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FRIDAY, Jan. 27 — The City of Charlotte unveiled “Charlotte Rising,” a new sculpture funded by a Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and PNC Foundation Public Art for Communities Grant, Thursday afternoon. The sculpture, located at the corner of Lovett Street and Cochran Avenue in downtown Charlotte, was designed and created by Frank Balluff. A Charlotte native, Balluff is studying graphic design and marketing at Olivet College.
"When thinking about what represented the city of Charlotte, I couldn't help but be drawn to the theme of unity,” Balluff said. “Charlotte is an emerging and very strong community. I wanted to make something that represented individuals coming together to form something bigger and stronger."
The new sculpture comprises three stainless steel towers that stand next to each other in a triangular layout. Each tower is made up of small figures that represent individuals of the city coming together to form a strong community. The shortest tower stands at 9 feet, and the other two towers reach 10 feet and 11 feet. The variation in size, Balluff said, symbolizes growth and diversity, while the cubes themselves represent the building blocks of the city.
"We understand that our public spaces need to be appealing and attractive, just like we expect our homes, offices and other private spaces to be,” said Charlotte Community Development Director Bryan Myrkle. “Art is an important part of that effort, and we hope that this sculpture is just one of many public art installations we can look forward to in Charlotte in the future. We couldn't be happier that this sculpture was created by a young, hometown artist, and we know he has a great career ahead of him."
To date, 11 communities and 22 projects have received $10,000 each in LEAP funding for public art. Initiated by LEAP in 2012, the Public Art for Communities Grants program is focused on enhancing the rich arts and cultural atmosphere of the region to attract new business and talent and to spur long-term economic growth.
In 2017, LEAP seeks to add three more sculptures to the region, and is accepting requests for proposals for the next round of Public Art for Communities Grants until 4 p.m. Feb. 28.
“LEAP’s Public Art for Communities Grant program has been hugely successful in conveying the unique and diverse character of the tri-county area,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “LEAP is committed to making this region home to a global community with stellar talent and top businesses. Continuing to infuse arts and culture opportunities into every inch of our communities ensures that we speak in the global voice needed to achieve this goal.”