In honor of Black History Month in North Carolina, I’m going to kick things off with Romare Bearden Park located in Uptown Charlotte. (Not to worry, Handmade NC will be sharing more about the life and works of Mr. Bearden later this month.) This 5.4 acre public park is named in honor of Charlotte born artist, Romare Bearden, and opened August 2013.
When life has been hectic, Bearden park is a spot I find myself at time and time again. Always changing, I like sit and study the sections while I host an internal debate on which pieces of Bearden’s work are represented in different sections as I stroll or sit on one of the many benches available to visitors. My husband works one block away from this gorgeous spot and it is one of our favorite meeting places for lunch.
Bearden was born in 1911 in his great-grandparents’ house at the corner of Second (now MLK Jr. Boulevard.) and Graham Street in Uptown, a short walk from his namesake park which is based on Bearden’s collages and paintings, a creative music “playground” and a colorful waterfall that has become a popular photo backdrop. Plants and flowers were planned to bring to life the work of Bearden through nature. Among the lush landscaping, you find fitness classes, impromptu jam sessions from local musicians, workday lunch breaks, romantic strolls, planned festivals, and inspiration.
“The park design is based on the work of public artist Norie Sato. Her concepts were inspired by Bearden’s multimedia collages where he used memory, experiences and tradition as the basis of his work. For example, the main pathway that bisects the park from Church Street to the main plaza of the future Charlotte Knights Ballpark is named the Evocative Spine, named as such to represent the way Bearden created his work by ‘evoking’ his childhood memories. Two other features of the park, Madeline’s and Maudell’s gardens, represent how Bearden used the memory of the beautiful garden’s kept by his mother and grandmother to inspire his art.” – Charlotte Center City Partners
Evoking Bearden and his use of memory as triggers for past experience, the elements of the park represents how he worked and the imagery he used to channel the spirit of his life and artwork.
To learn more about Romare Bearden Park and the concepts behind it’s development, please visit the Bearden Foundation.
Romare Bearden Park is located at 300 S. Church Street, Charlotte, NC.
Many thanks to James Willamor, founder of Croquet Records, a nonprofit record label and songwriter incubator focused on developing and recording new and emerging artists in North Carolina, for the stunning images of Romare Bearden Park used in this post.