Where Are We in CLT?

Your neighborhood guide to what is going on in the Queen City!

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? From Charlotte With Love

Address: 1440 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

As one South End icon was saying goodbye (we’ll miss you Price’s Chicken Coop), another was coming onto the scene. On Monday, artist Garrison Gist put the finishing touches on a mural he created at Wooden Robot Brewing during South End Blooms, a six-weeks series of pop-up art installations which ended Sunday.

The new work was a collaboration with Rel Mariano, a.k.a. “Trash Genius,” creator of the “From Charlotte with Love” brand, and the brewery and South End.

While most of the South End Blooms installations were temporary, this mural, and one by Amber Thompson nearing completion at the Holiday Inn Express on S. Tryon St., are here to stay

Photo Credit: Rel Mariano a.k.a Trash Genius

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? Wonder Wings at South End Blooms

Address: 213 E Palmer St, Charlotte, N.C. 28203 | Get Directions

Here’s the perfect way to take flight on an exploration of the Rail Trail into South End — take a photo standing in front of “Wonder Wings.” The nearly 7-foot-wide wings are part of #SouthEndBlooms, a weekend series of pop-up art installations and activities through mid-June.

The “Wonder Wings” are fiber art constructions, crocheted by local creatives Ashley Jane McIntyre and Kelly Rose Zimmerman, both members of CRAFT CLT, a collective of artists “connecting the textile arts community through history, skill-building and local partnerships.” The wings took over two weeks to create.

The wings are installed at “Edna’s Porch,” bright yellow swings just off the Rail Trail on E. Carson Street, kitty-corner to Midnight Diner.

#SouthEndBlooms is sponsored by South End and Charlotte Center City Partners and managed by Charlotte Is Creative. Installations (or “Blooms”) range from visual art to floral art, musical performances, dance, henna art and more. Find a line-up of this weekend’s activities here.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? Bojangles Coliseum

Address: 2700 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte, N.C. 28205 | Get Directions

The Chicken Dance. When it comes to mind — as it so often does — so does the place where we perfected it — Bojangles Coliseum. (Go, Charlotte Checkers!)

The building has gone by many names over its long tenure in the Queen City — The Charlotte Coliseum, Independence Arena, “The Big I,” Cricket Arena — and more. While its exterior signage may have changed over time, its proud dome remains intact.

The original Charlotte Coliseum (here’s a 1966 aerial photo, courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler North Carolina Room Image Collection) was completed on Independence Blvd. in 1966, alongside Ovens Auditorium. A.G. “Gouldie” Odell, founder of the architecture firm now known as Odell, was the lead project designer. It could seat between 10,000 and 14,000 people.

At the time it opened, the Charlotte Coliseum was the largest unsupported steel dome coliseum in the world as well as the first free-spanning dome in the United States. Over its long life, the building has played host to Billy Graham, Elvis, the Grateful Dead and a host of sports teams ranging from the Carolina Cougars basketball team to the Carolina Vipers indoor soccer team to the Charlotte Roller Girls.

When the “new” (now extinct) Charlotte Coliseum opened on Tyvola Road in 1988, the dome on Independence went dormant. But, not for long. It reopened in 1994 after renovations and remained open, even after the Charlotte Checkers moved to the Spectrum Center for a decade.

Renamed “Bojangles Coliseum” in 2008, the former Charlotte Coliseum is now connected to Ovens Auditorium as part of the “BOPlex.”

And, it’s still an awesome place to do the chicken dance in tandem with several thousand screaming Charlotteans.

Photo Credit: PowerWorks

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? Elizabeth Home Turned Public Art Installation

Address: | Get Directions

Charlotte “ARTivist” Rosalia Torres-Weiner is at it again, exploring the boundaries of where art is shared. In past batches of The Biscuit, we spoke with Torres-Weiner about taking art experiences to neighborhoods in a truck she converted into a mobile art studio. Last year, Charlotte Is Creative provided her a grant to place 100 pieces of original art in Latinx communities throughout the city.

Now, she’s turned a private home into a work of art.

Torres-Weiner, along with help from Felicia Sutton (an artist Torres-Weiner has worked with since she was in high school) and Edith Covarrubias, were asked by homeowners in the Elizabeth neighborhood to transform their home into a community work of art. Over four days in April, the artists painted colorful flowers on the exterior of the home while neighbors and visitors watched.

“While we were painting, we were constantly amazed by people yelling ‘We love it!’,” said Torres-Weiner. “My favorite story is the landscaping guys (who were Latino) who stopped to take a selfie in front of the house. They said to me, ‘We come to cut the grass in this neighborhood and we leave. Now we see art, and it makes us happy!’”

We’re not going to tell you exactly where this home is. Instead, we encourage you to cruise the community in search of this jolt of happiness and enjoy a special treat hidden in one of Charlotte’s most historic neighborhoods.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? The Shop in North End

Address: 1100 North Graham Street, Charlotte, NC 28206 | Get Directions

Like many warehouses in Charlotte, the walls of this North End gem have weathered a lot of change in the city over the years. Built in the early 1950s, The Shop was originally used as a restaurant and blacksmith shop. By the 1960s, Big Bertha Service Station, an auto repair facility, had opened and would operate in various forms for decades.

When Ascent Real Estate Capital first heard about the project, there was one small auto repair shop still in service, but the majority of buildings were either empty or being used for storage.

Ascent’s vision was to refurbish the three buildings on the site and keep the 1950s-era service station aesthetic that had come to define the property. Some appendages had been added over time — metal awnings over the windows and service bays for cars — but the buildings’ bones had potential, like the metal trusses that created high, barrel-vaulted ceilings.

The property was essentially three buildings that had amalgamated over time. Opening up some walls allowed for more pedestrian and car accessibility and created the potential for some spacious patios. (The Shop’s first tenant, Petty Thieves Brewing Co., is making good use of its space, with a 5,000-square-foot brewery and a large outdoor patio with stunning skyline views.) The development is also home to long-time Charlotte design innovation firm, BOLT Group. The result is a mixed-use site that balances modern utility while weaving itself into the fabric of the neighborhood.

The Shop’s iconic rotating sign is the finishing touch on the project and a nod to the buildings’ storied past. Dating back to the middle of the last century, it’s a landmark of the neighborhood. Ascent made it a requirement of their rezoning to ensure that the form and structure of the sign be maintained.

Ascent partnered with Modulex Carolinas — a signage and branding business that restored the vintage Park Road Shopping Center City — to refurbish the face of the sign and install a new motor so it could rotate once again.

“We believe this is adaptive re-use done right and are excited to play our part to invest in a project that showcases the history of our community while creating new opportunities for businesses to come to North Graham Street,” said Brent Cobb with Modulex Carolinas. “The sign is a piece of history, and preserving it symbolizes what this project means to the North Graham corridor.”

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? The Pauline Tea Bar Apothecary

Address: 2326 Arty Ave, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

When you think of the word apothecary, you may think about a place that makes medicine for your body. (The English majors in us always think about Romeo & Juliet.) When Sherry Waters thinks of the word “apothecary,” it conjures up images of a place that makes medicine — or in this case, tea — for your soul.

The Pauline Tea Bar Apothecary, located in West Charlotte’s historic Camp Greene community, is doing just that.

The tea bar was created as a place to heal your mind, relax your body, and rejuvenate your spirits. Before opening The Pauline, Waters was a Fund Development Director for a local nonprofit. That’s when Waters realized she had a passion for creating moments of spiritual care.

“Over the last several years, prior to opening The Pauline Tea-Bar Apothecary in 2019, I found that I was offering spiritual care to donors and volunteers that I was serving in the nonprofit arena that I was working,” said Waters. “A one-year chaplain residency at Atrium allowed me to discover my gift of creating sacred space for respite and restorative calm.”

