Jan 19 • 28M

Creating space for Charlotte artists, with Manoj Kesavan

Manoj Kesavan founded BOOM Charlotte to showcase Charlotte's talented artists. He shares his inspiration for BOOM and why diversity is important to the city's art scene.

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Lindsey Banks
We talk with Charlotte leaders about important and interesting issues, with an eye toward making you smarter, telling you things you don’t know and introducing you to people with insights about trends in Charlotte.

Manoj Kesavan created BOOM Charlotte, an artist-led showcase, when the 2012 Democratic National Convention came to Charlotte and failed to highlight local and regional art. Kesavan helped to organize over 80 street performances while the convention was in town, ranging from musical, theater and spoken word performances.

The street showcase received international media attention. Images taken of the performances were uploaded to Getty and AP Images, and Kesavan said he even saw one of the photos on the front page of a magazine in India.

Kesavan was inspired to keep up the energy for Charlotte’s art. He founded Que-OS, a nonprofit that transforms how art and culture is created and shared, and started BOOM Charlotte to shine a light on the city’s artists and diverse art scene.

In this episode of The Charlotte Ledger Podcast, Kesavan discusses:

  • How Edinburgh, Scotland’s fringe festival inspired the creation of BOOM Charlotte.

  • How BOOM has grown and changed over the years.

  • What people can expect to see at the BOOM Charlotte Festival, which is held in April at Camp North End.

  • Why diversity is important to BOOM and Charlotte’s art scene.

  • What Charlotte needs to work on to better support its artists of color.

Kesavan was awarded The Ledger’s 40 Over 40 Award in 2020 for organizing the annual BOOM festival and finding other original ways for artists and performers to connect with each other.

This podcast episode is part of a series highlighting winners of The Ledger’s 40 Over 40 awards, which honor and celebrate the unheralded people over the age of 40 who are making impactful contributions to Charlotte. It’s hosted by Steve Dunn of Miles Mediation and Arbitration.

Find out more about the 40 Over 40 awards by going to ledger40over40.com.

Nominations are now open for the 2023 40 Over 40 Awards. The deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Our panel of independent and wise under-40 judges will get to work soon, and we’ll honor the winners in a fun celebration in person on April 27.

We hope you enjoy the conversation with Manoj Kesavan.

The Charlotte Ledger Podcast is produced by Lindsey Banks.

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