A Tale of Two Cities: McColl Center + the North Tryon Corridor

A Tale of Two Cities: McColl Center + the North Tryon Corridor is an initiative of McColl Center of Art + Innovation that seeks to elevate the voices of neighbors experiencing homelessness and housing vulnerability in the North Tryon development process. McColl Center’s unique location on North Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte places it mere footsteps from the vital center of service delivery for people experiencing homelessness. Recent and rapid corporate and private housing development has threatened to displace these services and their clients in the name of public safety. McColl Center visitors, artists-in-residence, partners, and staff have participated in activities that commit to alleviating the challenges that confront our neighbors and this vulnerable population.

Funded through a $350,000 grant from ArtPlace—a national organization with a ten-year mission (2011-2020) to position arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development—several artists-in-residence from 2016 through 2018 initiated collaborative community art projects that addressed how rapid urban development was affecting the most vulnerable populations, in essence giving a voice to the voiceless through myriad art forms.

Artists-in-residence

Juan William Chávez, Marcus Kiser, Monique Luck, April Marten, James Rojas, Marion Wilson, Antoine Williams, and Jody Wood

A Tale of Two Cities Short Films

Produced by Kathleen and Reuben Bloom of Basic Cable, four short films highlight the individual projects led by McColl Center artists-in-residence in the neighborhoods surrounding our campus, and were conducted in collaboration with service providers, partners, and neighbors themselves.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

A Tale of Two Cities Exhibition

November 5, 2018–January 5, 2019
An exhibition curated by visiting curator Marisa J Pascucci in McColl Center’s first-floor gallery and halls highlights the fruits of many of the artists-in-residence, along with a three-dimensional model of the North Tryon Corridor by Grant Meacci, Managing Urban Designer for the City of Charlotte Planning Department.

A Tale of Two Cities Icon

As a final contribution to the project, McColl Center asked alumnus artist Marcus Kiser to create an icon to encapsulate A Tale of Two Cities. As a digital illustrator and graphic designer focused on distilling ideas down to a single icon, Kiser created this emblem to represent all of the neighbors who joined McColl Center staff, partners, and artists-in-residence in A Tale of Two Cities. The “x” was inspired by “our [Kiser and Antoine Williams’] time over at Urban Ministry Center conducting interviews,” says Kiser. “The people that I spoke with felt that society looked down on them based on their financial situation. The ‘x’ represents people being a lost element of this society and not ‘belonging.’ This also has a dual meaning of the idea for a ‘taped’ or silent mouth.” While the lines to the right of the “x” represent “the voices of the voiceless,” adds Kiser, “these lines represent speech or voice.” The A Tale of Two Cities icon is placed throughout McColl Center during the exhibition.

A Tale of Two Cities Partners

Behailu Academy, Charlotte Center City Partners, City of Charlotte, Community Dream Builders, Extravaganza Events, First United Methodist Church, Foundation For The Carolinas, Grubb Properties, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, The Salvation Army Center of Hope, Urban Ministry Center