The discovery of her gift led to the opening of The Pauline.

Photo Credit: Michael Maxwell

At its simplest, The Pauline Tea-Bar Apothecary is a place to get a cup of tea. But it’s more than that. It’s a space that encourages meditation, prayer and reflection.

Every first Friday of the month, the herbal tea lounge hosts live music and open mic poetry nights. They play host to a wide variety of holistic wellness workshops to assist spiritual healing. Workshops range from tai chi to group meditation to restorative yoga. And (our favorite part) the walls are covered in art created by local artists available for purchase.

When deciding on a name for the tea house, Waters wanted to choose one that honored her grandmothers, Pauline and Lena, who instilled the value of community in her.

“They exhibited all of these attributes by the way they welcomed community onto their front porches and living rooms for lively fellowship, conversation and tea,” recalled Waters. “They created safe and lovely spaces for conversation and for people to just be themselves.”

On what she wants visitors of The Pauline to experience, Waters has this to say: “Our core values say it best … gracious hospitality, restorative environment and a peaceful presence.”

Get a Cuppa’ at The Pauline


Featured Image Photo Credit: Michael Maxwell

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We in CLT? Dilworth Artisan Station

Address: 118 E Kingston Ave, Charlotte, N.C. 28203, USA | Get Directions

With so much public art in South End, it’s easy to overlook the work of more than 25 local creatives waiting for you inside Dilworth Artisan Station (DAS) at 118 E Kingston Ave.

Much like Camp North End, the building that houses DAS has had a rich life. It’s been a furniture factory and a textile mill. During World War II, soldiers’ cars were stored there.

Today, nestled along the light rail line on Kingston Ave., the three-story building is an active art hub where artists create, show and sell their work. The art isn’t just inside the Station. In fact, mural artist Mike Wirth is painting three exterior walls of the building right now with help from Arko and Drew Newpher

To help us explore the building, Charlotte photographer, Brooke Brown, stopped by to tour the Station and meet artists Caroline Simas, Evelyn Henson, Kim Gibbs, Bruce WelnackBridgette Martin and Eva Crawford. Take a tour of Brooke’s photos below.

DAS is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and plays host to gallery crawls the first Friday and Saturday of the month.

Photo Gallery by Brooke Brown

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We in CLT? Rainbow Animal Wall

Address: 701 Keswick Ave, Charlotte, N.C. 28206, USA | Get Directions

New construction at Camp North End (CNE) is nothing … well … new. But, what is new is how art is incorporated into it.

The work being done along Keswick Avenue across from Free Range Brewing and Goodyear Arts requires a long construction fence that will be up for at least another year. It’s a prominent area at CNE, and the project management team decided it needed an art infusion. And, they called in Charlotte artist Jen Hill to help.

Hill assembled a diverse team of local creatives to paint a “rainbow animal wall” on the construction cloth that runs the length of the fence. The color scheme runs the ROYGBIV spectrum. Thanks to photographer Brooke Brown, we’re able to show you photos of the art and the artists below.

While the work is painted on a “canvas” that is normally discarded after construction wraps, CNE says they’re hoping to repurpose it if it’s still in good condition a year from now.

Artists involved in the project:

DIRECTIONS: 701 Keswick Ave. Charlotte, N.C. 28206

Photo Gallery from Brooke Brown

Your location is needed to show this content.

Sharon Dowell on “Transit” & Her Creative Process

Address: | Get Directions

Charlotte artist Sharon Dowell is at it again. Over the past 16 years, she’s created her distinctive murals, which often feature a complex design of bright colors and intersecting lines, across the Queen City — from Camp North End to South End to East Charlotte. Now, she’s added University City to the list.

PHOTO CREDIT: Brooke Brown Photography

Dowell was commissioned to paint a mural called “Transit,” in the newly completed UNC Charlotte Marriott & Conference Center. The 226-room hotel sits along the LYNX Blue Line at the intersection of North Tryon St. and J.W. Clay Blvd.

Inspiration for “Transit”

The piece, in which Dowell invested 100 hours from conception to completion, was curated by Denise Joseph of NINE dot ARTS art consultancy.

It was designed to incorporate landmarks and themes related to the university.

She also incorporated the design choices made at the hotel — carpet samples, furniture textures, colors and more — “to ensure that the work flows with the feel of the space.”

That aspect required an unusual amount of color matching, she says.

“Intertwining themes course through all of my work; the energy of place, renewal, temporality, shifting facets and planes overlapping,” said Dowell.

“This mural incorporates iconic architecture from UNC Charlotte’s main and uptown campuses and transit forms, exploring the idea of education culminating in growth, expansion and connection.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Brooke Brown Photography

“It is a special piece for me, as I am a UNCC arts alumni and also taught in the art department and managed the Rowe Galleries. Walking around the hotel, I see artwork from professors who positively impacted, encouraged me and changed the course of my life.”

A Complicated Process

Looking at a completed mural, it can be difficult to visualize the steps that went into bringing it to life.

To give us a sense of how her 100 hours were spent on “Transit,” Dowell shared her process flow with us below … as well as a few “pro tips” for emerging mural artists.

Sharon’s Process

Initial Client Interaction

  • Project overview
  • Portfolio shared, explain contract process to client
  • Cost estimates/explain range of pricing based on square footage, equipment needed, location of mural, surface prep, detail of design, etc.

Site Visit/Client Meeting

  • Measurements
  • Site photos, plans/blueprints given
  • Discuss imagery, colors, timeline, etc.

Estimate Sent & Contract Signed

  • Half deposit accepted to begin design process

Design Process

  • Create several sketches (Dowell manipulates photos digitally in Photoshop or Procreate)
  • One or two iterations of chosen design before client approval

Mural Prep/Packing

  • Determine schedule and site access hours
    • “As a woman, I always want to determine the safety of the site and best hours to paint, where to store supplies and equipment,” Dowell said.
  • Determine closest access to power (for projection or powering up her portable speaker; “Gotta’ have tunes!”) and a sink (for cleaning brushes)
  • Hire assistant
  • Commercial liability policy needed?
  • Construction site: Determine what safety gear is needed
  • Rent lift or bring scaffold or ladders
  • Color match and order paint or spray paint
  • Other needs: brushes, protective plastic, tape, stencils, painter’s edge, bucket, paint sprayer, etc
  • Water, snacks, sunscreen, speaker, umbrella, etc.

Painting the durn thing!

  • Plan on working six to 10 hours a day
  • Share social media tidbits of the process
  • Completion/approval by client and invoice for balance of project
  • Photograph the mural for documentation for portfolio, website and social media
  • Remember to thank those that made it possible

Completion celebration!

  • “I usually treat myself — to an ice cream cone, a new dress or a nice dinner with my sweetie,” Dowell said. “Something to say: Yay! You did it!”

Pro Tips

  • Wear hiking boots to support your ankles or New Balance sneakers (“My back never hurts now,” Dowell said.)
  • Take a day off to rest every five or six days and book a massage in the middle of the project (“My shoulder and arm muscles are now thanking me.”)
  • Seasonal game-changers: Pop-up umbrella in summer, wool socks and leggings in winter
  • Use a pillow and knee pads for crouching on the ground for long periods of time
  • Talenti Gelato containers are the best for holding small samples of paint (“I eat so many, I should be able to write those things off on my taxes!”)
  • “Having a big ego is lame, but do recognize that the universe has given you a talent that is unique and special and is of value.”
  • “One often has to hustle. Understandable, but constant ‘‘busyness’ is not fulfilling. Find balance, ways to rest, connect to yourself and make time for those you love and things that nourish you. This unblocks creative blocks and allows you to blossom and your work to soar to new heights.”
  • “Boundaries are important. People constantly expect free or cheap work or push the limit if they can. Compromises will happen when working on a commission, but ensure that your contract has limitations on how many revisions you will make in the design or mural painting process.”

