20 Must-See Pieces of Art in Charlotte, NC

must see Charlotte art

Seeking something new to appreciate or spark inspiration? We’ve compiled a list of public Charlotte art, installations, and individual works. Whether you want to visit a gallery or see street art, each one of these pieces has its own story. Explore the city of Charlotte in a new way through these 20 must-see pieces of art.

The Neptune Mural

Artists Matt Hooker and Matt Moore, both prolific muralists in the Charlotte area, created this iconic mural. Depicting a stunning statue of the Roman god of the sea, Neptune, Moore and Hooker aimed to celebrate Plaza Midwood’s resilience and versatility. Just as Neptune rides with the waves, Plaza Midwood can do the same even under the currents of change. Visitors can see this mural for free at 1425 Central Avenue. 

must see Charlotte art

Javier Lopez Barbosa at Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

Representing a booming variety of artists, Elder Gallery displays fine glass art and paintings. It is open to the public each Friday and Saturday. Visit to see the stunning work, Apparition of Emotions, by Javier Lopez Barbosa. Barbosa uses an array of media, forms and textures, resulting in contemporary expressionist landscapes brimming with visual depth. This piece is oil on canvas at 84 x 74 inches. This brilliantly colored, dramatic piece is well worth a visit. 

Wall Poems of Charlotte

Wall Poems of Charlotte is an ongoing project created by artspace 525. Through this project, they’ve added poetry and sayings—all by North Carolinian writers—to art installations and high-traffic areas across the city. One of their most popular locations is the wall poem Salute outside Dandelion Market. Other notable spots include the poem The People, Yes outside of Trinity Episcopal School, and the poem Where We Are outside of 7th Restaurant.

Rail Trail Magic Carpet Murals

The Rail Trail is a 3.5-mile free walkable art installation that stretches from South End to Uptown. Part of that installation includes the Magic Carpet murals. These three colorful murals were created in connection with the local community, particularly local schools. Visitors can walk the whole trail and get a feel for each neighborhood’s personality as they do so. To just view the carpets, simply stop between Hyde Brewing and New Bern Station and across from Atherton Mill. 

Damien Stamer at SOCO Gallery

SOCO, in Myers Park, features several pieces from North Carolina artist Damian Stamer. See his piece entitled Horry County 24 to transport yourself through Stamer’s worlds of contemporary exploration of both memory and loss. His paintings often include detailed architectural forms reminiscent of his childhood memories of the South. He will be on solo exhibition at SOCO Nov. 10 – Dec. 31 2021. 

Technicolor Portal Mural

Renowned artist Douglas “Hoxxoh” Hoekzema painted this vibrant, stunning mural that shows a circular portal pattern that can easily make someone lose track of time as they gaze into it. Viewers who stare at this painting long enough will feel as if it’s transporting them somewhere new. Those interested in seeing it up close can head to the Preferred Parking lot at 407 E. 4th Street. See it Uptown for free.

Andy Warhol at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

For a chance to see art by one of America’s most iconic creatives in person, you can visit Bechtler in Uptown Charlotte. Bechtler includes several pieces by none other than Andy Warhol, including the piece Hans Bechtler Family (Hans Bechtler, Bessie Bechtler, Andreas Bechtler, Dany Bucher). The 1973 work in acrylic and silkscreen on linen includes four canvases, each at 20 x 20 inches. Open seven days a week, Bechtler is a 36,500-square-foot museum space that exhibits mid-20th-century art.

Embrace Sculpture

The Monroe Road Advocates have always made it their mission to spotlight everything the Monroe Area has to offer, particularly in regards to the arts. That’s why they’ve worked hard to create public Charlotte art installations like the Embrace sculpture. This sculpture, designed by the late Leslie Scott, is now a landmark feature that pays tribute to the community’s spirit. Visitors can see this sculpture at 6697 Monroe Road. See it Uptown for free.

must see Charlotte art

Lisa Noonis at Anne Neilson Fine Art

Located in Charlotte’s luxury retail neighborhood of SouthPark, Anne Neilson Fine Art displays more than fifty different kinds of artists from all over the world. Lisa Noonis is a masterful, Maine-based mixed media artist whose work always tells a compelling narrative. This stunning mixed media piece, With Love, My Love clocks in at 60 x 32in and graces the halls at ANFA where you can visit it Tuesday through Saturday. With Love, My Love is part of ANFA’s exhibition series, Figuratively Speaking.

The Firebird Sculpture

The 17-foot tall Firebird stretches high over its perch on Tryon Street in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The Firebird has called Charlotte home since its installation in 2009, reflecting the comings and goings of this main Charlotte thoroughfare in its mirrored glass. Its creator, Niki de Saint Phalle, made The Firebird in 1991 after decades of innovative, interdisciplinary art creation that foregrounded the era’s pressing social issues. See it Uptown for free.

