Spiral Bound is a documentary about the unlikely union of eight creative high school students from a youth creative development program and a group of liberal arts college students over the course of one summer. Together, these education activists are seeking social justice not only in the public school system but also in the higher education arena. On this journey, both groups learn the power of the arts in giving a voice to those who need it the most, including themselves. From the inner city streets of Charlotte and the quaint college town of Davidson to the bustling steps of the U.S. Capitol, these young people stand together to change the face of education through their courageous narratives.

The Arts & Science Council of Charlotte, inspired by the work of Bill Strickland and the Manchester Bidwell Group, produced Spiral Bound to show the importance of the arts to our nation's continuing prosperity and to emphasize the devastating consequences of defunding arts education. Students from ASC’s local outreach program, Studio 345, created the music and art utilized in Spiral Bound. In fact, the title of the film is taken from the inspiring song featured during the opening credits. The voice of today’s generation can be heard and felt through the words, music, & art of the students featured in Spiral Bound.


ASC President Statement


ASC President

I know I am one of the lucky ones.

When I was young, my parents made certain that my sisters and I were exposed to a wide variety of cultural experiences – music, theatre, museums. One of my earliest memories of my mother was her making my sisters and I sing conversations with her. I’d be heading out the door and I’d hear her sing to me, “Where are you going?” – She required us to sing back our response. Of course, I also experienced the total humiliation of having to do this if a friend was present. This tradition never ceased – she sang conversations to us until she could no longer. That memory is one I cherish. More importantly, that singing banter introduced me to the world of music and vocal performance that became a major part of my adult life.

I remember teachers that infused the arts into learning – we sang, we danced, we learned to play instruments, we read great books. I liked school but I remember that many times it was my knowing it was art day, or music day, or field trip day that was the reason I got to school on time and was fully engaged.

Spiral Bound recounts the importance of arts infusion into children’s education. Something that is too often lost today in our quest for higher test scores. Children deserve joy in their education. The arts bring that joy and lead to success. The arts are something every child should be lucky enough to experience. Just like me.



ASC VP Education

There is an opportunity gap between high-quality education infused with the arts and an educational experience devoid of the arts for hundreds of thousands of PreK-12 students around the world. This is simply unacceptable. As both an educator and an artist, my mission is to work with communities both in America and internationally in an effort to eradicate the social injustice that permeates classrooms as long as the opportunity gap exists. Together, we can strengthen teaching and learning through the arts. Spiral Bound is one illustration that showcases the power of creating intentional space for students, teachers, and community members to empower each other through the arts, thereby creating educational spaces that transcend standardization and marginalization of human beings. To that end, Spiral Bound was created to demonstrate the transformative power of the arts, and as importantly, inspire others to insist on the arts being infused in the lessons of every classroom every day of every week of every month of every year.



ASC works every day to ensure access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. ASC plays three key roles in Cultural Education. As a Funder, ASC provides resources that allow schools to take advantage of the community’s cultural offerings. As a Programmer, ASC offers educational programs that provide opportunities for students to explore their creativity. As a Connector, ASC helps facilitate connections between local schools and the cultural community.

Spiral Bound (2014) illustrates the importance of the arts to our nation’s continuing prosperity by highlighting the devastating consequences of defunding arts education in our schools. Nature Matters (2016), the second ASC cultural education documentary, highlights the transformative power found in the art of nature. Both Spiral Bound and Nature Matters serve as advocacy tools for increasing access to critical resources in the lives of youth. These documentaries illuminate the importance of arts infusion and nature immersion, each of which are vital to the formation of confident, self-aware, imaginative adults.



Studio 345, a program of ASC, is a free out-of-school creative youth development program that uses Digital Photography, Digital Media Arts, and Multimedia Design to educate and inspire students to stay in school, graduate, and pursue goals beyond high school. Providing unique experiences for high school students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Studio 345 fosters a sense of belonging and interconnectedness. Taught and mentored by professional working artists, students gain invaluable experiences enabling them to become creative risk-takers and craftsmen while growing emotionally, intellectually, and artistically.