Robert Bush — Culture for All: On Life and Meaning

robert bush

Robert Bush is president of the Arts & Science Council, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region’s lead resource hub and cultural advocate. Robert serves as the chief strategic and executive officer of the organization and lead representative of the ASC to the broader community. Prior to joining the ASC, Robert served as president of the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and president of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, as Director of Development with the Mint Museum of Art, and as Executive Director of the Catawba County Council for the Arts. He is a recipient of the Salina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership from Americans for the Arts, the Legacy Award from the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, and the Governor’s Award for meritorious service to the citizens of North Carolina. Robert holds a B.S. and M.A. in Education Administration and Supervision with a concentration in Community Education from Appalachian State University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the development of art and culture in community and the power of art to changes lives. 

In This Episode
In This Episode


  • Robert describes the Arts & Science Council (ASC) and what makes it unique.
  • He responds to assertions about the Charlotte arts scene, how arts and culture has been the core of the economic development strategy of the city, and what is changing.
  • He reveals the question that haunts him in his work.
  • He answers whether there is a sufficient pool of artistic talent in Charlotte to shift the culture.
  • Robert talks about what a creative community is and why he does what he does.
  • He shares what Charlotte doesn’t talk about and what it needs to do better.
  • He reflects on Charlotte’s bid to attract Amazon HQ2.
  • He describes the vision the ASC has for arts and culture by 2025 and the three things the vision is based on.
  • Robert discusses what ASC is winning at in differentiating the Charlotte arts scene.
  • He shares the ASC response to the Keith Lamont Scott shooting in Charlotte, why access and inclusion is the business of the ASC, and why its personal to him.
  • He talks about how the power of art changed his life.
  • He describes where he grew up and why he had a perfect childhood.
  • Robert discusses his first career as a teacher and how he sees the city as his classroom today.
  • He answers what he learned from the three ASC presidents he served: Harriet Sanford, Lee Keesler and Scott Provancher.
  • He responds to whether he felt passed over during the changes in presidency at the ASC.
  • He reflects on what is different about being president versus being a senior vice president of the ASC.
  • He reveals how he thinks the ASC is different because of his leadership and what he thinks is his greatest accomplishment.
  • Robert shares what art he loves and when he is happiest.

Mark Peres adds a personal word that begins this way, “Robert Bush’s passion for the arts is real and exciting. His love for the arts overflows as he reveals what art means to him. You can hear the jazz fusion in the air…”

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