Charlotte Rail Trail receives $432,000 in grants for public art

A “master public artist” will help draw up plans for public art along the Charlotte Rail Trail this fall.

The Charlotte Rail Trail, the planned 3.3-mile trail that will stretch along the Lynx Blue Line to tie South End to uptown, has received a $412,000 grant from ArtPlace America, Charlotte Center City Partners announced Wednesday. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation extended an additional $20,000 grant to the project.

“This (ArtPlace) grant provides us the needed funding to hire a master public artist and commission numerous pieces of public art along the Rail Trail,” said Michael Smith, President of Charlotte Center City Partners, in a statement.

The Charlotte Rail Trail, announced by Center City Partners in 2013, will stretch from the Lynx facility just south of Remount Road through uptown, connecting to museums, performing arts spaces, the 7th Street Public Market and First Ward Park. A team of architects and designers have been working on the framework for the trail since November, dividing it into five sections.

The planners will convene a community meeting in August to provide more details, after which the design will be finalized. A start date for construction has not been set.

The grant from ArtPlace America will support five temporary and permanent projects. The master public artist will help select the types of artwork and identify specific sites.

“The framework plan will recommend using temporary projects and performances to produce an ever-changing experience, and permanent installations to create memorable and unique destinations,” said Cheryl Myers, senior vice president of planning and development for Charlotte Center City Partners.

Permanent installations might be integrated into new development and infrastructure, artistic treatment of blank facades and freestanding artwork.

Temporary art projects along the trail may include outdoor galleries of rotating exhibits, animated walls, artist-designed kiosks, furniture and play equipment, and artist-led social events.

The McColl Center for Art + Innovation and the Arts & Science Council will help engage other local and national artists in the artwork.