Artplace Environmenal Artists-in-Residence
McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Charlotte, North Carolina • 2015
Both an architectural intervention and social sculpture, Scuppernong Commons reintroduces the native scuppernong grape to the urban fabric of Charlotte, inviting new community traditions around the harvest, preparation and stewardship of the grape. Native to the Southeast and uniquely suited to the clay soil, the scuppernong has been in cultivation since the 16th century; it has been a staple in homemade jams and jellies, juices, pies and wine.
The piece is comprised of 12 columns forming an allée that supports a trellis and frames a gathering space or “commons”. Each column is composed of 14 dry-stacked, pigmented concrete pieces that were hand-packed with the help of community volunteers of all ages. The rust-red tone and clay-like texture of the stacked columns evoke the region’s red clay soils; this unique structural system uses a single, hand-crafted element that is repeated, inviting variability via a participatory, community-engaged fabrication process. The arbor is planted with grape vines that will be tended and harvested by community members.
The project is sited within Brightwalk, a mixed-income, mixed-use residential development that is a model of sustainable revitalization and economic development.
Hardscape: Carolina Bomanite
Special thanks to Matthew Horick and Stuart Johnson