Guests and media gathered in the Brightwalk Community for the ArtPlace America Award Announcement to McColl Center for Visual Art. Credit:  Michael Hernandez

Guests and media gathered in the Brightwalk Community for the ArtPlace America Award Announcement to McColl Center for Visual Art. Credit: Michael Hernandez

On May 20, we gathered 60 of our closest friends to announce the ArtPlace America award to our community. Guests included news crews from two tv stations, residents, public servants and leadership from McColl Center for Visual Art and our partner Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership. Public officials declared to a rousing cheer that it was a bright day for Brightwalk! Leading local business publication The Charlotte Business Journal, chimed in on the excitement and the economic opportunity sharing the story of ArtPlace America’s grant McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership: http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/going_green/2013/05/mccoll-center-arts-grant-brightwalk.html

The Center has identified its first ArtPlace America Environmental Artist-in-Residence, Jason McDonald, to launch the first of eight installations over the next two years. As part of the community integration process, the Center will bring each Environmental Artist-in-Residence (EAIR) in for a site visit. This will allow future EAIRs to meet with constituents, vet feasibility of projects and develop a deeper connection to place, its history, values and understand the distinctive features, stories and social constructs which will make each project successful. Jason recently completed his site visit and spent time touring this burgeoning urban village, meeting with residents, stakeholders, partners and advocates, interpreting the land and the need. Finding strength, inspiration and resources in this process, Jason also benefited from of counsel with a unique group of professional advocates and explored ways to integrate his unique approach to environmental remediation projects into the previously drafted amenities design program. This level of collaboration demonstrates Jason’s ability to create new frameworks, interdisciplinary pathways and approaches to mitigate environmental challenges and to present art that has aesthetic value. Jason’s work and that of future artists will leave a lasting tangible value as well as the experiential impact of changing perceptions of artist’s value, role and process in community problem solving and creative placemaking.

Buzzing off the demonstrated success of the first installation residents, professional advocates and community partners are looking forward to working alongside Jason. The foundation has been laid and the tone set for what is to come, emphasizing promises that will be kept and the importance of building figurative and literal bridges between neighborhoods through environmental art. Charlotte’s Brightwalk community is ready given the recent announcement. The momentum is building fast. The future is BRIGHT!