Defining a Buzzword

Buzzwords are everywhere. If you’re aware, in the last several years you’ve probably seen mention of one when talking about neighborhood development or real estate in Charlotte:  Gentrification.  


The concept can seem confusing—who’s complaining about a new Panera bread in their neighborhood? The reality is complex and deeply rooted in history, but worth a moment to quickly visit.  


In Charlotte, the wealthiest zip code in the city is 28207 (includes Eastover and Myers Park). Here, the median household income is $130,868 according to 2016 Census data. 


About 6 miles away are some of the lowest income neighborhoods in Charlotte: Druid Hills, Tryon Hills, and Brightwalk. The median household income is $28,034 a year on average across these neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are located in zip 28206.  


Don’t think for a second this is just an economic disparity—aside from a property value line, there is also a racial line between the two zip codes. 28206 is made up of nearly 74 percent African-American residents. By contrast, the 28207 zip code has 94 percent Caucasian residents.  


Here is where gentrification comes into play. In Mecklenburg County, the largest median household income increase occurred in the 28203 zip code. If you’re wondering where that is–South End. Think, specifically, of all the new apartments that have gone up recently. The median income in this area increased 39 percent—but it’s not just the income that increases when a neighborhood changes like this. The cost of living (including renting vs. buying costs) goes up along with the increase in average income.  


Current plans for Druid Hills (a neighborhood that was established when older, black neighborhoods were demolished in the 1950’s) involve building more than 1,000 new apartments and 170 new condominiums. Only 115 are being reserved for people making less than 80 percent of the area’s median income. This type of change in a neighborhood demographic is gentrification in a nutshell. NoDa experienced this change but government leaders have worked to welcome people into the neighborhood at multiple income levels with strategic growth. This helped stymie racial segregation and keeps the special, cool feel to NoDa.  


Gentrification isn’t a new concept. After the Great Depression, bank policies reinforced loans for wealthy, white neighborhoods but not for poor, black ones. This happened all throughout the United States. In the 80’s and 90’s, the concept of “urban renewal” was popular and involved tearing down African-American neighborhoods with federal assistance. The neighborhoods were destroyed and families displaced. Now these areas house the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, courthouse, abandoned Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools building, and the county’s jail. 


Neighborhoods will always change. But community organizations like the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership and increased awareness for anyone involved in the development or profit of these neighborhoods can go a long way in preventing the negative impacts as neighborhoods change.  


Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

The Novice Guide to Cheap (Real) Art


Your significant other is right. It’s time to let the Scarface poster go. Or even the Starry Night, if you’re fancy like that. You are an adult. With a mortgage, more than one checking account, and your own health insurance. You know the difference between a 401K and a Roth IRA. You need art. Real art. Yes, Michelle Pfeiffer in that dress was art, but that’s not what I mean. Because you’re an adult, you know real art is expensive.  

Here are a few places to look for real art that won’t set you back on your savings plans.  


C3 Lab 

2525 Distribution St  

Charlotte, NC 28203  

Instagram: @c3lab 

C3 Lab is a multi-functional art-centered space. Operating as a gallery and as a co-working space, they host exhibits featuring local, regional, national, and international artists in styles ranging from traditional, contemporary, to hybrid art forms. The gallery’s annual art exhibit is the perfect time to browse and buy.   

This year’s theme centers on “Intersection: Personal styles, careers, and life don’t always function together in harmony, but when you intersect the common thread of the love of art throughout a creative space, with the true spirit of collaboration – an interesting collage emerges to tell a meaningful story.”  


Check it out Friday, December 7, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 


CPCC Holiday Art Market 

1201 Elizabeth Ave  

Charlotte, NC 28204 

CPCC Art Galleries host an Annual Holiday Art Market in Ross Gallery on CPCC’s Central Campus. Students, faculty, and other local artists will offer a wide variety of ceramics, jewelry, paintings, and photography. There’s even an under $50 section!  


November 5th-December 5th, 2018 

Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  



Currently located at:  

555 S McDowell St  

North Tower 

Charlotte, NC 28204 

Instagram: @artpopstreetgallery 


ArtPop is a street gallery. They feature local artists on billboards, buses, news racks, at airports — and turn the everyday “into opportunities for artistic appreciation and discovery.” Four times a year, the art of the current selection of ArtPoppers are shown, gallery-style, at Le Meridien Hotel Charlotte. Can’t wait for the next showing? Visit the ArtPop website artists’ page. From there, you can find individual artists’ websites for pricing info. 


Lark & Key 

128 E. Park Ave 

Suite B 

Charlotte, NC 28203 

 This lovely South End spot featuring art and craft is a great place for a novice collector to begin. Check out the website’s “Art for $500 and Under” page 

 And don’t forget that art encompasses more than 2-D works. A collection of handmade pottery mugs, vases, or bowls can be an inexpensive way to begin an art collection. 


Ruby’s Gift 

3204 N Davidson St  

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Instagram: @rubysgiftnoda 

This NoDa boutique showcases a variety of textiles, pottery, paintings, photography, and jewelry by local artists. 


Slate Furniture + Art Collective 

1401 Central Ave  

Chartlotte, NC 28205 

Instagram: @slateinteriors 

Perfect if you need to branch away from Scarface and Ikea. The Plaza Midwood furniture and art collective showcases rotating exhibitions of local talent and famous artists.  



Tuesdays – Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21