Two years ago South Charlotte resident and art enthusiast Steve Copulsky took it upon himself to begin a photo catalogue of every piece of outdoor art on public display in the city of Charlotte. The New York native has since logged hundreds of hours chronicling the works—80 and counting—in an online catalogue at www.charlotteoutdoorart.org. From the everpopular and playful Firebird sculpture outside the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art to the stately Queen Charlotte statue at the airport, Copulsky wanted to heighten the profile of those works that cross our paths daily—often unnoticed.
WHAT DOES ART SAY ABOUT A COMMUNITY? It gives a sense of presence to its surroundings. Art can make streets and neighborhoods more alive, contribute to chronicling the past or provide inspiration. Todd Andrews’ Panthers statues at Bank of America Stadium, for example, help fire up the crowd for a game and set the mood.
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? I want others to share the joy of discovery and the wonderful diversity of art in Charlotte. I want people to know what is here and appreciate what art does for our landscape.
YOU AVOID CRITIQUE OR EVALUATION ON YOUR SITE; YOU SIMPLY LIST THE WORKS—WHY? I’m not trying to be judgmental or a critic. Clearly in my mind some pieces work better than others and I have my favorites, but these works each have a place. Controversy can be part of the dialogue. One day I hope to have discussion on the site.
YOUR FAVORITES? Like many I like the mythical Firebird by Niki de Saint Phalle, and also Metalmorphosis by David Cerny. There are also some lesser know hidden gems like Family by Phillip Levine at Gateway Village.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST SATISFYING ASPECT OF THIS PROJECT FOR YOU? It is gratifying to pull together an assemblage like this for others to enjoy. To my knowledge, there is really nothing like it in the city. It gets people talking. Everyone knows the “Onion Rings” at Randolph and Wendover and either loves or hates them. Their actual name is Grandiflora by Thomas Sayre. He’s also the sculptor of the disks on the Charlotte light rail tracks. It’s fun to generate enthusiasm about art.