Uptown's Public Art

By Arts & Science Council

Uptown Charlotte is a treasure trove of public art, which provides a sense of space and place in the center city. In many ways, uptown is defined by the public artwork found on seemingly every corner.

Sculptures on the Square

The monumental sculptures, one on each corner of the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets, point to economic activities (gold, rails and textiles) that shaped Charlotte’s history and look to its future.

This suite of four large bronze sculptures monumentalizes the forces that have shaped the development of Charlotte. The Future, Commerce, Transportation, and Industry are figurative representations that link the city's past, present, and future.

Sculptures on the Square - Commerce (1995) by Raymond KaskeyArts & Science Council

Commerce is represented as a realistic rendering of a gold prospector of the late 18th century, marking the gold rush in North Carolina and Charlotte's importance in the founding of the U.S. Mint in the city in 1835.

Scuptures on the Square - Greenspan (1995) by Raymond KaskeyArts & Science Council

The prospector empties his pan onto a head at his feet, allegedly the image of Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and demonstrating Charlotte's transition to a major banking and financial center.

Sculptures on the Square - Transportation (1995) by Raymond KaskeyArts & Science Council

Transportation is represented by an African American male, portrayed with strength and dignity resting on his knees and with a hammer in his hands, a reference to the men who built Charlotte's rail lines, beginning the city's importance as a transportation hub.

Sculptures on the Square - Industry (1995) by Raymond KaskeyArts & Science Council

Industry is depicted as a female millworker with a child at her feet, an allusion to Charlotte's history as a mill town and the role of child labor in the era before federal labor laws protecting children from factory work.

Sculptures on the Square - The Future (1995) by Raymond KaskeyArts & Science Council

The Future is represented as a young child, nurtured and playful in the arms of her mother who emerges organically from the branches of a dogwood tree. The figure also contains a hornets nest as a reference to Charlotte's historical nickname as a "Hornets Nest" of rebellion.

Il Grande Disco (1974) by Arnaldo PomodoroArts & Science Council

Il Grande Disco

Arnaldo Pomodoro’s “Il Grande Disco" is the oldest public sculpture in Charlotte and one of the most photographed public artworks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

When it was installed, Charlotte was in the midst of its first big population boom. The population had nearly doubled the decade before and Charlotteans where looking ahead to a bright future. It used to spin in its early days but it’s anchored to the ground today

The Writer's Desk (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Writer's Desk

Is a tribute to longtime Charlotte Observer publisher Rolfe Neill.

The Writer's Desk Installation (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Writer's Desk Fabrication (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Writer's Desk Fabrication (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Writer's Desk Installation (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Writer's Desk (1) (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

It’s helped create a family-friendly spot for public art uptown.

The Writer's Desk (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Writer's Desk (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Writer's Desk (2) (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Writer's Desk (2005) by Larry KirklandArts & Science Council

The Firebird

Created in 2009 by Niki de Saint Phalle, "The Firebird" is already one of the most beloved public artworks in the city.

It is a 17-foot whimsical sculpture of a large cartoon-like bird covered in pieces of mirrors and colored glass, and has become an iconic symbol of Charlotte, a draw for tourists, and one of the ultimate selfie shots in all of the Queen City.

Cascade (1991) by Jean TinguelyArts & Science Council

Cascade

"Cascade", created in 1991, was the last monumental work by the famed kinetic sculptor Jean Tinguely. 

Cascade 6 (1991) by Jean TinguelyArts & Science Council

Cascade 2 (1991) by Jean TinguelyArts & Science Council

Tinguely came to Charlotte at the behest of his friend Andreas Bechtler, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art benefactor.

Cascade 4 (1991) by Jean TinguelyArts & Science Council

Cascade (1991) by Jean TingleyArts & Science Council

The artist incorporated pieces he discovered locally into the work, including a lion’s head from the façade of the old Hotel Charlotte, where the Carillon currently stands.

Levine Center Lanterns (2011) by Cliff GartenArts & Science Council

Levine Center Lanterns

A collection of eight illuminated sculptures located at the Levine Center for the Arts

Levine Center Lanterns (2011) by Cliff GartenArts & Science Council

The stainless steel lanterns have a classical timeless posture that is easily recognizable and will become focal points for the identity of the district.

Levine Center Lanterns (2011) by Cliff GartenArts & Science Council

Illuminated by HID light, they betray very subtle shades of silver at night, while during the day the stainless steel rods reflect and refract light when sunlight fills their volumes.

Spiral Odyssey by Richard HuntArts & Science Council

Spiral Odyssey

"Spiral Odyssey,” by Richard Hunt, was installed in 2017 in uptown Charlotte’s Romare Bearden Park, and links two of the most influential African-American artists of the 20th century.

Spiral Odyssey (2017) by Richard HuntArts & Science Council

The nearly 30-foot, stainless steel sculpture, created by Chicago-based artist Richard Hunt, is a tribute to park namesake and Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden.

Spiral Odyssey (2017) by Richard HuntArts & Science Council

Hunt and Bearden share the distinction of being the first two African-American artists to have one-person exhibitions at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1971.

ASC Public Art: Spiral Odyssey at Romare Bearden Park (2017) by Ben PremeauxArts & Science Council

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