The City of Charlotte has been awarded its second Public Art for Communities grant from the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and PNC Foundation. CharlotteRising executive director Dillon Rush and Mayor Tim Lewis were presented a check for $10,000 Friday, May 11 during a press conference held at LEAP’s office in REO Town in Lansing, joining representatives from the City of Lansing and City of Mason, which also received $10,000 grants.

“We’re so excited to accept this award and further the placemaking initiatives in downtown Charlotte,” Rush said.

The $10,000 will be used to commission a piece of public art that will reside at the north entrance of a planned pocket park, the timeline for which is dependent on city council’s final 2018-19 budget.

“This project will be at the forefront of a high profile community project, acting as the gateway from the highway to our community,” Rush said. “It will be a great depicter of life, of vibrancy, of activity and of positive programming that this community believes in.”

Bob Tresize, executive director of LEAP, said his organization understands that first impressions matter when it comes to economic development.

“We’re at a point where people now select the place as much as they do the job when choosing a place to live,” Tresize said. “This program is about putting art in very strategic public places to suggest to investors that this is a place to grow. This is a good place.”

Lewis said organizations in the community, such as CharlotteRising, have proven time and again that it is a great place.

“We have vibrancy in our community and this will be a major addition as we grow economically,” Lewis said.

PNC Foundation, which has partnered with LEAP on the Public Art for Communities grant the past four years also believes strongly in arts and culture, and placemaking as important factors in economic development.

“It’s an outstanding program demonstrating the power of placemaking,” said Jennifer Sturdy, of PNC Foundation. “It creates vibrant public spaces that reflects the unique elements of each community.”

Rush added that arts and culture is one of the main strategies the Main Street program identified for Charlotte’s downtown revitalization efforts.

“You think about the successes we’ve had in Charlotte the past couple years and you think about the mission at the core of CharlotteRising to cultivate a vibrant and enduring downtown, at the very crux of that is placemaking. It’s art. It’s creativity. It’s uniqueness, a sense of belonging, identity, all of which are directly tied to economic development.”

Requests for proposal have been circulated to Michigan-based artists in search of the final concept for the next piece of public art. A public arts committee will review proposals in late May and make a selection in early June. The public art piece has a deadline for completion of October, 2018.