Charlotte-Mecklenburg artists will have their works viewed by regional, national and international travelers.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 27, 2019) – Artworks by local artists representing diverse cultural backgrounds and a variety of media will soon greet travelers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).
As part of CLT’s ongoing terminal improvement program, ASC, in partnership with the Public Art Commission and CLT, commissioned five artists to create original artworks that will be digitally reproduced to scale and installed on select “hold room” walls on CLT Concourses A & B.
“Charlotte Douglas International Airport is proud to partner with the Arts & Science Council and the Public Art Commission,”` said Aviation Director/CEO Brent Cagle. “We are excited our passengers will now have opportunities to see incredible works by some of Charlotte’s best and brightest artists.”
The first artworks – by artists Ráed Al-Rawi and Nico Amortegui – were installed in February.
Al-Rawi, an Iraqi-American artist who began his artistic career as an illustrator and political cartoonist, created two murals – “Journey 1” and “Journey 2.” The works reference how travel is a journey of both the body and mind. The whimsical images of flying animals, people and objects are intended to provide humorous relief to travelers.
“It’s my hope these flying scenes going in the direction of the gates will bring conversations, thoughts and humorous relief to travelers,” Al-Rawi said in his artist statement.
Amortegui, born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, also created two murals. His works, “Catawba Queens” and “We are All on the Same Plane,” are a celebration of women.
“As the Queen City grows, we look to cherish those that came way before us while embracing residents rooted here for generations just as much as the city’s many transplants,” Amortegui said in his statement. “Whether passing through or coming home, these women serve to remind us of the rich history of the Charlotte area and also to note the cultural heart beat that thrives here.”
The remaining artworks are expected to be installed in the coming months at CLT.
The other local artists who created public art for the airport are:
- Charlotte native Nellie Ashford, a “self-taught folk artist” whose work is rooted in memories of life as experienced by Charlotte’s African-American community during the era of “Jim Crow” racial segregation in the American South. Ashford’s work incorporates a mix of materials that often depict actual real-life events and remembrances, individuals and communities with vibrant detail and emotion. Ashford has exhibited at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture at Levine Center for the Arts and Queens University of Charlotte Gallery.
- Jonathan Grauel, an artist and web developer living in Charlotte, North Carolina. He creates semi-representational narratives portraying travel destinations as landscapes seen or remembered through a psychologically, emotionally and spiritually charged lens. Professional artist Bob Rankin played a formative role in Grauel’s creative self-discovery and artistic development. Grauel has created public artwork for the Levine Children’s Hospital pediatric intensive care unit and several Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branches through ASC’s ‘Culture Blocks’ program.
- Charlotte native Ben Premeaux, an artist and educator with a passion for photography and video. His recent work experiments with optical illusions and “impossible” perspectival views to provoke a childlike sense of wonder and questioning of the world in which we live. Premeaux earned a B.S. in Art Education from Appalachian State University and an MIS in Computer Graphics and Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. He taught Art & Photography in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for 12 years and was an Artist-in-Residence the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in 2011.
“We wanted to give our local artists an opportunity to showcase their talents within the renovated terminals,” said ASC Vice President of Public Art Carla Hanzal. “The airport serves as Charlotte’s front door, and these murals will be highly visible as thousands of travelers wait to board their planes.”
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.
About Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), a City of Charlotte department, welcomes more than 46 million passengers annually and ranks among the top 10 busiest airports in the world, averaging 1,400 daily aircraft operations. CLT is served by seven major carriers, 15 regional carriers and three foreign flag carriers with nonstop service to 175 destinations, including 36 international locations and 3 US territories. Each year, the Airport contributes $23 billion to North Carolina’s economy and generates $1.1 billion in state/local taxes.
CLT is operated financially on a fully self-sustaining basis – no general fund revenues have ever been or are appropriated to the cost of the facilities or operations. The Airport continues to build for the future through the Destination CLT development program. See more at cltairport.com/DestinationCLT.