Gallery of Sharon’s Process on “Transit”

MAIN PHOTO CREDIT (Above): Brooke Brown Photography

A Few More Paint Strokes with Sharon Dowell


Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? Bree Stallings Mural at Time Out Youth

Address: 3800 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

Artist Bree Stallings rarely slows down. In the past two months, the artist who led the way on the “We Are Hip Hop” mural at Camp North End has painted new murals in Gastonia and Hope Haven in Charlotte … and now at Time Out Youth, a nonprofit that serves LGBTQ youth from age 11 to 20.

With help from a Cultural Vision Grant from the Arts & Science Council and a $1,000 “Bear HUG” grant from Charlotte Is Creative, Stallings mobilized 20 local youth to paint a new mural on the side of Time Out Youth’s building on Monroe Road over the course of three days last week.

The mural is the culmination of Holding Space, a creative initiative focused on developing identity-based workshops. The stories and insights shared by workshop participants inspired the mural they created.

Learn more about Time Out Youth here.

Featured Photo Credit: Brooke Brown

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? “Being”/“Man Mold”

Address: 1900 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

Public art is everywhere in Charlotte. And, not even COVID-19 seems to be slowing it down. In fact, nine new pieces of public art have been unveiled since July 2020 with much more underway.

It’s not hard to learn about recent entries into the public art ecosystem, but what about those that have been in Charlotte “forever?” Information on those classics can be hard to come by.

A Public Art Mystery

The 10-foot sculpture by the Metroview building near the intersection of Caldwell Street and Randolph Road has long been a source of curiosity for us at The Biscuit. Featuring two halves of a mold with the gold-painted impression of a man on either side, this work has seemingly “always been there.”

It was there when Biscuit editor, Tim Miner, drove past on the way to Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in high school. And, it was there when he drove past on the way to his sleep apnea test in his forties. But, who made it? What is it called? That’s where it gets murky. There’s not even information on or near the work.

Meet Austin Fox

We turned to Instagram and the wise creative, Cher Cosper, knew the “who.” It’s the work of artist Austin Fox. A dive into Charlotte periodicals revealed that the work was commissioned by Dr. Reed Gaskin and his medical partners for $9,000 and was installed in 1974. There are some reports that Fox’s son was the model behind the work.

What’s In A Name?

The Charlotte Observer reported the work’s title as “Being” in a 1987 article and “Man Mold” in 1991.

The discrepancy of the work’s name is lost to time, but not the story of its “scandal.” With its depiction of male nudity, the sculpture drew complaints immediately, with some talk of relocating it to the Mint Museum.

Of the controversy, Fox told The Charlotte News in 1981: “I said they could just dump it in the river.”

No Stranger to Scrutiny

Controversy and community reaction weren’t new to Fox. In 1967, a sculpture of a nude woman he made was stolen from outside the main library on Tryon Street. In the 1960s and ‘70s, his sculptures of “Femlin,” a nude character wearing only black, hip-high boots and opera gloves, graced the cover of Playboy magazine.

But, “Being”/ “Man Mold” had staying power in the Charlotte consciousness. In 1991, Fox told The Charlotte Observer, “There isn’t a week that someone doesn’t mention that to me.”

Austin Fox Passed Away December 2020

In researching this, we learned that Fox died on Dec. 4, 2020, in a senior living center in Mint Hill at the age of 92. But, his work lives on, creating curiosity … and perhaps a little scandal.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? Canine Café Charlotte

Address: 125 Remount Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

Sit. Stay. Now, run.

This Tuesday, Feb. 23 was International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. (But, you dog lovers probably already knew that.)

One of our favorite spots to gather provisions for the occasion is Canine Café Charlotte, a fixture in South End for 16 years.

Café Founder Barbara Burg began baking for dogs in 1995 when her pup, TJ, developed allergies to commercial treats. Two years later, she opened a natural pet treat bakery in Pineville.

“[My business partner and I] had to move to a larger store with retail so we could sell more all-natural treats and products made in the U.S. which is very important to us,” Burg said, which is the reason they opened their Charlotte store.

In 2004, the first Canine Café location opened at the intersection of Camden Road and South Tryon Street, where it had a larger bakery than Burg’s previous shop and a retail store. Six years later, Burg and her business partner and spouse, Meredith Thompson, needed even more space and moved their cafe and onsite bakery current location at the intersection of Remount Road and South Boulevard.

All treats are made from the same ingredients used in human bakeries and kitchens: flour, 100% natural peanut butter, bananas, cream cheese, pureed pumpkin, unsweetened apple sauce, cinnamon and more.

Homemade doggie treats include “pawty cakes” (a 4-inch round cake), cannolis, brownies, tarts, frozen and chilled doggie daiquiris and more. What’s the hottest treat flying out of the oven these days? Burg says the peanut butter cream cheese tart- pair it with a doggie daiquiri she recommends, for a special treat.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? 7th Street Station Interactive Art

Address: | Get Directions

When you head uptown, you expect the skyscrapers to impress you. But, you don’t expect them to sing to you. Yet, that’s exactly what the 7th Street Station parking garage does.

When the deck opened in 1998, the team behind it wanted to add a little wonder to the building. 7th Street Station is accented by more than 400 colored panels and 30 plexiglass fins that soar to 30 feet and light up, as well as 30 sensor pads below. When you touch the pads, they emit sounds, light and, sometimes, laughter. (We’re not advocating touching the pads, mind you, unless you use your elbow. This was long before COVID-19.)

All of this is part of “Touch My Building,” an interactive work of public art by Christopher Janney. He created it to disrupt passersby in a surprising and playful way, encouraging them to interact with the architecture of the building … and each other.

Like a clock, the building “plays” on the hour. A 10-inch plaque on the side of the deck presents a riddle. If you solve it, the building responds with a special sound and light show.


Seventh Street Station is also the site of a special installation of “Love, Charlotte” giant, 8-foot-wide postcards created by Charlotte-based artists. The giant postcards are waiting for you (and your camera) outside 7th Street Public Market starting this weekend. Swing by, see them up close and take photos. Then, pop into the market for a treat.

After dark, take the light rail to SouthEnd for the “I HEART Rail Trail” light art exhibition, which will be up through March 7.

The “Love, Charlotte” installation features work from Garrison Gist, Tim Parati, Sana Nisar, Euli, KiiK Create and Amber Thompson. It was sponsored by Charlotte Center City Partners.

Some information for this story was sourced from WFAE.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff

Address: 316 Remount Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

Both professional artists and weekend painters following Bob Ross’ step-by-step instructions on TV love Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff with equal fervor.

Professionals have known about the Remount Road resource since it came to town in 2007. A lot of beginner artists — many of whom took up art as a hobby during the pandemic lockdown — have discovered it, too.

Prior to its Charlotte opening, local artists were willing to make the trek to its original location in Boone for brushes, canvases, paints and easels.

And if you’re wondering how to make the best use of those supplies, Cheap Joe’s offers art classes. For now, they’re all online.

Website: www.cheapjoes.com
For online art classes: https://workshopper.cheapjoes.com

Your location is needed to show this content.

Lead With Love Billboard

Address: 2156 N Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28206 | Get Directions

When you believe in a message, you may share some words on social media or put a small bumper sticker on your car. When you REALLY believe in a message, you put those words on the biggest billboard you can find and you make sure everyone sees. And that is exactly what our friend, the one-and-only Ms. #OHmazing herself, Ohavia Phillips, did.

