For art to survive in CLT, artists must survive


“Trust me … I know a little something about survival.” – Davita Galloway

For art and culture to survive and thrive, it needs community champions. One of Charlotte’s most ferocious champions is Davita Galloway, the co-founder of dupp & swat, a multi-disciplinary creative studio/salon. When Galloway and her brother, Dion, opened dupp & swat in NODA over five years ago, there was no master plan, only a commitment to create a space where people could create in any form that spoke to them – fashion, performance, music, visual arts, etc.

As she shares in her talk (see below), Galloway has used her own creative passions to survive a number of personal challenges, from living with Crohn’s disease to being arrested while working in the New York fashion scene. She wanted her studio to be a place where others could find their own salvation through creativity, as well as financial success.

dupp & swat became a place where artists who were having trouble “breaking in” to the Charlotte arts scene could be at home and share their work. But, last fall, the studio lost its home when the building in which it was housed was sold, forcing Galloway and her brother to find a new place that was affordable and leaving many of her resident artists, patrons and fans without a vital place to gather. This is a story that Galloway says is all too common. It’s a pattern she knows well — Artists move to an area where rents are affordable. They create life and interest in that area. They are pushed out by development and forced to begin the cycle again. Along the way, they struggle to survive and create another day.

Galloway sees an important incongruity Charlotte needs to address here – affordable and desirable space for artists to live and work. She notes that city leaders “use our works to entice people to come to the city … to live here.” She adds, “Who wants to live in a place where there’s no culture, no scene, nothing’s popping? But what’s ironic is those people, those newcomers … they’re moving into homes, they’re moving into condos where galleries once lived.”

Galloway also shared that while many in Charlotte tout all aspects of our cultural scene, they don’t support it financially, causing many of her contemporaries to work multiple jobs and relegate their passions to those few times they aren’t working, putting the artists, as well as their art, in jeopardy.

“In order for our art and creative community to survive, artists must survive,” she said.

Galloway conveyed more personal and professional experiences during her talk and issued advice and challenges to the Charlotte community on how to support artists of all disciplines and ethnic backgrounds. Her hope is for Charlotte to be a place that colors “with all the Crayons in the box.”

To experience her entire talk and a post-event discussion, please use the links below.

CLICK FOR A VIDEO of the morning’s event courtesy of Charlotte Star Room.


THE CHARLOTTE IS CREATIVE PODCAST features complete audio of the Q&A session.


Explore the global topic of “Equality” with Abby Corrigan

Mark your calendar for the next meeting of CreativeMornings/Charlotte at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, July 7. The morning will feature free coffee and scrumptious breakfast foods along with live music, games and creative inspiration. Native Charlottean and 19-year-old actress, Abby Corrigan, will be the featured speaker on the global topic of “Equality” shared with 172 CreativeMornings chapters around the world. Corrigan is currently playing a leading role in the renowned national tour of “Fun Home.”

More information is available HERE.

Tickets for this event will be free and can be claimed online at 9 a.m. very, very sharp on Monday, July 3 at Mark your calendar and set your alarm, tickets go quickly!

Photos: Leland Holder



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