Why This Matters: The public artwork ‘Response’ by Vicki Scuri highlights the service of EMS professionals while protecting the Medic headquarters as safety barriers.
By Bernie Petit
A new public artwork serves as a barrier of protection for the more than 600 Mecklenburg EMS Agency, or Medic, employees responsible for saving thousands of lives each year.
“Response,” by Seattle-based artist Vicki Scuri, features 11 laser-cut weathering steel artistic screens placed on shaped precast concrete bases between the front side of the new Medic headquarters and Wilkinson Boulevard between uptown and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The project, influenced by the geometry of the EMS Star of Life emblem and electrocardiographic vital signs, highlights the service of Medic professionals to the communities of Mecklenburg County while protecting the facility as safety barriers.
“The dot pattern is really reminiscent or recalling an electrocardiograph, but made to be sort of uplifting,” Scuri said. “The actual angles of the bases, we modified those to resemble the Star of Life. It’s not an exact angle but that was the inspiration.”
The public artwork was completed in late February and celebrated at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Medic headquarters in March. Each of the elegant screens is 18 feet wide and range in height, with the tallest screen measuring 10 feet. Combined, the 11 screens are 330 feet long. The screen patterning alongside the headquarters is interactive with light, shadow and the environment.
From inside the facility, they provide a playful cadence, beauty and privacy, as well as color, form and a sense of movement.
“‘Response’ adds color, scale and context to the site, creating a dynamic landmark that can be appreciated by drivers and pedestrians alike,” Scuri said in her artist statement.
Medic is responsible for all medical calls that come into the Mecklenburg County 911 system. It processes and dispatches all fire related calls for the county that originate outside the City of Charlotte. In fiscal year 2017, Medic’s 911 Call Center responded to 146,265 calls resulting in 112,270 transports.
“Response” is a tribute to the lifesaving work the Medic staff does inside its new headquarters and throughout Mecklenburg County.
“We wanted to honor the people who work here in the community that makes all this happen,” Scuri said.