Ohavia teamed up with The Savage Way (who designed the art) and paid for a billboard to make sure that her “Lead With Love” message rings loud and proud through the Queen City. She sees it as an investment in the community.

The billboard will be up for the entirety of Black History Month. Ohavia calls it “a message of love for Charlotte and beyond.”


Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? Ballantyne Bulls

Address: | Get Directions

It’s been said that Ballantyne is boring. Okay, okay. We’ve said it. But, that was harsh and a load of bulls … well, wait. We’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Ballantyne is home to some of Charlotte’s most playful examples of public art — the three Ballantyne bulls. The next time you’re headed to a chain restaurant or to see a lawyer about estate planning, make time to chill out with three bull sculptures by artist Peter Woytuk.  They can always be found lounging in Ballantyne Corporate Park. And, for good reason. At a reported 2,000 pounds each, they’re not going anywhere. 

Nestled in the grass with no pedestals, the bulls are approachable. Like the Hugh McManaway statue at Queens and Providence Roads, they don’t mind being dressed up. (PLEASE NOTE: They can get SUPER HOT in sunlight.)

Pro Tip: The bulls are just the beginning. Several sculptures of ravens, also by Peter Woytuk, are scattered throughout the Corporate Park (low AND high). Look carefully and enjoy some bird watching.

Directions: “Our Park” in Ballantyne Corporate Park

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We In CLT? Ovens Auditorium

Address: 2700 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte, N.C. 28205, USA | Get Directions

“Charlotte will grow with these buildings, and grow into them.”  

Charlottean David Ovens led the committee that built the original Charlotte Coliseum and the auditorium that still bears his name on Independence Blvd. He shared the words above with the Charlotte Observer on Sept. 8, 1955. That evening saw more than 400 of Charlotte’s civic leaders attend a red carpet unveiling of Ovens Auditorium, which hosted its first public event, a performance by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, less than a month later.

According to Ovens, naysayers told him Charlotte had “built greater than the times called for” with the construction of the auditorium and the coliseum. His response to them was, “They’ll take that back later.”

In the end, history has been on Ovens’ side. Generations of Charlotteans have enjoyed plays, musicals and performances by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Diana Ross, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Jerry Seinfeld and Aziz Ansari in the auditorium. (Not to mention hundreds of thousands of Charlotte students who have attended graduation ceremonies there.) 

According to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), the auditorium has played host to more than 7,000 events over its 65 years. It’s stood the test of time. Ovens Auditorium and the Coliseum outlasted the “new” Coliseum that opened off Tyvola Road in 1988 … and was demolished in 2007. With a new addition connecting the auditorium to the Coliseum completed in 2020, it looks like Ovens’ retirement is still years away.

While live performances aren’t happening now, the auditorium stands as a reminder that Charlotte can rise to the challenge and that culture and the arts will always give us reasons to gather, celebrate and connect with one another.

See photos of the red carpet event on Sept. 8, 1955 from the former Charlotte News here.


Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We in CLT? Sankofa Mural

Address: 2120 Beatties Ford Rd, Charlotte, N.C. 28216, USA | Get Directions

The Biscuit doesn’t have a “Man/Woman of the Year” award. But if we did, Ricky Singh would be a top contender.

As one of the founders of the Charlotte Lab School, Singh is no stranger to the creative scene. But, in the wake of a shooting along Beatties Ford Rd. that claimed the lives of four Charlotteans on June 22, he went into overdrive. 

With community leaders and artists, Singh started the “Beatties Ford Strong” movement, organizing murals and public art in West Charlotte to give neighbors something positive to rally around. 

From there, he hasn’t stopped — working with SHARE Charlotte on #GivingTuesdayCLT, painting a #CountOnMeCLT mural, partnering with the Charlotte Symphony on a video filmed along Beatties Ford Rd. and preparing to open the Lab School’s new campus on South Tryon St.

Looking Backward to Look Forward

Over the months, one project has eluded Singh — a mural on the side of the Queens Mini Mart at 2120 Beatties Ford Rd., the site of the June shooting. Temporary memorials were set up on the sidewalk since the day of the shooting, but Singh wanted to do something more hopeful and permanent. He was patient and worked with Historic West End Partners to contact property owners and get the proper permissions.

Now, he’s in the process of finishing a mural there with help from Makayla Binter and a grant from the NoDa Neighborhood Association. It’s based on the sankofa, a metaphorical symbol from Ghana. The sankofa depicts a bird whose neck is reaching backward to pluck an egg from its back. It’s a reminder that we must look into the past … however painful it may be … to create a positive future.

Singh says West End neighbors have stopped by to thank him, share stories of friends they’ve lost at that site and, sometimes, cry with him. (We can confirm that. During our eight-minute interview, Singh was stopped five times by residents who wanted to thank him.)

“This is a non-conventional memorial and another measure of ‘putting down the guns’ and moving forward,” said Singh. “To me, this is sacred ground, and people are starting to see it that way, too.” 

Watch a WBTV interview with Singh at the site of the mural here.

Photographer Brooke Brown Caught the Creative Process

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We in CLT: Anderson’s

Address: 1617 Elizabeth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204, USA | Get Directions

The restaurant may have closed in 2006, but the sign is still up. More importantly, the pies are still being baked. 

The three Anderson brothers opened Anderson’s (originally called Mercury Sandwich Shop) in 1946 across from Presbyterian Hospital at Hawthorne and Elizabeth avenues, and the legend grew from there. Here’s a look at Anderson’s in 1989 and the dining room in 1960.

When brother Jimmie took over the business, he soon began advertising “The World’s BEST Pecan Pie” and serving generous slices of Southern deliciousness every day. Jimmie’s son, Gary, took the reins in 1979, continuing the traditions of this Charlotte landmark, where local leaders would start their day making plans and deals over a hot breakfast.⁣

Eventually, the dining room closed, but Gary kept the kitchen and transitioned the business to catering. Anderson’s still offers 10-inch, extra-deep pecan pies with a recipe that hasn’t changed since 1959, as well as chocolate pecan, coconut cream, lemon meringue and banana pudding — just to name a few.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Herrin Bros. Coal & Ice

Address: | Get Directions

You’ve been to NoDa. You know the murals, the artist trash cans, the Neighborhood Theatre, the Evening Muse, Salud and so much more. But, have you taken a left on 36th Street to see one of the coolest old signs in Charlotte? 

On the right, just beyond the light rail overpass, the Herrin Bros. Coal & Ice sign awaits you. And, it’s cool. Really cool. In fact, it’s been one of the symbols of Charlotte’s coolness since 1929, when neighbors relied on Herrin’s ice for refrigeration and coal for heating.

While refrigeration and heating have changed considerably in the 91 years since Herrin Bros. was founded, the company is still in operation, providing bulk ice for restaurants, events and more. And, the sign, while faded and weather-worn, still stands with its plucky devil raising his pitchfork high as a reminder of Charlotte’s past.

But, the sign may not be there much longer. The site is slated for a future mixed-use development. We suggest you light a fire under yourself and get out there to see — and shoot — the Herrin Bros. sign for yourself.

P.S. If you’re looking for a cool (yeah, we did it again) gift for the Charottean in your life, you can buy a T-shirt with the Herrin’s logo on Etsy.




Your location is needed to show this content.

Shotgun Houses on 7th Street

Address: 415 N Myers St, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA | Get Directions

Huddled together behind the former AME Zion Church on 7th Street are two little houses with a big Charlotte history … and, hopefully, a new life to come.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, these two homes were most likely built in the 1890s by the same company that established the Dilworth neighborhood. They belong to an architectural style known as “shotgun houses,” a reference to their design. Folks said you could fire a shotgun at the front door, down the central hallway and out the back door without hitting anything because they’re built on a long, central hallway that connects the two.

