Skip to Content Skip to Home

Jazzy Benefit Gala 2019

New Fall Date & Gala Event at the Gantt Center

Jazzy 2019, Saturday, October 26

This program is sold out

Jazzy 2019 commemorates the grand opening of our award-winning building a decade ago and marks a new era in our 45th year:

  • 45 years to celebrate
  • 45 gala hosts
  • 4.5 hours of art and more
  • 45 featured artists, culture keepers and performers

Please Note: This year's gala will take place at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (551 S. Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202)

Know Before You Go

We've created a small guide that contains all the details you need to know before you go to Jazzy 2019. Click here to download the Know Before You Go guide.

About Jazzy 2019

In proud celebration of our 45th anniversary, the Gantt Center will host the Jazzy Benefit Gala at our award-winning building at 551 South Tryon Street—bringing home this year’s elegant black-tie event to commemorate our grand opening a decade ago.

Jazzy 2019 is set for Saturday, October 26, nearly 10 years to the day from when doors first opened into our newly constructed building in 2009.

Awash in resplendent shades of blue to signal its 45th year—known as the Sapphire Anniversary—the Gantt Center will be transformed. Guests will be transported as we enliven the Gantt Center’s mission of more than four decades and America’s history of over 400 years, by presenting “excellence in art, history and culture” of not only African-Americans but also the far-reaching African Diaspora.

A special evening of grand celebration, Jazzy 2019 will comprise 4.5 hours (6:00 PM to 10:30 PM) of curated sensory delight with steady appearances and rotations by 45 exceptional artists, performers and culture keepers.

Inside and out, the Gantt Center is a work of heart and stands as tribute to the rich culture and widespread influence of Africa and the African Diaspora. Jazzy 2019 will embody and celebrate it all.

Feast on the finest of Black culture, from visual art to culinary arts, from musical performances to dance and movement, and from the theatrical to the poetical. Jazzy 2019 is set to assert that, at 45, the Gantt Center has entered a new era of art and so much more!

Work of Heart Curators

  • Lovell Bradford - Davidson College


    Pianist Lovell Bradford, an adjunct professor at Davidson College, has played on a number of top Gospel and Jazz recordings. Originally from Gary, IN, Bradford had many of his first musical influences in church where his grandmother played every Sunday. He studied at Central State University and eventually began playing in the jazz scene in Columbus, Ohio before moving to Charlotte. Bradford has performed with artists such as Slide Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Jennifer Holiday, Branford Marsalis, and many others.

  • CarlosAlexis Cruz - Nouveau Sud


    CarlosAlexis Cruz is Associate Professor of Physical Theatre in the UNC Charlotte Department of Theatre. He holds an MFA in Physical Theatre (2007) from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Northern California. As part of his thesis project, Cruz went on to train Circus Arts and Chinese Acrobatics under the tutelage of Master Coach Lu Yi at the San Francisco Circus Center. Cruz was awarded the Princess Grace Foundation 2017 Works in Progress Award for the development of Pícaro with the support of the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC. Other awards include the 2011 Princess Grace Foundation Theatre Fellowship Award, and the 2014 ASC McColl Award for the development of new, socially-engaged work. With the latter he developed a community-powered contemporary circus company, the Nouveau Sud project

  • Tamara Williams - Moving Spirits


    A native of Augusta, GA, Tamara Williams is Assistant Professor of Dance of African Diaspora Forms at UNC Charlotte. She earned a BFA in Dance from Florida State University and an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. For the past six years, Williams has trained intensely in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil in Silvestre Technique and Afro-Brazilian dance. She is a 2012 recipient of the Artist Residency Fellowship at the Dance & Performance Institute in Trinidad. She also received a Faculty Research Grant to support in-depth study and investigation of ring shout dance traditions and Gullah Geechee culture. She teaches master classes across the U.S. and internationally. Since 2018, Williams has been awarded ASC Culture Blocks grants to support free Afro-diaspora dance workshops throughout the Charlotte community.

  • Tamu Curtis - Liberate Your Palate


    Originally from Oakland, CA, Tamu Curtis was raised in a uniquely diverse community that brought with it a variety of different cultures and cuisines, a fact that she attributes to her adventurous palate to this day. Being an avid home chef and always thinking of ways to challenge the palates of friends and family, Curtis discovered a love for crafting cocktails and creating original recipes. In 2015 her passion resulted in the formation of Liberate Your Palate, a company that provides experiential beverage events, such as elevated cocktail catering experiences and hands-on mixology classes for aspiring at-home enthusiasts.

  • Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr. - ACJ Photo


    Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr., a native of Rockford, IL, is a professional photographer and image activist currently living in Charlotte. He is also the 2018-2019 Gantt Center artist-in-residence who was commissioned to photograph the award-winning images in the Gantt Center's exhibition Welcome to Brookhill. A transplant to the Queen City, Jacobs honed his craft on the front lines of America's social justice movements. He has since emerged as a premier photographer and photo-documentarian. His distinctive aesthetic is marked by a propensity toward highlighting stark contrast and in dealing in the black & white – both in photography and in the world. Prior to shooting Welcome to Brookhill, Jacobs was commissioned to photograph multiple record-breaking dates for Jay Z's 4:44 Tour. This talent for capturing the heart of his subjects on camera has led to him being named one of Charlotte Magazine's 2018 "Charlotteans of the Year" and Creative Loafing's "Best Photographer of 2018." Welcome to Brookhill also received top honors by Creative Loafing readers as "Best Exhibit of 2018."

  • Chef Jamie Barnes - Soul Food Sessions


    Jamie Barnes moved to Charlotte from Newport News, VA to attend Johnson & Wales University and major in Culinary Arts. After graduating, Barnes paid his dues in the kitchen as a sous chef at ARPA before moving to Ilios Noche, then later relocating to Northern Virginia to run the local family restaurant, Foxfire Grill. Since returning to Charlotte, Barnes has worked at such venues as Ballantyne Country Club, and after an unsuccessful try for a slot as one of the "Final 7" on Food Network's "Food Truck Race," he chose to purchase his own truck, What The Fries. His food truck, with co-owner Chef Greg Williams, continues to be a local favorite, inspiring a brick and mortar restaurant opening in the near future.

  • Chef Jamie Turner - Soul Food Sessions


    North Carolina's Pastry Chef of the Year 2019, Jamie Turner has been making cakes since the age of 10 in her hometown Linden, NJ. Turner followed her passion all the way to Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI directly after high school. Today in Charlotte, she runs Jamie's Cakes & Classes, a local cake and pastry business providing personalized cakes for all occasions as well as in-home private or group classes, parties, and online courses. Along with chefs Greg Williams and Jamie Barnes, Turner also is one of the five founding members of Soul Food Sessions, a “movement” to acknowledge and support people of color in the culinary arts and food and beverage industry.

  • Chef Gregory Williams - Soul Food Sessions


    Originally from Columbia, SC, Greg Williams has lived in Charlotte for the past 15 years. He learned about Johnson and Wales University while completing high school in Connecticut. Williams relocated to Charlotte to study at JWU. His first job was at Cans Bar and Grill, where he began as a dishwasher and later decided to try his hand at cooking. Presently, Williams is co-owner, with best friend Chef Jamie Barnes, of What The Fries CLT in Charlotte NC. He now has over 15 years of culinary experience, and he loves creating meals that make people happy.

Jazzy Benefit Gala Sponsors

Signature Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Get the latest from the Gantt & subscribe to our email community.

Your support helps the Gantt present exceptional exhibitions, leading scholars and engaging programs that celebrate the African-American story.

Back to top