Why This Matters: International Sculpture Day is a celebration event held worldwide on or around April 24 to advance the creation and understanding of sculpture and its unique, vital contribution to society.
By Bernie Petit
Sculpture not only enhances our quality of life, it influences how we live our lives.
Whether large or small, sculptural works can provide a sense of place, connect to the rich history of our region and force us to consider a different perspective.
The Hugh McManaway sculpture at Providence and Queens roads in Charlotte, for example, is regularly decorated to celebrate graduations, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. The public artwork “Pieces of You,” by Robert Winkler and located in Dilworth near Latta Park, is composed of rail from the original streetcar line that ran from uptown to Dilworth in the 1890s.
“Threshold,” the multicolored glass work by Danny Lane at Mint Museum Uptown, is activated by how the viewer interacts with it, while the “Homeless Jesus” sculpture in front of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson compels passersby to consider the relationship between art and faith.
Sculpture’s unique, vital contributions to society will be celebrated Monday, April 24, 2017, which is the third annual International Sculpture Day, or IS Day.
The worldwide celebration encourages people to interact with and appreciate the role sculpture plays in their lives and their communities.
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, there are several ways you can experience sculpture.
Explore Public Art
Sculpture tells Charlotte’s story as part of ASC’s Public Art Walking Tour. Stops along the uptown tour include:
- “Cascade,” by Jean Tinguely and located inside the Carillon Building. The lion’s head in the fountain below the hanging artwork was once found on the entrance of the old Hotel Charlotte.
- “Sculptures on the Square,” by Raymond Kaskey and found at Trade and Tryon streets. The monumental sculptures, one on all four corners of the intersection, point to economic activities – gold, rails and textiles – that shaped Charlotte’s history and look to its future.
- “The Writer’s Desk,” by Larry Kirkland and located in front of ImaginOn on East 7th Street. The sculpture is a tribute to longtime Charlotte Observer publisher Rolfe Neill.
Head to a Museum
You’ll find a wide and diverse range of sculptural works at museums located at the Levine Center for the Arts – the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture – as well as McColl Center for Art + Innovation and the Mint’s Randolph Road location.
- Outside the Bechtler, you’ll see possibly the most photographed public artwork in Charlotte – “The Firebird” by Niki de Saint Phalle. Inside, you’ll find a replica of Tingluely’s “Cascade.”
- At the Gantt Center, themes of motherhood and the role of women are explored through sculpture and other mediums in the exhibition “Alison Saar: The Nature of Us,” on display through July 8, 2017.
- At McColl Center, “Tell Me More” (April 14-May 27, 2017) will showcase sculptural and other works that provide unique perspectives on the human experience.
Check out a Local Gallery
Regularly scheduled gallery crawls – as well as Davidson’s annual April is for Arts – provide great opportunities to see sculptural works.
- In South End, you can explore eight galleries as part of its regular Gallery Crawl, which takes place the first Friday of every month.
- Uptown Crawl, presented by Charlotte Center City Partners, is a chance to visit uptown galleries, museums and other cultural destinations for free. The next crawl is 6-9 p.m. Thursday, April 27, 2017.
- Events taking place in downtown Davidson as part of April is for Arts include:
Go on a College Tour
Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s colleges and universities are beautified by great sculptural works.
This spring at Central Piedmont Community College, more than 100 students collaborated with Sensoria artist Lee Baumgarten to create a site-specific installation suspended from the ceiling of the Overcash atrium. It will be on display through April 21, 2017.
You can learn about other examples of the public artwork found on local campuses – from “Jean d’Aire” by French sculptor Auguste Rodin at Davidson College and the iconic “Golden Bull” statue at Johnson C. Smith University to “Triple Arc I” by James Rosati at Queens University and “Ainsa III’ by Jaume Plensa on the UNC Charlotte Center City campus – in this past ASC blog post.
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You’re also encouraged to join in the local and national conversation on sculpture by using #isday.