Charlottesville SOUP is a public dinner series to support creative projects and artists right here in our community.
“New City Arts does so much good for our city. For example, when I look around the room during Charlottesville SOUP, I see friends, neighbors, and strangers breaking bread together. By hosting SOUP, New City Arts provides meaningful financial support for local artists, but to me what is even more exciting is that it provides a space for people to have conversations.” - Victoria Long, New City Exhibiting Artist, Resident Artist, and Co-founder of Charlottesville SOUP
Founded in January 2013 by a group of three artists, Charlottesville SOUP was inspired by a national network of micro-grant funding dinners for the arts. These dinners were initiated in the Midwest by InCUBATE, a Chicago-based research group dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and arts funding, and received national positive press from The New York Times, Good, and Dwell, with the rise of Detroit SOUP, founded by former Charlottesville-based artist and co-founder of The Garage, Kate Daughdrill.
At each Charlottesville SOUP public dinner, attendees pay $10 for soup, salad, bread, dessert, and a vote. During the meal, four creatives (vetted in advance by an arts committee) make short presentations about their projects in need of funding. Attendees participate in a thoughtful dialogue with the presenters and with one another about the proposed projects over a delicious meal made from local ingredients, followed by a ballot vote, resulting in a crowd-funded award for the winner with the most votes.
At its core as an arts event, SOUP is an opportunity for civic engagement; an opportunity to meet your neighbor to ask what the arts in Charlottesville need.
By attending, you’ll meet your neighbors and play a role in supporting artists in Charlottesville. Perhaps you’ll even forge new friendships and collaborations over a nourishing meal made with locally-sourced ingredients in handmade bowls from our friends at City Clay.
Each of the twelve Charlottesville SOUP dinners have sold out immediately. These ten successful Charlottesville SOUP dinners held between January 2013 – March 2021 awarded $34,012 in micro-grants through 14 SOUP events to 17 local artists including a Charlottesville textile co-op, photographer, string quartet, a theatrical community organizer, a fashion designer, a "floom" musician, a sculptor, a folk musician, a musician/visual artist duo, a graphic novelist, a mixed-media artist, a fourth generation sewing enthusiast, a papermaker, and a poet.
A 2015 NEA report concluded that 22% of people surveyed perceive “no one to go with” as a primary barrier to arts participation. This same report concluded that people surveyed are motivated to participate in the arts in order to socialize with friends or family, to learn new things, to experience high-quality art, and to support the community. Charlottesville SOUP fulfills many of these needs, advancing New City Arts’ hope to cultivate new constituencies for the arts.
Wanna learn more? Sign up for updates here. SOUP is an official program of New City Arts.