Why 7 female faces are being painted into an Uptown mural

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Local artist Nick Napoletano is about a week away from completing his latest mural. If you’ve driven by AerialCLT at 801 N. Tryon St. this month, you’ve likely seen Napoletano painting the white wall across the street from McColl Center and perfecting his farmers tan.

“I’ve actually been scouting that wall basically since I moved here,” said Napoletano, who made Charlotte his home nearly two years ago. He believes in public art as a staple of his practice.

“You can go right up and approach it,” he said, and it brings museum quality art right outside and into the city.

This wall was in a prime location for his artwork since there is a stark difference between the wealthier side of town and the Urban Ministry Center not far around the corner.

“There’s this ability to activate space,” he said, using art to engage people traveling through town.

As for the seven faces coming to life in the 140-foot mural, they are all the faces of local women representing seven different ethnicities and the LGBTQ spectrum.

Napoletano consulted LGBTQ advocate Time Out Youth while preparing for the project, interviewing people connected to the organization about their experiences. The women he selected for the mural will be visually connected to each other with ribbons, painted in multicultural patterns from around the world.

This, he said, shows the interwoven nature of what makes Charlotte interesting. “And what the real Charlotte looks like.”

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AerialCLT owner Amy Tynan was all about hosting the mural, seeing it as “something that showcases our differences but still reminds us of the commonality of the human experience,” she said. “It is meant to start conversation and discussion about us as a community.”

This mural is just one phase of Napoletano’s project, made possible by a grant from the Arts & Science Council. What comes next is a top-secret, tertiary experience (fire and wizardry!, Napoletano joked) launched with his business partner Mike Todd and their brand Twoform. The next phase will bring the faces on the mural to life for audiences in an innovative and unique way during an unveiling event.

As for the title of the mural, that is yet to be finalized. Napoletano has toyed with the title “Daughters,” since the word is easy for audiences to empathize with.

“I just want them to identify with the individuals as individuals and as human beings, that they are all equally valid,” Napoletano said. “They are people. Treat people like people.”

Photo: Jim Redmond, Redmond Images

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