Parks in Charlotte are peppered with works of public art. Here are 5 of the coolest pieces of public art to notice on your next jog, picnic, or excursion to the dog park.
The Shuffletown Hand
Artist: Pete Beeman
Location: Shuffletown Sportsplex, 9500 Bellhaven Blvd.
This interactive sculpture can be found outside the baseball fields at the Shuffletown Sportsplex. The sculpture consists of a working mechanical hand attached to a weather vane that moves in the wind. A small crank at the bottom makes the hand move in and out to make a gesture as if it is catching a baseball or waving as a nod to the sculpture’s location next to several recreational ball parks. See a video of the sculpture in action here.
According to the Arts and Science Council, the hand is “waving a fond farewell to elements that helped shape Charlotte’s Shuffletown area.” The Sportsplex is built on an area that was previously used for drag racing and agriculture. According to Bernie Petit, Arts and Science Council Communications Manager, the red, green, and yellow circles that adorn the sculpture represent the stop and go signals called the “Christmas Tree” that are used in drag racing. The weathervane style of the sculpture is a reference to the farming history of the area.
When you’re finished checking out the sculpture, stick around the sportsplex for a game of volleyball on one of several courts, or bring your pup along to the Shuffletown dog park.
Irwin Creek Mural at Frazier Park
Artists: Carolyn Whitman and Peggy Rivers
Location: Frazier Park, 1201 W 4th Street Ext.
When walking along the Irwin Creek Greenway, pedestrians will find that the overpass tunnels are covered in murals of brightly colored painted foliage. To see the mural, park at Ray’s Splash Planet and follow the Irwin Creek Greenway through Frazier Park until you see the tunnel. This mural consists entirely of acrylic renditions of flowering plants and trees native to North Carolina. See how many you can recognize as you walk through the tunnel.
To make an afternoon of your excursion, continue from the Irwin Creek Greenway to the Stewart Creek greenway for a brisk two-mile walk through Wesley Heights and Seversville and grab a beer from Blue Blaze Brewing, at the end of the greenway.
Cordelia Park River Trout Mural
Artist: Hilary Siber
Location: Cordelia Park, 2100 N. Davidson St.
Visitors to Cordelia Park this past winter probably saw local artist Hilary Siber crouched over the sidewalk cans of paint. Siber spent five months embellishing the sidewalk with giant rainbow trout, the state fish, to reference the greenway location next to Sugar Creek.
After checking out the very Instagram-able fish mural, keep walking along the greenway to make your way Uptown, check out the Cordelia Park public pool, or pop across the street for a drink at Abari.
“Origins,” “Community Spring” and “Life”
Artists: Laurel Holtzapple, Lauren Doran, and Shawn Cassidy
Location: Reid Neighborhood Park, 3207 Amay James Ave.
Reid Park is a small neighborhood park packed full of public art pieces. When you enter the park, you will first see “Origins,” consisting of stone slabs that function as a gateway to the park and are dedicated to the founders of the Reid Park neighborhood, Amay James and Ross Reid.
Once you go farther into the park, the playful concrete pieces that compose “Community Spring” and “Life” are scattered throughout the park. Per the Arts and Science Council, the patterns on “Community Spring” consist of geographic patterns and natural motifs that represent the quilting traditions in the neighborhood and wild plant life that blooms in spring. The bulbous designs incorporated into “Life” also reflect the flora of the area, specifically the okra plants that historically grew in the neighborhood.
Also, benches in the park are adorned with colorful mosaic handprints of Reid Park elementary school students and local residents. After strolling through the sculptures, stick around Reid Park and enjoy the community garden, basketball court, and park shelter perfect for summer cook-outs.
Artist: Masayuki Nagase
Location: Little Sugar Creek Greenway
Before you pick up groceries from the midtown Target or Trader Joe’s, consider taking a stroll down the Little Sugar Creek Greenway next to the Metropolitan Shopping Center to see the “Aquifer.” The name of the piece refers to a term for an underground layer of rocks that contain a source of water and references the stream restoration and natural environment of the nearby Sugar Creek. This array of stone sculptures is located in the section of the greenway between Charlottetown Ave. and E. Morehead St. The series consists of mosaic medallions embedded in the greenway, carved stone benches and large sculptural objects reminiscent of boulders and natural forms that one can move through and explore while walking along the trail.