CHARLOTTE, NC—Concerts, plays, exhibitions, and other arts events add so much to the fabric of a community and improve its quality of life. But without behind-the-scenes leaders, the gallery walls would be empty and the stages bare.
Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Jeff Hay is one of those behind-the-scenes leaders bringing outstanding live performances to Charlotte. As the Board Chair of Blumenthal Performing Arts, he oversees an organization that stages more than 1,000 shows per year and contributes more than $60 million annually to the area economy. He and other Charlotte-area arts leaders are profiled in the current issue of Southpark Magazine.
Hay tells Southpark Magazine that when he first was approached about serving on the Blumenthal Performing Arts Board, he wasn’t sure he could make it work with his already demanding schedule. At the time, he was President of the British American Business Council, whose mission is to promote bilateral trade and investment between the United States and the United Kingdom.
But Hay soon realized that Blumenthal’s mission closely aligned with his efforts to promote transatlantic business activity. For example, Blumenthal Performing Arts was an active investor in UK theater productions and the Blumenthal was bringing British choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne to Charlotte to stage his hit production of “Sleeping Beauty”. The Charlotte production was a big success, and the British-American Business Council got involved by hosting an event with Matthew.
“I don’t think I’ve ever worked as hard in the first three months serving on a board as I did then,” Hay said. “I began to become more aware of what the Blumenthal does for the region from an economic development perspective, and it’s a level of contribution, one I don’t think many in Charlotte fully realize.”
He also said arts organizations such as Blumenthal play a key role in education and community-building.
“I’m very excited about our focus on kids. The Blumeys, our awards and recognition program for high school performing arts programs, is nationally recognized and makes a tremendous impact across the region,” Hay tells Southpark Magazine. The Blumenthal also provides tickets to Big Brothers Big Sisters and other area youth mentoring organizations.
Finally, Hay said that serving on Blumenthal’s board has allowed him to meet and work with a diverse range of talented Charlotteans.
“There’s a super network of talented, smart and engaged folks on our board that help me expand my perspective on our community,” he said. “It’s always inspiring to work with them.”