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Empowering children through performance: launching a new brand identity for NC Arts in Action

Being exposed to the performing arts can be transformative to a child’s life. However, the reality is that many children today never have the opportunity to experience the arts, much less participate in them.

Since 2005, North Carolina Arts in Action (NC AIA) has been on a mission to correct that by introducing dance, music, and performance to fourth grade children. The program goes far beyond teaching performance skills. NC AIA uses the performing arts as a platform to motivate children, teaching them self-esteem, and developing life skills that help them to realize and achieve their full potential, regardless of their background, ability, or socio-economic status.

For nearly three years Centerline Digital’s co-founder and Executive Director, Jodie Schwartz, has served on NC AIA’s board of directors. During that time, Centerline has provided pro-bono support for the organization, creating videos and graphic design, as well as providing strategic advice and event support.

“From the moment we saw a class and witnessed the transformation this program brings to children—the smiles, the enthusiasm, and the confidence—we were convinced of its huge impact on communities,” Schwartz said.

As they moved into their fifteenth year, NC AIA’s success continues to grow in counties and schools across the state, they turned to Centerline for help in making the impact of their visual brand echo the impact they’re having on their participants.

“When NC AIA formed nearly 15 years ago, they were focused on their mission to improve the lives of children.” said Brian Taylor, Associate Creative Director at Centerline. “This past year, we worked with them to assess their priorities and determined that reimagining their visual brand to reflect the impact they have on our communities was a high priority.”

Centerline set out to create visual brand elements that capture the vibrancy, fun, and energy that NC AIA instills in children’s lives.

“When they’re introduced onstage, each child runs out and leaps into the air,” Taylor said. “The original logo echoed that moment. We loved this idea and decided that it was important to capture that within the new logo as well. What emerged after many conversations and collaboration with the team at NC AIA is a fun, fresh and modern design that honors the past and provides inspiration for the future.”

Shareholders, donors, staff, and participants got their first look at the new logo on February 29, 2020 at NC AIA’s annual gala before it was unveiled to the general public. Centerline’s team worked with the staff of the North Carolina Nature Research Center to plan the launch event. Giving this audience first exposure to the new brand elements was a display of respect and gratitude for their contributions of time and funding over the years.

Over 9,000 children have been reached by North Carolina Arts in Action since 2005, and over 1,400 fourth-graders are expected to participate in the program in 2020. There are currently 14 schools in Chatham, Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties offering NC AIA programs. And the movement continues to grow.

“At a time when arts funding in our public schools is being severely slashed, bringing this program into Title 1 schools is vital,” said Schwartz. “Teachers have told me over and over again how students that often struggle in math and reading are invigorated and more engaged in learning on days they get the NC Arts in Action program.

“I remember the first time witnessing a class and seeing the faces of children as they gained self-esteem through movement and dance. This method of teaching is proven. And it works.”