Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tiff's Charlotte Discoveries: The Green

Recently I had discovered this magical little park in the heart of uptown, and on today, the 10th anniversary of 9-11, I thought it was appropriate to spotlight a place that illustrates city life, family, diversity and culture, all wrapped into one.

A quick train ride to uptown with the kids and soon we were surrounded by beautiful concrete, glass and  brick buildings, all displaying innovative designs. Across the street from The Green is the location of the Bechtler Contemporary Museum, The Mint Museum Uptown and The Duke Energy Building. It appeared that the fire and police departments were having a memorial ceremony for 9-11 and a fire engine was parked right across from the park. Just a breathtaking combination of patriotism and artistic freedom combined, on this day, it was very moving.

In the right hand corner is beautiful sculpture from the artist Niki de Saint Phalle, which I talk about more below.
The park itself is nestled between buildings and busy streets, a little oasis for those escaping the day's hustle and bustle. At the Tryon entrance into the park, is a sculpture of a book, all in brick with three dimensional children hanging and climbing from it. It's wonderful. The sculptor, Brad Spencer, named it "Life Is An Open Book".

Street Signs with cities and miles point this way and that's whimsical and fun. The pathways are detailed with inlaid tiles, stamped graphics and sounds coming from hidden speakers, like bees buzzing and water trickling down. Larger scaled chairs and chaise lounges are placed under blankets of trees for park-goers to sit and ponder. There are also poems engraved on large brass sheets, made to look like manuscript, just lying precariously on the grass or wrapped around a post.

Which way did he go????
I want this in my backyard!!

Translates to "I see you are two eyes for me"

Hopscotch with sight words!!!

A poem wrapped around the base of a lamppost.
With the sounds bees buzzing from camouflaged speakers, these stamped iron tiles are inlaid throughout the brick walkways.
Off to one side of the park is a beautiful fountain, three Koi fish in a triangular arrangement with carved quotes and a beautiful inlaid floor detail. In the backdrop is a red clay building. I love the mixture of this gray sculptural installation as the red is set behind, the sky is blue, a skyscraper yet further in the background. Add the sounds of children screaming and splashing...pure magic!

Inlaid fish detail in the ground spout water.

Hand prints captured on the fish.
Thoughtful quotes inscribed in a circular pattern.

At the opposite end of the park flank two bronze towers of books, with such titles as Wuthering Heights, Roots, and Leaves of Grass. Again, the reference to reading and books, with an emphasis on tolerance in an urban setting, is a great example for our children.

Another special feature of this park is the collaboration with the Bechtler Museum across the street to house some of it's sculptural pieces that are on display right on the parks' greens. The current exhibition, which sadly comes to an end on October 2nd is of famous artist and sculptor Niki De Saint Phalle. What an inspiration in color, scale and medium. I think all ages can appreciate and be affected in some manner by these spectacular (that's putting it lightly) sculptures.
The pictures I took does not do this marvelous sculpture justice. Every stone placed  were made of glass and metallics so beautiful and colorful. The inside is as beautiful as the outside too.
This is Miles Davis!!! (One of my all time favorites)
The sign was ripped off but I can only guess this is Tiger Woods...looks like it from the signature winning  fist pump.

The children were able to climb into and onto the skull and the cat. You can read more about this fascinating artist at: and . She had a very interesting life and is worth reading about.

If you have not embarked on this enchanting spot,  mark your calendar for the next two weekends and pack yourself a picnic, bring a towel or save room for pizza or a Chicago dog (Fuel Pizza and Chicago Dogs right there). You do not want to miss seeing these beautiful pieces of work.

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