Public Artist Selected for New Main Library

Categories: News & Media
Tiff Massey will share her concept for public artwork at virtual Community Engagement Meeting
Tiff Massey. Photo by Joe Gall.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 03, 2021) – Award-winning interdisciplinary artist Tiff Massey has been selected to create public artwork for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s new Main Library branch. Massey, a 2021 United States Artists Fellow, creates work inspired by African standards of economic vitality, including large-scale and wearable sculptures, music and performance. Influenced by the iconic material culture of 1980s hip-hop, Massey uses contemporary observances of class and race through the lens of an African Diaspora, combined with inspiration drawn from her experience in Detroit.

“We’re pleased to announce Tiff Massey as the artist chosen to create the public artwork for our new Main Library,” said Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO and Chief Librarian Marcellus “MT” Turner. “We envision her artwork will add a wonderful dimension to the new Main Library where our entire Mecklenburg community can experience and enjoy it while accessing resources, connecting with others and participating in our programs and events.”

ASC is hosting a virtual Community Engagement Meeting with the artist from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, June 14. The virtual event provides an opportunity for residents to learn about Massey and her artistic process and engage in a conversation that will inform her concept for the new Main Library public art. To participate in the Community Engagement Meeting with Massey, advance registration is requested.

“Tiff is an artist with a strong, personal vision that excels at expressing her ideas through a variety of mediums and scales of work,” said ASC Vice President of Public Art Todd Stewart. “Her ability to involve others in her creative practice is exemplary. ASC is thrilled to work with her and the Charlotte community to create something meaningful for the new Main Library.”

Massey was recommended for this project by a five-member artist selection panel that was chaired by a Public Art Commission member and consisted of local and regional art and design experts and leadership from the Library and ASC. The Public Art Commission unanimously approved Massey for the commission.

The new Main Library facility will be located at the existing Main Library location, and is a $100-million, 115,000-square-foot project in Uptown Charlotte and is designed by Snøhetta. The new Main Library plans include five levels above ground and one below, two outdoor terraces, an extensive active lobby, a vendor-operated café, advanced technology capabilities including two immersive theaters, collections spread throughout the building, flexible meeting space and rooms, a revamped Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, a main entrance on North Tryon, and more. The Library will break ground on the new building in early 2022 and is scheduled for completion and opening in 2024.

“We have come to learn of the power of Tiff Massey’s work and its ability to bridge cultures and time frames, something the mission of a library also seeks. Tiff’s interdisciplinary explorations are often part of a dialogue between architecture and art. Each piece is a unique gateway, opening new perspectives for all that experience it,” said Craig Dykers, Snøhetta Founding Partner and Architect. “We are delighted to work together, and we know her work will strengthen the mission of the Library and its design.”

Funding for the artwork is in accordance with Mecklenburg County’s Public Art Ordinance, which allocates one percent of the total construction budgets for eligible capital projects for public art. ASC manages the public art programs for the county and the City of Charlotte.

The public artwork for the Library is expected to be completed in 2024.

Recent additions to Mecklenburg County’s public art collection include “Balancing Act,” an interactive public artwork you can make music with completed in December by Montreal-based art and design studio Daily tous les jours; “Nested Hive,” a kaleidoscopic-like pavilion installed in November by the Houston-based artist team RE:site at the new Eastway Regional Recreation Center; “Open Book, Open Mind,” a colorful public artwork by Greensboro artist Jim Gallucci installed in November at the entry of the renovated South County Regional Library; and “Divining,” a dowsing rod-inspired artwork by Buster Simpson installed in September at Latta Nature Center.

# # #

About ASC

ASC is the chief advocate, resource hub and steward for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region’s cultural community. Its core functions include advocacy, cultural education programs, cultural planning, fundraising, grant making, public art and workshops and trainings for the cultural community. ASC works to ensure Culture For All by combining resources from local and state government with those of the private sector to maximize community impact throughout the cultural sector.  ASC’s mission is to ensure access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. Stay up to date on ASC news and happenings at and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is one of America’s leading urban public libraries, serving a community of more than one million residents in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Through 20 locations, targeted outreach and online resources, the Library delivers exceptional services and programs that improve lives and build a stronger community. For more, visit