Both homes once stood on Bland Street in a bustling community known then as “Blandville.” But, after Charlotte’s urban renewal efforts in the 1970s, they were the only two left when the City Council designated them as “historic properties” In January 1986, the homes were moved to 7th Street to sit behind the Afro-American Cultural Center, which moved to Stonewall Street as the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in 2009, leaving the houses behind.


But, another move and new life are hopefully around the corner for these two Charlotte treasures. The West Side Community Land Trust has teamed with the Gantt Center to raise funds to move the shotgun houses to the Lakeview community and refurbish them so they can be affordable housing for two future families. Click here for more information or to contribute to this effort.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We in CLT? “Man Feeding Poor Man”

Address: 330 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA | Get Directions

Over the past few years, Uptown Charlotte has become a hotbed of mural art, thanks to artists from Talking Walls and many others. In fact, TWO new murals have been painted the 7th Street side of Duckworth’s and Spirit Square (across from Victoria Yard), one from Duarte Designs and the other from Caitlin McDonagh, in the last two years.

But, if you’re not careful, you’ll miss the mural above nestled in between them. And, that would be a shame as it is the absolute grand-daddy of Uptown murals. It may be faded and a little weather-worn now, but this piece represents a significant event in the cultural life of the Queen City.

Entitled “Man Feeding Poor Man,” the mural has adorned the side of Spirit Square, unveiled to the public on Feb. 6, 1992. It was painted by 15 students from University Park School under the supervision of artist Allen “Big Al” Carter. “Big Al” was in town for a short, three-week working tour through Charlotte.  “Big Al” provided the vision and the students filled in the design according to his instruction, as he had in other cities.

While in Charlotte, “Big Al” helped create other community murals at local recreation centers and displayed work in the Knight Gallery. He also participated in a panel discussion, “Public Murals Through Community Involvement” — which sounds like it could easily be scheduled for next week — with local artists like Tommie Robinson and Ruth Ava Lyons, who remain pillars of the local art community.

The next time you’re Uptown checking out new murals, give this one a moment or two. It hails from a time when the Center City was a little quieter and we were pondering how public art can help build community and spark discussion — a notion that inspired the newer murals on either side of it.

** Thanks to Charlottean Karen Beach and the 1992 paper, “A Report on an Arts Administration Internship with Spirit Square Center for the Arts” by Karen L. Thompson for information used in this story.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Georgie Nakima’s New Mural at East Town Market

Address: 3112 Milton Rd, Charlotte, NC 28215 | Get Directions

It may seem like murals pop-up overnight, but they require a great deal of time, planning and patience. They also contain a great deal of secret wonder. Much of the base work artists use to establish the mural is covered up by the final product. If you’re vigilant — you can catch an artist at work. That allows you to peer into their process and see the “mural under the mural.”

This week, we popped by East Town Market to find Georgie Nakima expanding a mural she created last year. If you act fast, you may just get there in time to watch her work, ask her questions (mask up, though, please) and witness her work expand from the initial spray-painted lines to her multi-colored geometric style. Read more about her mural process and methodology here.

If you don’t get there in time, you will still find an incredible piece of public art AND you can swing by BW Sweets for a treat. It’s just around the corner from the mural.

[TIP: The mural is just down from Compare Foods on the N. Sharon Amity Side.]

A Few More of Georgie’s Paint Strokes


A Video of Georgie Working by Charlotte Star Room

Georgie Nakima ‘interstellar’ murals @ Link Montford from Charlotte Star Room on Vimeo.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Where Are We in CLT? Santé

Address: 130 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

If you feel like someone’s watching you the next time you head uptown via Providence Road, there’s a good reason. Someone is. 

Not “someone,” exactly. More like “something.” This summer, Charlotte artist Matthew Steele installed “Santé,” a large wall sculpture on the exterior facade of Charlotte Skin and Laser on Providence Road.

The work, which was cut and assembled from more than 150 sheets of aluminum composite to resemble a human face, was a commission originally conceived by Dr. Elizabeth Roston, owner of Charlotte Skin and Laser

It took a team of Charlotte creatives to make Roston’s vision a reality. After hearing the idea, Sonya Pfeiffer, owner of Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, contacted Lauren Harkey, owner of Hodges Taylor Contemporary Gallery. Lauren, in turn, reached out to Matthew.  According to an article on the Hodges Taylor website, Roston’s ultimate wish was to bring new character to her building while adding an artistic contrast to the style of newer construction being built around her practice. 

With the help of Matthew Steele, gallery owners, the UNC Charlotte’s College of Art + Architecture, several fabricators and a construction team, she did it.

Fast Facts about Santé:

  • More than 150 sheets of aluminum composite were used to make it
  • More than 10,000 nuts, bolts and brackets were needed to assemble it
  • It’s 20 feet wide and 13 feet tall
  • 15 different sections were assembled on-site to build the final sculpture

DIRECTIONS: 130 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207


Your location is needed to show this content.

The Hope Tank

Address: | Get Directions

Where Are We in CLT?

Okay. This one is a bit of a cheat. In the case of the Hope Tank, the question is more “Where ISN’T it?” than where it is. You’ll find the Tank exactly where it’s needed, where Charlotte’s homeless are living. 

After more than a year in development, the Hope Tank is a mobile shower and laundry center created by the local nonprofit, Hope Vibes. The organization’s mission is to bring awareness, hope and real solutions to the homeless epidemic. The Hope Tank provides showers and laundry services, as well as toilets and sinks to those living on the street. 

While there are other mobile shower vehicles in operation around the country, the Hope Tank was designed to offer beauty as well as function. For the Hope Vibes team, just providing mobile showers and laundry wasn’t enough. They incorporated art and beauty to provide a comfortable, attractive experience with a “home-like” feel.

Fast Facts on the Hope Tank

To date, the Hope Tank is in service only one day a week, but Hope Vibes is planning to increase that as they find partners throughout the city that will provide water and access to their City clean-outs.  

Development of the Hope Tank was made possible by donations from individuals, businesses and local churches. The Tank relies on donations of towels, wash clothes, liquid soap, low sud laundry detergent, and monetary donations. Those interested in volunteering with the Tank or other Hope Vibes programs can do so here.

Ride or Die with Hope Vibes


An Extra Helping: We interviewed Adrienne and Emmanuel Threatt, founders of Hope Vibes, on the Biscuit CLT Podcast last year. Listen to the story of how the seeds of their future non-profit were sown on their very first date.

Take a Photo Tour of the Tank


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hope Vibes Inc (@hopevibesclt) on

Your location is needed to show this content.

Talking Walks at ThExchange

Address: 5605 77 Center Dr, Charlotte, NC 28217, USA | Get Directions

If you haven’t had a reason to visit ThExchange — a mutli-building office park off of Tyvola Road — you do now.

For the third year of Talking Walls, a week-long installation blitz of new murals painted by local and visiting artists, the organizers chose to switch up the concept. They clustered the murals in one location — ThExchange. In less than a week, eight selected artists created six new murals throughout the campus. They’re open to the public and, if Instagram is to be believed, already drawing photographers and art lovers from across the city. 

One of them was our friend, photographer Brooke Brown (who shot our tour of NoDa’s new art-enhanced trash cans last week). And, she was kind enough to share.

Take a “photo safari” of Brooke’s Talking Walls photographs here.

Then, head out to see them for yourself.


Your location is needed to show this content.

