By Bernie Petit
Charlotte’s newest public art piece will help connect a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department station with the community it protects and serves.
The artwork, created by Durham-based glass artist Vivienne McConnell and installed in April, will link neighborhoods along Central Avenue in East Charlotte to the brand new CMPD Eastway Station.
Funding for the $30,600 work comes from the one-percent ordinance for public art. ASC manages the public art programs for the city and the county.
McConnell’s exterior art wall utilizes interlinking circular shapes and rectilinear lines to convey the theme of how police departments and neighborhoods cooperate in creating a safe place.
The interior stained art glass above the doors in the main entrance is named “Unity.”
“It’s built around the idea of unity – the unity of the police department and the community,” McConnell said. “It really did seem to me that there was a lot of camaraderie and unity in the community.”
The center panel of the exterior piece contains a similar motif to the indoor glass. On either side is cooperation, an abstracted idea of two people joined by their arms.
“It’s a different take on ‘Unity,’ with the circles interlocking,” she said. “I thought it was something that would work for the community and the police department as well.”
As the day progresses, the glass panels change according to the movement of the sun and what is around them.
“In this particular installation we have a lot of sky at certain places of the room and there are trees in certain places of the room,” she said. “If you have something like trees behind the glass, it helps you perceive the movement in the glass.”
A self-described color person, McConnell said she used a more sedate and formal color palate for the glass panels to better match the building. She also used a “little bit of gold to give it some excitement.”
“I hope that the people who own this artwork, and that would be the city, and the people who work in this building will enjoy it,” she said. “I hope it brightens their day and it helps attitudes.”