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Courthouse sculpture is under repair

It seems appropriate that a sculpture called “Persistence of Vision” now requires a persistence of effort to get it right.

The award-winning, interactive artwork hangs in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. It features 3,200 small heads that bear the faces of actual Mecklenburg residents.

As designed, 1,600 individual motors at the top of the sculpture would pull the heads into a kind of cloud. Slowly the heads would drop back down to form one of 14 faces.

Except ... the $480,000 sculpture has been plagued by gremlins since its 2007 unveiling. The latest problem: Dust had compromised a few of the motors. “It just wasn’t up to what I wanted to see,” said artist Stu Schechter.

For the past week, two workers have been lying on their stomachs, three stories above the courthouse lobby, removing each motor.

All 1,600 will be sent to Schechter in Newton, Mass., where they will be updated, reprogrammed and returned to Charlotte. Schechter hopes his work will be up and running by the end of the summer. Persistence, whether in art or art repair, clearly remains a virtue.

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