Architectural Structure of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

Sandwiched between Ally, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture is located in the heart of what is now Charlotte’s business district, but what was once the bustling center of Charlotte’s black community. Before the neighborhood was torn down in the 1960s, the Myers Street School stood at its center. It featured an exterior stair configuration that evoked Jacob’s Ladder and symbolized pride, hope, and advancement. In a nod to this local history, prominent architect Phil Freelon incorporated an intriguing, modern adaptation of the Jacob’s Ladder in the exterior design of the Center. Learn more for free by visiting 551 South Tryon Street.

must see Charlotte art

Jaydan Moore at Hodge Taylor

For forty years, Hodges Taylor has enjoyed a reputation as a successful and respected contemporary art gallery and consulting firm. It promotes Southeastern artists in a range of mediums and providing services to both corporate and individual collectors. On display, you will find the work Utensil from artist Jaydan Moore. Jaydan was born into a family of fourth-generation tombstone makers in California. He spent his childhood rummaging through other people’s objects, and listening to families making arrangements for loved ones. Those experiences “made him value the heirlooms and objects we choose to use as markers for significant moments.” This 2021 work features silver-plated flatware and sits at 21 x 10.5 x 2 inches.

Andy Braitman at Shain Gallery

A nationally recognized artist, Andy Braitman’s work can be found in galleries throughout the United States. In addition to his 40 years of success as a painter, he also owns a teaching studio in Charlotte, and has deeply influenced dozens of local painters and creators. His piece, High Water, is a 60×60 oil on canvas housed at Shain Gallery. The fine art gallery is located in the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte and showcases forty acclaimed artists. Shain Gallery is also open Monday through Sunday to view art at your preference. 

Summer Wheat at Mint Museum Uptown

North Carolina’s very first art museum, The Mint has one of the largest collections of art in the greater Southeast. Unlike anything ever seen at The Mint Museum before, Brooklyn-based artist Summer Wheat’s Foragers is a monumental piece of public artwork spanning four stories and 3,720 square feet at Mint Museum Uptown’s Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium. A myriad of vibrant panels giving the illusion of stained glass fill the atrium’s 96 windows and weave a story of the people and workforce that have made Charlotte a thriving city.

Terpsichore Mural

This colorful, layered mural stretches ten meters tall on an exterior wall of the Charlotte Ballet building. PichiAvo, which is a nationally-known partnership of artists based in Spain, completed the mural for Charlotte’s SHOUT! Festival in 2019. The mural depicts Terpsichore, a Greek Muse and goddess of dance and chorus. View it for yourself at the Charlotte Ballet Academy on 701 N. Tryon St. Walk toward the 10th Street side of the building for the mural’s full effect. See it Uptown for free.

Romare Bearden at Jerald Melberg Gallery

Jerald Melberg has been involved in fine art for over forty years, previously as curator at the Mint Museum. His gallery offers rotating, themed exhibitions that can last around one to four months. THE NEW EDEN, on display now, is a 1987 work by the Charlotte-born, acclaimed visual artist Romare Bearden. You can find several of his pieces at Jerald Melberg Gallery in South End, including this collage on board that sits at 11 x 14 inches. It’s a colorful, visually arresting piece from an artist who has had a profound impact on our city.

Mother of Invention Mural

On the 6th Street side of Discovery Place Science, the Mother of Invention mural depicts a woman composed of iconography representing myriad scientific disciplines that can be explored inside Discovery Place. It is the work of Red Calaca Studio, whose work is often characterized by bright colors and activist undertones. See this iconic piece of Charlotte art Uptown for free.

Beverly Smith at Sozo Gallery

Sozo, a contemporary art gallery located in Plaza Midwood, brings art from local, national, and international artists to the Charlotte area. The space is open every week from Tuesday to Saturday. This piece, a mixed media, textile artwork on quilt, comes from artist Beverly Smith’s Uppity series. This 2021 piece is titled The Blacker the Berry the Sweeter the Juice, and was rendered on fabric with acrylic paint, transfers,  and applique. It sits as 85 x 60 in. Beverly Smith is a mixed media fiber artist who has chosen to express herself through quilts because of the personal connection of that form to her ancestors and Southern roots. She notes that there are “qualities inherent in art made of fabric and thread… that can’t be duplicated in another medium.” 

BlkMrkt BLM Photographers Mural

BlkMrktClt is a gallery and studio space located in Camp North End that provides a safe, creative space for artists of color. Guided by curators Carla Aaron-Lopez and Sir Will and orchestrated by BlkMrktClt, ten local photographers captured critical moments in Charlotte related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Photographers include Brittani Taylor, Michael Maxwell, and Carey J. King. See it for yourself Thursdays through Sundays.

The People’s Vaccine Exhibit

Arthur Brouthers combines acrylic paints and chemical agents to achieve an abstract fluid painting technique, which he deployed when creating “The People’s Vaccine.” This piece is part of an exhibit honoring the essential workers who helped carry America through the worst of the pandemic. Showcasing work from 11 independent artists, the exhibit can be viewed at The Brooklyn Collective at 229 S Brevard St. See it for free. 

Stephen Wilson Butterfly Kits

Stephen Wilson mixes embroidery, found objects, painting, 3D printing, and laser engraving to create colorful, fashion-influenced works that have exhibited internationally. After identifying a recurring butterfly motif in his works, Wilson set to work designing butterfly kits. These kits, composed of 12-24 individual butterflies, can be affixed to any home’s interior wall, instantly engendering a more vibrant and visually interesting space. The kits run from $1200-$1500 and are on display at Wilson’s Mint Hill Studio.

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