Inspired by recent initiatives to create and expand community spaces and art in South End, Beacon Partners has teamed up with local businesses and organizations to design two public projects near the historic Fowler Building. Since acquiring the building in 2015, Beacon has aimed to refurbish its surroundings with enhancements from local artists. Beacon introduced the first project, Fowler Porch, in April while the second project, South End Golden Grid, was installed July 6.
Situated along the 3.5-mile Rail Trail at Bland Street Station, The Fowler Porch features a bright yellow seesaw, sculptural screens and handrails as well as seating areas for passengers to relax. The new space adds fun, engaging aspects for those traveling along the pathway. The project, funded by Beacon Partners, was spearheaded by local architect David Furman of Centro Cityworks with designs by local steel artist Ben Parrish of Steel Design Studios.
Premiering this month is Beacon’s second project, the South End Golden Grid, a vibrant work of art on the front of the Fowler Building. Influenced by the similarities of a 1935 and 2018 map of South End, the masterpiece represents connecting the past and present aspects of the neighborhood’s literal and figurative gold mine. Together with Charlotte Center City Partners and C-3 Labs, a creative hub in South End, Beacon hired local artists Hollis Austin, Mark Doepker and Elizabeth Palmisana to concept and create a masterpiece to replace an outdated, nondescript sign.
“We’re always looking for new ways to invest in our local community and support creative projects in the area,” said Matt Lucarelli, director of project management at Beacon Partners.. “We are humbled to work with the many great companies and artists in South End who make these projects possible.”
The Fowler Building is a three-story office building that features brick and beams with modern finishes. Located at the prominent intersection of Camden Road and South Tryon Street, the building boasts visibility and convenient access to the Bland Street light rail stop and is located within walking distance of numerous retail businesses and restaurants. Beacon’s newest mixed-used development, The RailYard Southend, is currently under construction down the street from the site.