friends and neighbors. Within a few months, top local leaders were contributing columns alongside brand-new voices. And Peres knew he was on to something.

"If we could tap into the talent of everyday citizens and share it through the Internet," he says, "then we could have ideas about the city flow bottom-up as opposed to the traditional way it happened in Charlotte, which is top-down."

Now, it's a full-fledged nonprofit with a Web site (charlotteviewpoint.org) and a board of directors. Peres, an assistant professor at Johnson & Wales, thinks that for Charlotte to achieve its potential "as the next great livable American city," it needs a healthier cultural climate. That's where he thinks Charlotte ViewPoint can help.

"When I think of cities like Boston and Paris and New York and San Francisco and Chicago, these are all hotbeds of creative production. Original work is produced there. And it's not because they're smarter than us; it's not because the people there have any different DNA than us. It's that they've created a culture where that is valued and celebrated and rewarded."

"You do it by calling attention to Charlotte's creativity and lifting up individuals who are willing to swim against the stream, to be different, to fail, and to be odd. It requires a social system that protects people from being odd, and we don't quite have that yet."

"When actors can make a living as actors, when writers can make a living as writers, filmmakers can make a living as filmmakers, that's a point of arrival. Until we're at that point, we haven't professionalized those services. They're still in the realm of amateur services."

"Charlotte will become notable and significant when it is a hub of innovation—just as Nashville and Austin is for music, Raleigh and San Jose is for entrepreneurs, Hollywood is for movies, New York is for everything. Charlotte innovated in the '70s and '80s, revolutionizing regional and national banking. Perhaps our new hubs of innovation will be energy and medicine. If so, we have a bright future."  

Big Idea

"The broader mission has been to speak to where the region is and where it is going, appreciating that Charlotte may not fully realize its own creative strengths and talents. We're consumers of art and culture; we haven't matured yet to become producers of it. So we seek to be incubators of citizens who are producing, as opposed to simply consuming."

 



More »Related Stories

50 Things Every Charlottean Should Do

The Story of Charlotte, Part 4: Whistles to War

Charlotte’s fight for the railroad, and the bigger battles that follow

Period.

The man who writes obituaries, the people who hire him, and what we learn from our last words

Around Town: Matthews

Fresh food, fresh faces, and an old way of life preserved

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:

Newsletters

Stay up-to-date on all things Charlotte by siging up for our newsletters. Learn more by clicking here.

Blogs »


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

The First Step Toward Same-Sex Marriage in North Carolina

A Very Large Array of political stories, including a step toward same-sex marriage and a Republican mayor's march on Washington against his own party.

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

Trailer Released for Charlotte-Filmed Tusk

Comments


Dusk Till Dawn

Jarvis Holliday Chronicles Charlotte's Nightlife and Social Scene, Straight No Chaser

The Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Hot List of (Recurring) Social Events in Charlotte

Sometimes you want to “go out” early in the week, and you need a cool and happening place to go on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday evening/night in Charlotte.

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Corn Season

Farmers markets are gearing up for the influx of corn - arguably the most go-to summer side

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Charlotte Quilt Week

With more than 450 quilts and dozens of workshops, this event is a must-do for quilters and admirers

Comments