Thomas Spratt & King Haigler on the Trail of History

Address: 310 N Kings Dr, Charlotte, NC 28204, USA | Get Directions

#WhereAreWeInCLT? On the section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway across from the Grady Cole Center and the Philip L. Van Every Culinary Arts Building on CPCC’s campus, you’ll find these two bronze figures standing together, looking out into the distance. ⁣

The statues sculpted by Charlotte artist Chas Fagan (the sculptor who created the James Jack equestrian statue not much further down the trail) are of Thomas Spratt and King Haigler, the English name for the tribal Catawba chieftain. These two men and their bond were fundamental to the establishment of the Charlotte region in the 1750s. Their friendship paved the way for peace between the settlers and the Catawba Indian Nation in North and South Carolina.⁣

These are just two statues positioned along the greenway as part of the Trail of History, a collection of statues that serves as a museum without walls — highlighting important people and moments in Charlotte’s history. There are eight stops along the Trail today, with statues of Charlotte luminaries Julius Chambers, Romare Bearden, Dr. Annie Alexander and more planned for the future.  

BONUS: Once you’ve traveled the Trail of History, we recommend you continue your outdoor time travel excursions by visiting Mecklenburg County’s six operating historic former homesites from the 18th and 19th centuries: Historic Latta Plantation, Historic Rural Hill, Charlotte Museum of History, Historic Rosedale, Hugh Torrance House and Store and President James K. Polk State Historic Site.

Visit other fun #WhereAreWeInCLT locations we’ve visited in The Biscuit.

Stroll Further Down the Trail of History


Your location is needed to show this content.

“Continuum” at the TransAmerica Square Dome

Address: 401 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

It’s easy to have your head down while walking around. You may be watching your feet to ensure you don’t trip or you might have your eyes glued to your phone screen as you await the next Twitter notification that confirms that 2020 is trash. But, we implore you to look up when walking around the Queen City because you’re missing out on the creative sights hidden in every nook and cranny of Charlotte.

And when we say look up, we mean look UP! This fresco painted by Ben Long has graced the dome of TransAmerica Square since 1998. Titled “Continuum,” the fresco is a whopping 1,047 square feet of hand-painted goodness.

Words from Mr. Long’s website about the meaning behind the fresco: “The subject matter represents the cycle of life’s continuous disintegration and rebirth, thus reinforcing the notion that the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Fun Fact: The man painting on the canvas is a self-portrait that Ben Long decided to include as an easter egg in the fresco. There are all kinds of hidden details in the painting. Another one of our favorites is that the stoic man underneath the tent on the left is none other than Charlotte banking legend, Hugh McColl.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Charlotte Hornets Minor League Baseball

Address: 324 S Mint St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Did you know that there were Charlotte Hornets in the Queen City as early as 1892? Charlotte’s first minor league baseball team held the name nearly 96 years before the buzz of the NBA came to the Queen City. The baseball team existed until 1973.⁣

Later, in 1976, a new Double-A team called the Charlotte Orioles came to town. The O’s would be rebranded as the Charlotte Knights in 1988… the same year that the Charlotte Hornets would make their reappearance in the Queen City, but this time on the basketball court.⁣

You can find this mural along with three others outside of Truist Field, the Knight’s beautiful stadium in Uptown. Each mural features stadiums of the past and pays homage to the history of baseball in Charlotte. The murals were painted by Scott Nurkin of The Mural Shop.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Charlotte Rescue Mission Rebound Center

Address: 907 W 1st St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Just outside Uptown, across the street from the Panthers’ “space-age practice bubble” on Cedar Street, the Charlotte Rescue Mission is a beautiful reminder of Charlotte’s past, but it’s an incredibly active part of our present. ⁣

From its residential recovery programs that help people struggling with the disease of addiction achieve long-term sobriety to Community Matters Cafe, the Charlotte Rescue Mission provides a place for Charlotte to gather while providing career training that gives program-members a second chance at life and work.⁣ That’s the building’s present … but what about its past?

Prior to becoming home to Charlotte Rescue Mission’s Rebound Program in the 1990s and their Community Matters Cafe in 2019, these buildings were known as the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building and the Standard Oil Company Complex respectively.

With the addition of railroads in 1852, Charlotte’s growing textile industry was prepared to boom. By 1910, Charlotte was the heart of a bustling textile industry region in the southeast. These two buildings being built in the 1910s and 1920s were a direct result of companies moving to the Queen City to capitalize on the city’s growing economy.

Charlotte’s past is often hard to find in our city’s architecture so we love to see when organizations like Charlotte Rescue Mission choose to “rescue” these spaces rather than tear down and build anew.

Your location is needed to show this content.

“Public Display of Affection” in Downtown Matthews

Address: 120 South Trade Street, Matthews, NC 28105 | Get Directions

Usually, we think PDA is a little icky. (Come on people, get a room.) Especially now that we are supposed to be social distancing. (Seeing people hold hands in the produce section raises our anxiety level now.) But there is one Public Display of Affection that warms our hearts every time we see it.

The metal sculpture found in the heart of Stumptown Park in Downtown Matthews titled “Public Display of Affection” was created by philanthropist/skateboarder/sculptor Tom Risser. (How do we get that job?).

Tom is also the owner of the Charlotte-based US Bottlers Machinery Company, a specialized packaging company that has been in the Risser family since 1906. The materials used for his PDA sculpture and other artworks are leftover metal scraps from the machinery company.

We might not be into PDA but we will publicly display our affection for “Public Display of Affection” any day of the week.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Home of the 90s

Address: | Get Directions

Now this is a story all about how, one creative woman flipped her home upside down, and we’d like to take a minute, to tell you all about this starlet, and how she made a ‘90s palace in a town called Charlotte.

Charlottean Jessica Jones was bit by the nostalgia bug a few years ago and transformed her home into a museum of the ’90s. And what ‘90s themed home would be complete without a Fresh Prince mural? In the words of The Dude, the mural, painted by Inigma, really ties the room together.

You can also check out the “Home of the 90s” on Instagram for more information.

This Queen City exploration is powered by OrthoCarolina.

*Images provided by Home of the 90s.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Open Rice Charlotte

Address: 9882 Rea Rd, Charlotte, NC 28277 | Get Directions

This is approximately how many boxes are required for our carryout order at Open Rice. When everything at a restaurant is this tasty… sometimes you just gotta go with one of everything!

You can find this take-out container installation in the dining room of Open Rice Charlotte, a modern Asian kitchen inspired by the owner’s Hong Kong heritage. They chose the name Open Rice because in Hong Kong the expression “Open rice!” symbolizes family and joy. And you know what else symbolizes joy for us? Two words. Bubble waffle. Don’t know what that is? You better go to Open Rice ASAP.

We caught up with comedian and Open Rice co-owner Bryan Li back in April for an episode of the Biscuit Blitz. You can watch it here.

This Queen City exploration was powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

White Rabbit Mural

Address: 920 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

We want to add a little bit of color to your morning! This bright and bold mural titled “Our Lives, Our Culture, Our Time” was painted by artist Gil Croy in 2012 as a symbol of love, peace, equality, and pride for Charlotte’s LGBTQ+ community. You can find this mural wrapped around the entirety of White Rabbit on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood.

White Rabbit is an LGBT-centric store that sells books, cards, gifts, jewelry, and a wide array of other products that are perfect for anyone who wants to show pride in their sexuality, identity, or gender expression. It’s a place where everyone is welcomed and accepted, something that the world could use a lot more of these days.

The location is also home to the headquarters of QNotes, a bi-weekly newspaper that is one of the largest print publications in the Southeast reporting on LGBT news, arts, and entertainment. QNotes recently caught up with Gil Croy, the artist behind this mural, on his thoughts about COVID-19 and his artistic response to the pandemic. You can read it here.

