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ArtPop brings Charlotte artists’ work to billboards

By Jeff Taylor
Correspondent
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/31/14/15/VlMQP.Em.138.jpeg|102
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    Tim Sheaffer, acrylic on canvas. Located at 5717 East Independence Blvd., near Idlewild Rd.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/31/14/15/FZDbs.Em.138.jpeg|91
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    Carmella Jarvi, warm glass. Located 613 Calvert St.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/31/13/35/19utaQ.Em.138.jpeg|245
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    ArtPop billboard by local artist Jerry Kirk is visible on Wilkinson Blvd. near Morris Field Dr. ArtPop is a program that promotes local artists' work through available billboard space. This program is made possible by generous donations of space from the OOH (Out of Home) advertising industry. Local billboard companies partner with local arts groups to create the ArtPop program. Work is juried, voted on and promoted in the market on available billboard space to a limited number of artists who are chosen for the program. ASC is excited to partner with Adams Outdoor Advertising to launch this program locally in Charlotte.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/31/13/35/sgMAh.Em.138.jpeg|259
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/31/13/35/FZCU4.Em.138.jpeg|94
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    Jerry Kirk, acrylic painting. Located at 4299 Wilkinson Blvd, near Morris Field Dr. Website jerrykirk.com.

More Information

  • ArtPop

    Artists with work on display: Tina Alberini, Betsy Birkner, Natalie Bork, Melody Cassen, Pam Cosper, Sharon Dowell, Jonathan Graeul, Thomas Haapapuro, Carmella Jarvi, Jerry Kirk, John Ashley Knight, Pauline Dove Lamal, Flavia Lovatelli, Monique Luck, Ruth Ava Lyons, Tim Sheaffer, Wan Marsh, Ben Premeaux, JoAnn Sieburg-Baker and Leigh B. Williams.

    More info and locations: artsandscience.org



Billboards don’t usually inspire us, except perhaps to buy a fast-food cheeseburger. But the Arts & Science Council and Adams Outdoor Advertising have teamed up to change that in Charlotte.

ArtPop – the “Pop” stands for Public Outdoor Project – showcases the work of 20 local artists. The first billboards went up in late December and will remain on display all year.

The project was spearheaded by Wendy Hickey, who started a billboard art program while working for Adams in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago.

“I thought, from time to time we have available space, so why not help promote local artists’ work?” she said. “And it just grew from there.”

After duplicating the project in other cities, Hickey brought the idea to the ASC after moving here just over a year ago.

“Charlotte, by far, has been the most well-received program I’ve run to date,” she said. She said the city has a “very welcoming to art” attitude.

“For the community,” Hickey said, “I think it’s an opportunity to be exposed to art (in a way) that maybe they haven’t had before, because it’s a private experience as you’re driving in your car. And then for the artists, to me, it’s as big as it gets. It’s a 672-square-foot canvas, and anybody commuting on a particular roadway is going to get exposed to it. So it’s marketing and advertising for an artist that I’m sure most of them probably wouldn’t be able to do on their own.”

Tim Sheaffer, whose painting “Marbles” was among those chosen (Independence Boulevard near Idlewild Road), understands the enormity of this opportunity.

“It’s crazy, one of my artworks is being seen by millions of people,” Sheaffer said, chuckling. “It’s pretty incredible. As an artist, you’re always trying to get your work out there so that it can be seen by as many people as it can be seen by; blown up to that size, it’s a fact I could have never dreamt of. My name is bigger than most of my paintings, and the painting is bigger than my house.”

Carmella Jarvi, whose glass work is featured on a billboard at Interstate 77 near Morehead Street, realizes the potential impact on the artists’ careers.

“The artists who are savvier are going to use it as a strategic marketing tool to get people excited. … Even the ones who aren’t quite as savvy don’t have to worry, they’re still getting exposure,” Jarvi says, adding that the ASC and Adams are “creating new partnerships and new paradigms for supporting the arts.”

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