Connecting The Dots

Two Charlotte creatives are launching a playful quiz Show to engage the community.

Five minutes with Matt Olin and Tim Miner is all it takes to realize the pair are like twin sons of different mothers.

Their back-and-forth patter over pizza at lunch earlier this year had a rhythm and flow Jazz combos would envy. As if on que, they finish each other’s sentences, burst into laughter at their own inside jokes, and simultaneously become dead serious in their excitement about their forthcoming community development project, Queen City Quiz Show.

A Knight Cities Challenge grant recipient, Queen City Quiz Show is a traveling variety/game-show that uses historical Charlotte trivia and factoids to challenge Charlotte neighborhoods about their development and connections to the city. The five-part series launches this month.

“If ‘Jeopardy’ and ‘The Daily Show’ had a baby in Charlotte, Queen City Quiz Show would be the result,” Miner says. “There are so many people who love the city like we do. To know something is to love it, and our hope is to help reveal more of Charlotte’s history and help people understand more about each other, where we come from, and the values we share.”

High-energy friends since high school at Charlotte Catholic, Olin and Miner are the duo who brought the morning speaker series and international franchise CreativeMornings to Charlotte almost two years ago. This caffeine-amped networking-cum-social-fun-fest hosts up to 300 guests monthly for a 90-minute exploration of creative endeavors organized around a single theme. Recent topics have included taboo, moments, and mystery.

While the game show format may sound familiar to CreativeMornings participants (it’s a fun ice breaker at every session), Olin and Miner are looking for Queen City Quiz Show to reach an even broader and more diverse audience than those participating in the monthly series.

“If the people that come to Queen City Quiz Show are simply the same as those folks who attend CreativeMornings, we will have failed,” says Miner. He is hopeful the project will attract Charlotte newcomers, established residents, and members from all corners of the community.

Community Partnerships

To that end, the guys are working with a variety of neighborhood associations, community partners, the City of Charlotte, the Levine Museum of the New South, and project volunteers to organize the series.

Brenda Tindal, staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South, will serve as a moderator at each event, leading discussions on Charlotte history and helping provide context.

“Partnering with Queen City Quiz Show is an extension of what we do at the museum,” says Tindal, “which is building community through history. This is a creative, thoughtful, and fun platform to extend our reach. We’re excited to be a part of it.”

The game show will feature local musicians, artists, and cultural groups to entertain and engage neighbors in a fun and educational event. Community teams compete for prize money awarded to the winner’s selected nonprofit organization.

“Queen City Quiz Show is the type of community engagement program the Foundation enthusiastically supports,” says Charles Thomas, Charlotte’s program director for the Knight Foundation. “Matt and Tim are the right pair behind this and are the type of innovative civic leaders we want to help in developing broad-based community involvement that ultimately makes Charlotte a great place to live and work.”

Olin is optimistic about helping make connections.

“The more we know about Charlotte’s past and present,” Olin says, “the more poised we are to shape its future. Connecting people in ways that are unpredictable and not ordinarily done are fun, can expand the tight circles we tend to live in, break down walls, and help create understanding. And Tim and I can realize our secret fantasy of becoming game show hosts.”

Photography by Justin Driscoll