The shimmer of “49er Light,” an 8-x18-foot work of art, glistens in the lobby of the UNC Charlotte Marriott & Hotel Conference Center, catching the eye of visitors as they enter the main lobby from Robert D. Snyder Boulevard. Created by Assistant Professor of Architecture Rachel Dickey, it is one of 490 original works of art by 49er faculty, staff, alumni and students from the College of Arts + Architecture (COA+A) that are showcased throughout the hotel.
The collection adorns the walls of the hotel lobby and are located throughout the building’s many public and event spaces as well as within its 226 guest rooms.
“Guests will know UNC Charlotte better through this collection; it truly embodies what the institution stands for — opportunity and growth,” said Denise Joseph of NINE dot Arts, a nationally recognized, award-winning art consulting firm, who was the project’s curator. She worked closely with Lydia Thompson, chair of the Department of Art and Art History, to honor a narrative around not only Charlotte’s history but the University’s bright and vibrant future.
For example, gold prospecting, mining and minting are referenced in many of the original works created for the hotel. Equally present are reflections of the local landscape — creeks like Little Meadow and the flora and fauna found along their banks — and tributes to educational enlightenment.
Below are images from the collection; view more on the College of Arts + Architecture’s website.
Lecturer Keith Bryant’s large wooden wall sculpture, “Goldpan,” is one of several commissioned works inspired by Charlotte’s gold mining history and UNC Charlotte’s mascot, Norm the Niner.
Several pieces in the Marriott art collection pay tribute to educational attainment. These “Pillars” by Jonathan Pellitteri, 3-D fabrications fab manager in the Department of Art & Art History, “are derived from classical columns to reference the long history of The Academy as a crucial part of a civilized society,” Pellitteri said in an artist statement.
Depicting gold coins struck at the Charlotte Mint, “Faces of Liberty,” created by Associate Professor of Illustration Jamie Franki, features unique allegorical representations of the ideal LIBERTY.
Lydia Thompson’s “Ingenious-Flux” and Erik Wattekotte’s “Chimera” are located near the center’s conference rooms. “Ingenious-Flux” is an abstract representation of metamorphosis from rural landscape to urban environment. “Chimera” is part of a series combining symbolic representations of nature with alchemical diagrams to reconnect viewers to the magical thinking of alchemy, where religious belief, philosophy and science were interconnected practices.
‘Of the Trees and Creeks’ and ‘49er Light’ (pictured at the top)
The main entrance to the hotel lobby features two grand works by UNC Charlotte faculty. The 30-foot fabric installation, “Of the Trees and Creeks,” is inspired by the tall trees and streams of Charlotte, said Associate Professor of Painting Maja Godlewska, “shadowy and mysterious stream gullies… filled with a tangle of trees, vines and various blooming herbs.” Rachel Dickey’s “49er Light” is “informed by the 49er spirit of persistence and resilience,” she said.