The Board of Commissioners was approached by two organizations last Thursday about displaying public art in and around the new town hall building. On the agenda at the last board meeting, Nicole Bartlett of the Arts and Science Council and Tony Billotto, Laura Sussman-Randall, Marta Brown, and Romie Mizell of Mint Hill Arts asked the board to consider representing Mint Hill through art.
Bartlett explained that many cities and towns install permanent pieces of public art for their communities. Charlotte has numerous pieces, including the typewriter keys at Imaginon. The Writer’s Desk, as it is called, is a monument to local writer Rolfe Neill. She also offered examples from Rock Hill, Davidson, and other Charlotte locations, as well as types of art, including statues, plazas, photography, and tapestries.
Bartlett said one of the most important aspects of public art is the connection to the community; it is very local.
She outlined a basic plan for the creation of public art for Mint Hill. Funding would come from the county, the Arts and Science Council would manage the project, and the design would come from a volunteer board of citizens from the town.
Mint Hill Arts representatives asked the board to consider letting them display art in the two gallery hallways in the new town hall building. They offered some details as to how the town could partner with the organization for professional displaying and no extra work for the town. The arts group currently displays work in the old town hall building. Mizell presented professional hanging devices that would eliminate the need to put nails in the walls. Billotto explained the intake process for their monthly art shows, demonstrating the professionalism and detail-oriented organization of Mint Hill Arts. The all-volunteer group is made of dedicated artists who would jump at the opportunity to display local work in the new space.
“I got an the opportunity to go into the new town hall, and wow, was I blown away. We have been looking for a new facility that was larger where we could really exhibit art the way it needed to be exhibited, where people could come in from the community and see it. And here it was, two beautiful galleries built one above the other that had great lighting, a beautiful place to hang it,” said Mizell. “That’s why we are requesting the opportunity to do this for you and for the community in this facility.”
They also presented the board with the idea of a permanent piece of artwork with the working title theme of Life in Mint Hill. Mint Hill Arts and the town would ask artists to come forward in a juried show where the board was the panel. The winner would receive the prestigious award of having artwork forever displayed in the town hall. Billotto suggested the area around the grand stairway as a good location for such a display.
“Public art is the expression of the spirit of the community in which it takes place,” said Sussman-Randall.
The mayor thanked the arts representatives for their presentations and ideas, and said they will continue the conversation in the future.
The public is invited to get involved with this month’s Mint Hill Arts show during Mint Hill Madness. Last Friday was the opening reception of the new show, but winners were not announced. That’s because the public has not yet voted. It’s a people’s choice show, and everyone is invited to cast a vote. Visitors can see the gallery, located at 11205 Lawyers Road, Suite A, to gain an understanding of what Mint Hill Arts is, what local artists are doing, and how they can get involved.