This Queen City exploration is powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Hugh McManaway Statue on Queens Road

Address: 1501 Queens Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

On August 3, we played a game of “Where Are We In CLT?” with our pals at WBTV’s QC Life. Throughout the day we left clues on social media about our top (not so) secret location before the big reveal on QC@3. So, (if you ignored the photo above) where were we?

Here are the clues that were given to our mini Queen City scavenger hunt:

  1. Nobody asked me to do it. But if you need help in traffic… I’ll point the way.
  2. My name is Hugh, but I didn’t work for a bank.
  3. From graduations and weddings to COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, if something important is happening in Charlotte, I’ll tell you all about it.

If you put those three clues together, what do you get? The Hugh McManaway aka Old Man Traffic aka Gold Man statue at the intersection of Queens Road and Providence Road!

Local Myers Park eccentric, Hugh Pharr McManaway, was the self-appointed traffic director of the intersection. He took his post on the corner every day, waving at traffic, for nearly 20 years until 1976 when he “retired” from the job he gave himself. Hugh passed away in 1989 and was later immortalized in 2000 with the creation of the intersection’s statue.

To learn more about Hugh, watch the QC Life segment as Matt Olin and Tim Miner pay a visit to the dedicated traffic conductor’s golden monument.

This Queen City exploration was powered by QC Life and OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Thanos Mural by Southern Tiger Collective

Address: 927 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

We’re in the endgame now. Thanos has assembled all of the Infinity Stones and has set up shop on the side of Seventh Sin Tattoo Company to await whichever Avengers are brave enough to face him and whichever Charlotteans are brave enough to take a picture with him. With the Infinity Gauntlet fully assembled, Thanos has the power to do anything, so we think it’s about time that he snapped COVID away.

Do you hear us, Thanos?! Snap this virus away right now or we’re going to get Iron Man and Captain America to come have a quick conversation with you.

All jokes aside, this beautifully detailed mural of The Mad Titan was created by Dustin Moates and Alex DeLarge of Southern Tiger Collective. If you’re a fan of the big purple fella, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or comics in general, this mural is a must-visit. You’ll love it. It is inevitable.

This Queen City exploration was powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Independence Tower

Address: 4801 East Independence Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28212 | Get Directions

Decades before the “Pink Building” on South Boulevard was blinding Charlotte drivers with its unique color scheme, there was another tower reflecting the sun’s harsh rays into the eyes of those stuck in traffic. Built in 1972, Independence Tower is the granddaddy of Charlotte buildings with incredibly reflective, brilliantly colored windows.

Anyone who has been stuck on Independence Boulevard during a rush hour sunset (especially those unlucky few who forgot their sunglasses at the office) understand the pain — and beauty — of having to stare at this dazzling gold tower. So loved is it,  artist Christopher Holston included it in a Zoom background he created for us to celebrate Charlotte. (Feel free to download it and enjoy it for personal use.)

Independence Tower is currently home to the headquarters for Norsan Media, one of the nation’s premier Hispanic media companies bringing Latin American news, culture, and entertainment to the radios, televisions, newspapers, and events in Charlotte and the Southeast.

This Queen City exploration was powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

“The Wildcat Way” Statue at Johnson & Wales University

Address: 235 S Cedar St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

We need every Johnson & Wales student and alumni to join us in a verse of the official school fight song:

“Wildcats everywhere
Wave your hands up in the air
That’s the way we do it
Let’s get to it
Come on everyone!”

Oh, wait… that’s from High School Musical’s “We’re All In This Together.” As much as we like Troy and the crew from East High, our favorite wildcats have to be the students of Johnson & Wales University in Uptown Charlotte. The university offers a wide array of majors and courses but our hearts (and stomachs) belong to the students and faculty in the Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts programs.

Johnson & Wales commissioned sculptor Mike Fields to create four “Wildcat Way” statues as a way to celebrate the university’s 100th anniversary and immortalize the four tenants of what it means to be a JWU student — pride, courage, character, and community. The other three statues can be found at JWU’s campuses in Denver, Providence, and Miami. The Charlotte statue can be found in front of the JWU Wildcat Center.

This Queen City exploration is powered by OrthoCarolina

Your location is needed to show this content.

Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream

Address: 2107 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

It’s looking like a hot weekend ahead, so we are preemptively telling you where you need to go get some ice cream (and a burger or two) to cool off. Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream is an #OGCLT establishment that has stood the test of time on its little corner of South Boulevard. Since 1967, Mr. K’s has been a staple in the diet of many Charlotteans who love the simple things in life. A burger. Some fries. And, of course, a chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream cone. Does it get much better than that?

Fun Fact: When Theodore Karres started the restaurant in 1967, it was called Zesto. It was in 1971 that the name was changed to the iconic Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream.

This Queen City exploration was powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Old City Hall

Address: 600 East Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Last week, we showed you the Butterfly Highway pit stop behind the Old City Hall in Uptown but… we never showed you Old City Hall itself! In 1924, the City of Charlotte outgrew their city hall located on the corner of Trade and 5th Street that had been build in 1891. As the city was growing and more public services began being offered, Charlotte needed a more robust space to house the different departments.

Construction of the Old City Hall, known then as Charlotte City Hall since it was brand spanking new, was completed in the fall of 1925 on the 600-block of East Trade Street. Other structures that were included in the newly redeveloped city block were the Fire Department, Police Department, and the Health and Welfare Department.

The building was designed by Charles C. Hook, the man behind the Gateway and Century Buildings and Charlotte Fire Station #6. (It turns out that anytime we like an old building, this fella had something to do with it.) He placed the administrative City Hall building in the middle of the land to allow for future expansion.

Turns out that wasn’t enough. As Charlotte continued to grow, more office space was required for our city government and its departments. In 1984, the construction of a new building to house city and county offices was approved by Mecklenburg County voters. Now, most departments are located in that “new” building, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

This Queen City exploration is powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Butterfly Highway Pit Stop

Address: 651 E 4th St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

We don’t see many summer road trips in our future this summer, so we’re going to leave the highway adventures to the butterflies this year. These butterflies get to take an expressway that cuts straight through the heart of Uptown, never has traffic jams, and has plenty of rest stops to grab a snack and spread a little pollen. They’re traveling on the Butterfly Highway!

The NC Wildlife Federation program began in Charlotte in 2015 with a handful of gardens serving as “pollinator pit stops” for monarch butterflies, bees, birds and other pollen and nectar dependent wildlife. The pit stops are home to milkweed and other flowering plants that these critters need for food and shelter to help reproduce. Over the past 20 years, the natural habitat of the monarch butterfly has greatly decreased, reducing the population of the butterflies by nearly 90%.

The Butterfly Highway program was created as a way to cultivate and protect a dedicated network of pollinator pit stops to help our winged friends safely travel and increase their numbers. As of September 2018, there are 30,000 acres of registered habitats on the Butterfly Highway in North Carolina.

This pit stop on the highway can be found behind the Old City Hall on E 4th Street, directly across the street from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. Learn more about the Butterfly Highway here.

This Queen City exploration was powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Charlotte Fire Station #6

Address: 249 S Laurel Ave, Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

If you asked us to name the most iconic firehouse of all time (we know you didn’t ask but please humor us), we’d say the Ghostbusters headquarters. BUT if you asked us to name the most iconic firehouse in the Queen City, we’d say Charlotte Fire Station #6.

The charming (it’s not every day you call a firehouse charming) station was built in 1928 in a pre-depression era Charlotte. As the city was expanding outwards from the Center City, Charlotte needed new fire stations to provide fire safety in newly developed neighborhoods. Once the Eastover, Myers Park, Crescent Heights, and Elizabeth neighborhoods were annexed as suburbs in 1928, the station was built to serve these newly added areas.

