Around Town

7 Charlotte spaces that treat words as interior accents

I love that Charlotte establishments are embracing words as art, or at least as interior accents. I already see plenty of words-as-an-art-form displays around town, particularly thanks to The Wall Poems of Charlotte.

Amy Bagwell, co-founder of this mural project, wrote, “But poetry, like all art, can feel like it’s talking right to us. In the right poem at the right moment, we can each find our context, a distillation of our times, a slash at a common Grendel, a zing of truth and beauty in language so original that for a minute or two we stop aging.”

Poetry can do that, but so can lines of prose, so can a single word. Right?

It’s always surprising to walk through the door of a restaurant, or a fitness studio, or a coffee shop and find yourself suddenly reading, suddenly inspired. Where I’ve noticed that magic:


Amelie’s uptown overflows with trinkets and quirky art. Words just add to the creative clutter — and the frame at the lower-level bar gives you a hint of what you’re in for.



The ceiling art at 5Church is a healthy reminder to look up every now and then. Here, you will find “The Art of War,” a 2,000-year-old epic by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. The more than 40,000 words were painted by artist Jon Norris to reflect the complicated, uphill process the owners experienced while making the restaurant a reality.



When I visited this fitness studio, one of the only interior accents in the training room was a block of words. It’s a minimalist approach, but hits home when you consider that the people who come here are seeking empowerment and change.

"It's your day/ to start fresh/ to eat right/ to train hard/ to live healthy/ to be proud/ to be the change."“It’s your day/ to start fresh/ to eat right/ to train hard/ to live healthy/ to be proud/ to be the change.”

The Mayobird

The Mayobird has all sorts of lighthearted, fun accents — think giant spoon, and plenty of bird paraphernalia. Their frame just inside the front door caught my eye because yes, the early bird does get the worm, but she also gets the comfy chair and the frothy cappuccino. Morning-person motivation.

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Owen’s Bagel

This white walls in this space are covered with marker writings. It looks like children were unleashed and given way too much sugar (or Pure Intentions Coffee, which is served here). But it gives the bagel shop a spunky, spontaneous vibe. Plus, you have plenty of handwriting to decipher while you wait in line for your Hangover Helper.


Not Just Coffee

NJC’s new space uptown has a wall quote that was meant to make the vibe more provocative and fit their business philosophy. The words come from late urban writer/activist Jane Jacobs, who used her own observations and common sense (rather than professional training in city planning) to explain why certain places work and the necessary improvements for those that don’t.

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Yoga One

The Central Avenue yoga studio’s bright orange word wall is a good reminder of why you’re on your mat, why you came here in the first place. Isn’t that what words are for?


Photos: Katie Toussaint, Junior Hernandez, Jonathan Taylor