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While taking a stroll around uptown Charlotte, you may stumble across a gaily painted wall emblazoned with poetry: maybe a piece of a longer work, or perhaps the entire poem. The words are credited to their respective authors, but the murals are left anonymous — as intended by their creators: poet and artist Amy Bagwell, her students at Central Piedmont Community College, and artspace 525.
The idea behind the Wall Poems project is to make poetry more accessible by putting it in highly visible areas. All poems are by writers from North Carolina, including Carl Sandberg, Charles Olsen and Robert Creeley. They do have permission to paint the walls, in fact, many of the paintings are done by request. And, while they do try to give the owners a choice over which poem will be painted, sometimes the group finds something so perfect for a venue’s personality that they absolutely insist.
Most of the murals are meant to be permanent, but artspace 525 will occasionally do temporary installations like newsrack signage. There are currently 11 walls in the city boasting poetry, but the group has identified at least 30 locations they’d like to decorate.
Know Before You Go
The murals are concentrated mostly in the First Ward area of the city, with a few on North Brevard Street.