Client: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts & Science Council
Location: Charlotte, NC, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $175,000
Creative Design & Project Manager
Public Art Services
The sculpture is animated by both people swaying on the bench and seemingly being frozen in a state of collapse—the columns are bowed, the canopy is tilted, and the layers of glass are out of alignment. The artwork employs objects we regularly see in public spaces—pipes, canopies, and benches—and assembles them in a way that changes our experience to create new social interactions. Finally, the artwork is an iconic destination and landmark amid a micro-park adjacent to the trailhead for the 7th-10th Street segment of the Cross Charlotte Trail.
8.5′ x 11.5′ x 13′
Painted and unpainted stainless steel, corten steel, laminated glass, LED spotlight
Belly Yup is a participatory, kinetic, iconic artwork at a Cross Charlotte trail section trailhead. It is a respite, a destination, and a place to meet. It was designed, in part, to be integrated into a pre-existing site plan.
Geller’s process always begins with stakeholder and community engagement which could include learning about the area's history, gaining insight into the community’s vision for the site, and brainstorming about what would enrich and bring together their diverse community.
John Grant (Public Art Services) provided design development and fabrication services for the structure and installation. Nick Geurts (Yetiweurks) provided design and structural engineering services.
John Grant (Public Art Services) provided design development and fabrication services for the structure and installation. Nick Geurts (Yetiweurks) provided design and structural engineering services. The City of Charlotte and the Trail designers prepared the site as per our specifications.
In his public art practice, Matthew Geller’s participatory sculptures become one of the building blocks that make a space a destination. As such, the work activates the site and promotes interaction among visitors, often creating intimate moments in a singularly public space. Part of his work’s success is that it is physically experiential: viewers understand that there is a place for themselves in it. His sculptures enable moments of respite and delight, befitting the site's functional and visual context. He purposefully uses materials from the everyday environment creating a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe and beguilement. The idea is to surprise while fostering the sense of an inclusive community around an unlikely object or location, creating a micro public square or landmark. By considering behavioral design and incorporating dynamic elements activated by people and changes in the weather, the resulting work is in constant flux. Ultimately, the artwork’s goal will be to engender a sense of wonder, enhancing the community and visitor experience.