Get to know public artist Sheila Klein as she gets to know Charlotte

Categories: ASC, Blog, Uncategorized

By Bernie Petit
Communications Specialist 

She’s groundbreaking, innovative, engaging – and she’s charged with creating what will be a highly-visible public art piece in Charlotte.

She’s Sheila Klein, and you can meet her, share ideas about the North Tryon Business Corridor streetscape improvement project and see her mini-exhibition during Open Studio Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at McColl Center for Visual Arts, 721 N. Tryon St., Charlotte. Admission is free.

Sheila Klein speaks to a local resident at a North Tryon Business Corridor public meeting last month.
Sheila Klein speaks to a local resident at a North Tryon Business Corridor public meeting last month.

The Arts & Science Council (ASC), in partnership with the City of Charlotte and McColl Center for Visual Art, has commissioned Klein to create artwork to compliment the streetscape project, which will include Charlotte’s first Greenroad (a certification similar to LEED for buildings), just outside the I-277 loop.

Klein has exhibited at P.S. 1, Institute for Art and Urban Studies in New York, Memory and Lands of the 20th Century in Florence, Italy, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pa., Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and Laforet Museum in Tokyo. She practiced architecture in the early 1980s as a member for the award-winning firm A2Z and has worked with some of the most noted art programs, including 4Culture in Seattle and Metro Art in Los Angeles.

Klein’s previous work helped convince current Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey, who was a member of the artist selection committee, that she was the right artist for the corridor project.

“I also liked the fact that she said that she would include residents and business owners in the area as she researched and planned her artwork,” Kinsey told the ASC in June.

Indeed, learning about the North Tryon Business Corridor – generally bounded by I-277, Graham and North Tryon streets, Dalton and Matheson avenues and the railroad tracks along Brevard Street – and the people who call the area home has been a priority for Klein, a Pittsburgh, Pa., native who now calls Bow, Wash., home. She’s participated in public meetings and met with residents, community leaders and city planners to solicit their thoughts and opinions.

“It’s not about the public choosing” what they want the art to be, Klein previously said. “It’s about the artist understanding more about the place and the people that live there.”june7

This weekend’s free event is an opportunity to learn more about the artist. In conjunction with being commissioned to create public art for the North Tryon corridor, Klein is in residence at McColl Center, where her interactive installation will offer an introduction to her creative styles. She will also design and implement temporary public art/engagement projects during her residency to complement the permanent public art she will create.