Submitted by Carolyn Braaksma

Client: CATS Arts in Transit

Location: Charlotte, NC, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $450,000

Project Team


Carolyn Braaksma

Project Management

Scott System


Rhino Engineered Art

Public Art Agent

CATS Arts in Transit


CATS, Charlotte, NC. Artist was commissioned to design for wall and bridge treatments integrated with construction for the Charlotte Area Transit System LYNX Blue Line Extension project through the CATS Arts in Transit Program. Imagery is derived from indigenous plants of the Carolinas and fabricated from cast in place and precast concrete. Artist designed patterns for 300,000 sf of wall and bridges by using 17 different visual patterns and 3 different wall systems. The concrete walls are cast into form liners that are made from hand-carved prototypes.


One of the major goals for this project includes making a highly cost-effective product that is built by the contractor and becomes an essential part of the walls. The art has to be build-able to be incorporated into the construction. The artwork softens the man-made environment and utilizes site-specific imagery to relate to the areas of enhancements.


In 2013, I was the CATS Artist in Residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte. Over three months, I carved the full sized “calico” prototype and mapped out 300,000 square feet of wall designs. I spent time working with the BLE project team and interacting with the greater Charlotte community during studio visits and receptions. I created full scale prototypes for 17 designs, hand carved and milled with the help of Rhino Engineered Art of Cibolo, TX. The panels were then cast into a “master” by fabricators Scott System based out of Denver, CO and delivered to CATS for use by contractors building cast in place, pile panel and MSE walls. There are numerous collaborators who play key roles to make a project of this size and scope possible. These partners include: CATS Arts in Transit Program administrators who provide liaison between artist and engineers; the artist tasked with making designs for walls and bridges; the engineers who determine the sizes, shapes and types of walls; a CAD person who translates artist designs into a format that the engineers incorporate into the bid documents; and a contractor who builds the walls.