City News

Bridge art adds touch of lightness

When the city put out a call for artists to spruce up the Briar Creek bridge, sculptor Jim Gallucci saw a concrete-dominated area that needed some brightness.

“I just jumped on it thinking it was absolutely the ugliest place to put a piece of art,” Gallucci said. “And those are the best places to put a piece of art.”

Gallucci, city councilwoman Patsy Kinsey and others were expected to attend an official dedication of the project Saturday at the bridge near the intersection of Central Avenue and Masonic Drive.

Started more than two years ago, the project is part of a revitalization effort for the area, which includes a nearby greenway. Inspired by the native plants and flowing water of Briar Creek, the Greensboro-based Gallucci used galvanized steel for a design that sits on both sides of the bridge.

“The panels look for artists with versatility and the best skills to address the project,” Krista Terrell, communications director for the Arts and Science Council, wrote in an e-mail. “In this case, it was Jim Gallucci's skills as both a sculptor and iron worker that got the panel excited about his ability to enhance the bridge.”

Funded by the 1 percent-for-art program approved in 2003, the project cost $56,000, which included construction fees and neighborhood meetings to receive design input.

Gallucci has done projects all around the Southeast, including several public benches and gateways around Charlotte. He spent about three months on the piece for Briar Creek bridge.

“It's things like this help change places,” he said. “It's a tipping-point project.”