Local Arts

Here’s what’s about to happen to the steps at the Mint Museum uptown

Concept renderings by artist Vesna Petresin for Mint Museum Uptown’s staircase installation.
Concept renderings by artist Vesna Petresin for Mint Museum Uptown’s staircase installation. Courtesy of Vesna Petresin

Think light, and sound, and interactives. On the stairs. On Tryon Street uptown.

Artist Vesna Petresin will create a design for the Mint Museum Uptown’s staircase that incorporates all three: She proposed (and won the job with) an installation called “Lumisonica” that will map the physical movements of people on those steps, along with some programmed light and sound.

Artist Vesna Petresin Courtesy of the Mint Museum

Petresin, a native of Slovenia, has had work exhibited and performed at an array of venues, from the Tate Modern to ArtBasel in Miami to the Venice Biennale, and this design will be funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation. The Mint’s Jonathan Stuhlman said that since the uptown location opened in 2010 on South Tryon Street, staffers have tried to figure out ways to make its entrance more welcoming and to have the space be more a part of the whole Levine Center for the Arts plaza.

Petresin and a team including Charlotte consultants plan to create and test the installation this spring and summer (the Mint Uptown will be closed from early July to mid-August to have floors refinished) and open it (with fanfare, of course) in September.

Technology (key to the Knight grant) will include programmable LED light embedded into the staircase and railings, ambient sound loops designed to amplify “the ranges of frequencies that translate to embodied sensations” with both “composed soundscapes and loops of sonic textures” and “key framed musical motifs” at specific times to announce events.

There’s also a plan to create a similar effect for visitors coming to the museum’s website, and Petresin will do a special sequence for her creation as part of an exhibition planned for fall 2020-spring 2021 called “Immersed in Light.”