Charlotte Fire Station #6 was designed by renowned North Carolina architect Charles C. Hook who designed many notable buildings in our city that are still around today (including the Gateway and Century Buildings).

It is one of three fire stations designed by Hook in the 1920s under an expansion program initiated by Charlotte Fire Chief Hendrix Palmer. Palmer served as Fire Chief for 21 years until 1948 and was widely heralded as a progressive innovator in the world of firefighting. He helped Charlotte reach a nationwide level of admiration for firefighting leadership in the 30s and 40s.

This Queen City exploration is powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

“Cool Globes” on North Tryon Street

Address: 310 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Many summer travel plans have been canceled this year, but there is still a way you can go on a globetrotting adventure right here in the Queen City. 35 globes are calling the streets of Charlotte home for the remainder of the year and they are definitely worth making the trip to see.

The spherical art installations are a part of Cool Globes, a public art exhibition created to draw attention to climate change and search for solutions. In their words, they are creating “Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet.”

31 of the globes can be found Uptown on North Tryon Street between Trade Street and E 11th Street. The other 4 globes can be found at Camp North End, the US National Whitewater Center, Truist Field (Charlotte Knight’s Stadium), and the Charlotte Airport.

Each globe has a different design created by a different artist, including 7 created by Charlotte artist. One of our favorites globes, titled “Listen to the Children,” was made by a group of talented students from the Trinity Episcopal School Climate Justice Group.

This Queen City exploration was powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

“Clarity” by Matt Hooker and Matt Moore

Address: 700 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

We would say that this mural has us howling in delight every time we see it, but in all honestly, we usually just stand there in stunned silence in awe of its beauty and detail. This piece by Matt Hooker and Matt Moore, also know around the Charlotte art scene as “The Matts,” was created as a part of the 2019 Talking Walls Festival. Next time you’re in Uptown near the Hal Marshall Building, do yourself a favor and see their mural “Clarity” in person. It’s worth it.

This Queen City exploration was powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

Furrow by Thomas Sayre

Address: 3750 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

Fun Fact: Wednesday, July 1 is National Gingersnap Day, arguably the biggest holiday of the year, so we thought we would pump the hype up even more by sharing the gingersnappiest looking piece of art in the Queen City.

Every time we pass this installation at the Scaleybark light rail station on South Boulevard, we can’t help but daydream about giant cookies. And no, our diet isn’t going well. Thank you for asking.

All jokes aside, these six large disks known as “Furrow” were created by Raleigh artist Thomas Sayre through a process called earthcasting, which Sayre himself developed. The process involves digging large shapes from the earth to create a mold and filling them with reinforced concrete and iron oxide.

The steel-reinforced sculptures might look thin and fragile but you don’t need to worry about them crumbling like a cookie, each 11-ton disk was designed to withstand hurricane-force winds.

According to Sayre’s website, the installation was “Inspired by the harrow disks used for centuries to cultivate farmland, the forms pay tribute to the location’s agricultural past.”

This Queen City exploration was powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

First National Bank Building

Address: 112 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Built in 1927, the First National Bank Building (now known as Tryon Plaza) is covered inside and out with small craftsmanship details that will catch the eye of any visitor paying close enough attention, especially any mythology buffs.

The limestone archways, the sandstone balconies, the bronze doors, the elevators, and the facade with its gargoyles all feature different figures from Greek, Roman, and Chinese mythology and history. A keen eye will notice Zeus, Hermes, Mercury, and Confucious, just to name a few. Also, included in the carvings and designs are different symbols from nature with double meanings. For example, owls represent wisdom, squirrels represent thriftiness, and eagles represent power.

Another symbol that is prominently found across the buildings is the beehive. The beehive represents industry. On one of the bronze doors headed into the building, you can see Aristaeus, the Greek god of beekeeping, protecting his bees and metaphorically protecting the building’s industry.

Fitting for a building where much business is conducted but we also like to imagine that the beehives have a double-double meaning to pay homage to Charlotte’s “Hornet’s Nest” nickname from the Revolutionary War.

This Queen City exploration is powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.

“Unfurled” Mosaic at 5200 Park Selwyn

Address: 5200 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

We aren’t sure what the record for the most artists to work on one project in Charlotte is, but we think this piece at 5200 Park Selwyn is a strong contender for the crown. The stunning mosaic titled “Unfurled” is a combination of mosaic pieces from over 52 international artists. With support from 23 grouters/installers and 39 financial contributors, this feels like an Avengers: Endgame level of collaboration.

Unfurled was conceived and managed by Charlotte-based mosaic artist Pam Goode and designed by Lin Schorr of Michigan. Here is what Pam had to say about the project:

“The goals were to provide artists with a public art portfolio piece and to educate the public on the impact of large scale glass mosaics.

Artists were invited to showcase their individual style, adding tremendously to the dynamic presence of the mural. Consequently, the mosaic is filled with unexpected elements that capture the imagination and inspire viewers. We love to play “can you find the …” with visitors!”

Here is a list of all who participated in the mosaic’s creation:

Artists: Lynn Adamo, Tina Alberni, Gwen Basilica, Grace Blowers, Cherie Bosela, Cindi Buhrig, Candace Clough, Robert Crum, Judy Davis, Francesca DeLorme, Lori Desormeaux, Lynn Dubnicka, Amanda Edwards, Virginia Gardner, Suzan Germond, Pam Goode, Janet Green-Althoff, Vicki Hanson-Burkhart, Mary Hinchey, Teresa Hollmeyer, Juli Hulcy, Glynnis Kaye, Sally May Kinsey, Kelley Knickerbocker, Cecilia Kremer, Jennifer Kuhns, Kim Larson, Tammi Lynch-Forrest, Kathy Manzella, Ali Mirsky, Francoise Moulet, Valerie Nicoladze, Patricia Ormsby, Erin Pankratz-Smith, Lee Ann Petropoulos, Sharon Plummer, Flair Robinson, Claire Roche, Karen Sasine, Marita Schauerte, Lin Schorr, Joan Schwartz, Carol Shelkin, Dianne Sonnenberg, Suzanne Steeves, Kathy Thaden, Susan Turlington, Linda Vaden-Martin, Susanne Vernon, Carolyn Wagner, Susan Walden, Dyanne Williams

Installers/Grouters: Tina Alberni, Susan Clegg, Candace Clough, Wendy Floyd, Pam Goode, Vernon Goode, Vicki Hanson-Burkhart, Ashley Hayward, Maria Headrick, Teresa Hollmeyer, Linda Holmes, Grace Kuelz, Beverly Lawing, Tammi Lynch-Forrest, Jason Mabry, Kate Mabry, Kira Pardue, Micheal Pardue, Maryanna Richbourg, Theron Ross, Lin Schorr, Ann Shaver, Suzanne Soucy

Supporters: Laticrete International, Vernon Goode, Robyn Abrams, Stephanie Angel, Cynthia Buhrig, Cheryl Chitayat, Line Dauvergne, Judy Walton Davis, Chrissie Diller, Jordan Duletzke, Took Gallagher, Janet Green-Althoff, Mirka Jucha, Ashley Hayward, Mary Hinchey, Linda Hooper, Debbie Immel, Karen Kobylus, Patricia Konomos, Grace Kuelz, Lagakos, Lucile LeBourgeois, Kathy Manzella, Chad Matthews, Kathleen Foley Mckenna, Mosaics by Maria, Gwen Myers, Rebecca Naylor, Anne Marie Price, Flair Robinson, Jessica Sanders, Kimberly Shelton, Dianne Sonnenberg, Jacki Sowers, Steve, Rick T., Carole Tarr, Ann Tronzo, Susan Walden

This Queen City exploration is powered by OrthoCarolina.

Your location is needed to show this content.