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Community invited to help design public art in Five Points

Local residents gathered at James B. Duke Memorial Library at Johnson C. Smith University to share their ideas for public artworks coming to West End as part of the City of Charlotte’s West Trade/Rozzelles Ferry Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program (CNIP). 

The Arts and Science Council, and the artist team commissioned for the Five Points Plaza and West Trade/I-77 underpass projects, wanted to hear from neighborhood residents and community members and offer them the opportunity to influence the project design and what it will represent.  

“The community should be involved because they will be the ones who will interact with the piece on daily basis,” said Stacy Utley, a local artist on the project’s design team. “It should reflect them and their story, whether they have lived in the community for five days or 50 years…for a community that has gone through so much change, it is important that voices and stories are not lost.” 

During the meeting, residents learned about some of JCSU’s efforts to preserve history on the West End. Brandon Lunsford, JCSU’s archivist and digital manager shared information about the library’s digital archives and work surrounding the Reclaim Initiative. Attendees were invited to record their oral history for the project.

“The Historic West End, and in particularly Five Points, is like so many black communities that you will find in any urban city. It is rich with history and has a legacy,” said Utley. “At the nucleus of many of these communities is an HBCU that tells of its beginnings. We all know this community. We either live there or have family there, it is home. We wanted to be apart of this project because we wanted to create something that honored its past, respect its present and give vision for the future.”

The goal of CNIP is to connect neighborhoods to major employment, institutional and retail areas through a network of streets, sidewalks, greenways and bike lanes. The West Trade/Rozzelles Ferry project impacts neighborhoods northwest of Uptown Charlotte, bounded by Beatties Ford Road, Morehead Street, Wilkinson Boulevard, Ashley Road and I-85.

The West Trade/Rozzelles Ferry public artworks are expected to be complete by November 2020.

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