I was commissioned to design 12 windscreens for the Streetcar Starter Project, and to work with the fabricator, who was chosen by the city. One windscreen has not yet been fabricated. Cost shown is for design and fabrication.
The artwork was a critical part of the project and the city was committed to it from the streetcar line's inception. The art in transit people already knew how many streetcar stations there would be, where the panels were to go, and what the dimensions would be. I had to work within those parameters. I did participate in numerous design team meetings, public meetings with groups and individuals, and worked closely with the CATS project manager. She and I made several visits to the fabrication studio in Georgia. Engineers from the design team participated in some of those visits. The city also arranged for a show of my designs at the Levine Museum of the New South.
I did a lot of research and collaboration for this truly site-specific project. I worked in many archives and also personal collections, and with over 50 different individuals or organizations. The research led me to a variety of maps, including historic Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of the city at different points in time. The old maps make people stop and think about the area where they are standing at that very moment. For example, the McDowell Street windscreen is full of material about the long-gone African American neighborhood called “Brooklyn”, demolished during Urban Renewal. The 1929 map, along with the text and photos, honors what used to be.Throughout my project there are lots of documents and manuscripts including handwritten letters, election returns, and musical notation. And every station has some kind of reference to Charlotte’s historic streetcars.
Every station also has a natural element – there’s the great blue heron that lives at Little Sugar Creek, the hornets’ nest that is the city symbol, the dogwood flower, the cotton plant at the CTC-Arena station, where the old cotton platform used to be, and the 100 year old willow oak trees that line the streets of the Elizabeth neighborhood.
“Making Connections” refers to the experience of traveling, and trying to make your connection or transfer, and also to the unexpected connections and convergences that are present in my designs.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
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[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.