Why This Matters: The public artwork “Open Book, Open Mind” by Greensboro artist Jim Gallucci was named and influenced by patrons of South County Regional Library, where the colorful sculpture is located.
By Bernie Petit
A canopy of book titles and authors’ names will welcome residents into a world of reading once renovations at South County Regional Library in Charlotte are complete.
The public artwork “Open Book, Open Mind,” by Greensboro sculptor Jim Gallucci, was installed in October and will provide an experiential entryway into the library, the largest regional branch in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system.
Participants at a public art community engagement held at the library suggested possible names for the artwork. Library users then voted for their favorite name.
“I make it, but they got to live with it. With public art, that’s an important ingredient – how people are going to live with it,” Gallucci said. “Hopefully that becomes one of those wonderful places where you’re sitting at the library and looking up and being inspired.”
Staff librarians selected the book titles and author names etched into the public artwork’s colorful pages that seemingly float in the air. Among Gallucci’s favorites are “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White and “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison.
Being able to create this public artwork, commissioned by ASC and funded by Mecklenburg County’s public art ordinance, for the library was especially meaningful to Gallucci, who said he is a lover of books and the creativity they inspire.
“I remember 20 years ago people saying (libraries are) going to be obsolete, no one’s going to use them, it’s all going to be online,” he said. But “libraries are still the connection to the world in a great way.
“They’re what makes us honest. They’re what makes us insightful. They’re what gives us the facts, the truth. That’s what makes us a democracy.”
On warm and sunny days, the artwork will provide relief from the hot sun. That’s the best part, Gallucci said.
“It’s a place of reprieve that you can take a deep breath and just think,” he said. “So not only is it welcoming, it’s a place of rest, but a place of intellectual rest, too.”
Book Titles and Authors Included on “Open Book, Open Mind”
- “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison
- “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White
- “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis
- “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
- “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling
- “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
- “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” by Tahereh Mafi
- “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
- “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
- “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou
- “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang
- “Winne-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne
- “Monsoon” by Uma Krishnaswami
- “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia
- “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña
- “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats
- “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
- “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett