Why This Matters: Public art provides opportunities to write many narratives into one overarching story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
By Bernie Petit
Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s public art collection gained three new artworks this summer.
Installed in June and July, the artworks celebrate our natural spaces, uplift our communities and recognize those who work in service to our residents.
Both the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have ordinances appropriating 1 percent of eligible capital improvement project funds for public art. ASC manages the public art programs for the city, county and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
ASC works to ensure that public art enhances our public spaces and remains integral to urban and economic development.
Here’s a look at the new public artworks.
Artist: Stacy Levy, a Pennsylvania-based artist who works with rain, rivers, tides, floods and watersheds.
Location: Stevens Creek Nature Preserve, Mint Hill.
About the Artwork: The galvanized steel and concrete artist-designed walkway will give visitors at Stevens Creek Nature Preserve the chance to walk the pattern of flowing water when the center opens in the fall. Its fiberglass grid allows light and rain to penetrate to the meadow, while, in some places, underlying vegetation may poke through the path surface in an interface where human-made structure meets nature.
Levy said in her artist statement that she aims to create ways for people to experience the patterns of water.
“Waterways are getting less and less familiar to us,” she said. “We see creeks as thin blue lines on maps; from our cars we get only glimpses of a creek’s surface. When we actually get down to the banks of a creek, we see just one section of the liquid movement of the water but have no way to sense of the creek’s large-scale meandering passage across the land.
“Meanderwalk gives everyone a way to experience the flowing curves of a creek, like walking on a frozen blue map of water.”
“Tree of Life”
Artist: Yuri Tsuzuki, a Greenville, S.C. steel sculptor who specializes in medium- to large-scale artworks.
Location: Charlotte Fire Department Fire Station #43.
About the Artwork: The cor-ten steel sculpture Tsuzuki created for CFD’s Fire Station #43 takes the form of a tree composed of recognizable elements from the fire station, from flame and a ladder to an axe, the Maltese cross (a symbol of those who dedicate their lives in service to others), a hose and the jaws of life.
The sculpture’s shape acknowledges the tree’s placement in the Charlotte Fire Department badge. A symbol of life and life force, the tree also evokes resilience, quiet strength and sustainability.
Tsuzuki said the sculpture describes the relationship between the firefighters and rescue teams who work there and the neighbors who depend on them.
“I believe that, through art, a story can be told, an idea can be made tangible to promote sharing and dialogue,” she said. “The sculpture pays tribute to the history of the fire department by utilizing the many important symbols
“Pavers: A Story” and “Community”
Artists: Roberto L. Delgado and Rude Calderón, a Los Angeles-based artist team.
Location: CMPD Hickory Grove Station.
About the Artwork: The public artwork for the new CMPD station includes a freestanding sculpture and ceramic tile sidewalk pavers.
“Pavers: A Story” incorporates images provided by residents and police officers in the Hickory Grove community and depict the history and culture of Charlotte.
The colorful pavers decorate the facility sidewalks and lead to the outdoor plaza where “Community,” the 12-foot, 3,200-pound sculpture, is located. The sculptural work, made of basalt, glazed ceramic tile and stainless steel, is topped by a travertine onyx.
“The solar lens in the shape of a hornets’ nest,” Calderón said “is a metaphor for hope and understanding.”