Explore Charlotte’s Neighborhood Street Murals – Part One
There are many ways to build a city.
A city of more than buildings, roads and support systems. And, while planners and architects, developers and construction workers build the incredible infrastructure of our home here, so do creatives and artists. They add whimsy and color and soul to the city. And, our government here in Charlotte recognizes that.
The City of Charlotte’s Placemaking Program was launched in 2018. It is dedicated to “using urban design and placemaking to transform underutilized public spaces into vibrant places for people.” They empower creatives to do this work in the city through supporting projects like the Black Lives Matter mural on the 200 block of South Tryon St. uptown (and the pedestrian plaza test being conducted there right now) and the 11 projects that were recently awarded placmaking grants.
Unlike many City departments focused on long-term, future-based plans, the Placemaking team has the ability to create short-term projects that address the immediate needs and challenges of our population.
Taking It to the Streets
For example, this spring and summer — during the height of COVID-19 — the Placemaking team also organized 14 artists and artist groups to paint 15 street murals in neighborhoods across the city. Artists selected from the program’s artist pool were asked to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on our community through creating a 15-foot, one-lane mural. They were paid $1,000 per mural.
With the help of Charlotte photographer, Ernest Moren, we will share a closer look at 5 of these new street murals a week for the next three weeks. Enjoy these photos and then get out (safely) and experience them yourselves!
Tip Anastasia with Venmo: @Anastasia-Netrebine
Location: 3334 Westfield Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209
A Word from the Artist:
“Whenever I think about COVID-19 and the isolation from other people, it makes me want to run away to a place where I don’t have to worry about infecting or getting infected by it. My concept is to provide people of Charlotte a haven to get their minds off of the constant bombardment of information and statistics about the spreading of the virus. Either a pool or an even more bizarre, a desert oasis in the middle of the street, because we are living in bizarre times where strange has become the new normal.”
Tip ARTC Collaborative with PayPal: email@example.com
Location: 2901 Marney Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
A Word from the Artists:
“The idea behind the design is to illustrate how COVID-19 has infiltrated throughout the world and put our lives on hold essentially. The camouflaged shapes represent the virus and the way it has permeated our society. The colors represent the stream of our everyday hustle and bustle as well as our resilience despite this global pandemic. We hope people will enjoy a little splash of color int the neighborhood.”
“Working in the neighborhood was challenging, yet interesting. We received a lot of mixed reviews, we got positive and negative feedback and even met with some hostility. We also had interesting conversations with local residents and learned more about the history of the neighborhood. These conversations and the events around the country ultimately lead to the decision to include a few Easter eggs into the design to show our support.”
Tip Gina with Venmo: @GinaElizabethFranco
Location: 917 Romany Rd., Charlotte, NC 28203
A Word from the Artist:
NOTE: Gina painted two of the 15 murals. This one is titled “Get Outside.”
“I was inspired by my time in quarantine. This time has been challenging for me. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most has been the time that I’ve been given to connect with nature. I’ve spent countless hours laying in the park and enjoying the sounds, colors and imagery. This design is a whimsical interpretation of my experience.”
“’Get Outside’ is in a residential neighborhood and I knew there would be children playing and lots of pedestrian traffic. I also imagined dogs being walked and that’s why I added a dog on a leash in the design.”
Tip Irisol with Venmo: @Irisolgonzalezvega
Location: Walking path that connects E 8th Street and Bascom Street
A Word from the Artist:
“The street mural is about how the COVID stay at home order forced us to look closer at things. By looking closer into things, we were able to reflect on what is truly valuable to us—our elders, our community, nature, being able to hug our loved ones, and finally ourselves. When people look at my mural, I want them to consider and reflect on what they give attention to on a regular basis. Not for the purpose of guilt, but for intentional living.”
“Although we submitted the design prior to knowing the location, when I found out the mural was going in the Elizabeth neighborhood area, I was excited because that area has a lot of young families. I think that this demographic can benefit from pausing every once in a while to reflect on what is happening in their lives.”
Tip PureLove with CashApp: $ThePurestLove
Location: 2964 Barringer Dr., Charlotte, NC 28208
A Word from the Artist:
“I’d originally named my piece ‘Stop and Smell the Flowers…’ Flowers are my muse; I’m crazy about them! Flowers are such a delicately powerful energy. I think they teach us all a beautiful lesson in impermanence and being present.”
“It’s fitting that my mural was placed in the middle of Irwin Creek Greenway. I wanted to share that simple beauty with the people. COVID-19 and the state of the world have caused us all to be in our feelings in one way or another. I like to encourage my fellow Charlotteans to be present, enjoy the beauty of nature all around us and to stop and smell the flowers. Just one moment of being present and mindful is enough to shift your mood. It is my hope to share the beauty in the world through my rose-colored lenses. I hope to inspire and channel all those good feelings through my work, that’s what I want the people to feel.”
About how the place shaped the final work:
“… when I got out to Barringer Drive I was re-inspired. There’s a flourishing community garden, a peaceful pond and a hilariously active gaggle of geese that constantly crossed the street and disrupted the flow of traffic. Honestly, it was the perfect place for me to get lost in the flowers. The cherry on top was really the community. I met all kinds of folks from all walks of life strolling, jogging, biking and running on the Greenway. Some stopped and chatted and some didn’t stop at all. It didn’t matter to me. I just loved the energy of the community. I wanted to leave my little love note in the form of flowers for the people to enjoy. That’s what my art is about, leaving a little love and then moving along.”
Take a closer look at the works above.
Photography from Ernest Moren.
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