I am not a native of Charlotte and have only spent the summers here for the past couple of years. Unfortunately I have not gotten the opportunity to delve into the all encompassing world of art that exists in Center City Charlotte. So, I took it upon myself to determine a solution. Since I live 30 minutes outside of the city, in Rock Hill, S.C., applying for an internship with the Arts & Science Council (ASC) would be a great avenue to be exposed to and explore Charlotte’s cultural community.
For my first assignment, I was sent to explore the numerous public and private works of art through the public art walking tour podcast. This is a 45-minute self-guided tour accompanied by a downloadable podcast that leads you through Center City Charlotte and provides the history as well as detailed descriptions of various works of art.
As the tour progressed, I felt the art represented an immense range of skill and subject matter and was extremely unique. The four works of art that stood out to me the most were Wall Drawing by Sol LeWitt (1), Castellan Figure and Light Towers by Howard Ben Tre (2), The Writer’s Desk by Larry Kirkland (3) and Ned Kahn’s Wind Silos (4).
LeWitt’s Wall Drawing, which is part of a series that encompass repetition and variations of geometric shapes to create complex compositions, is a perfect illustration that sometimes art is overlooked. For example, I have been using the elevators that are on the same wall as this painting for the past 3 weeks, yet I failed to notice this piece of artwork until now. I also found it extremely interesting to know that although the artist designed this piece, it was a team of his assistants that actually painted this creation and brought the artwork to life. LeWitt also has a 23-foot tall wall drawing that adorns the entry of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
The Writer’s Desk by Kirkland is a prime example of art that truly makes a statement. Personally, I noticed the larger than life stamps, typewriter keys and pencils made of granite from a block away. This piece is creatively captivating, but knowing the honorary meaning behind the art increases my level of appreciation. Kirkland’s piece of art pays homage to Rolfe Neill, former publisher of The Charlotte Observer, and represents his passion for truth, the written word and the writing profession.
After an afternoon walk around the strikingly beautiful Center City Charlotte streets, which I already knew were gushing with blossoming buds and luscious trees, I have managed to gain further admiration for this new place I call home through various pieces of art that decorate the city.
Check out the public art walking tour podcast here.