Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Downtown Charlotte art will help clean the Catawba

Deanna Pindell installs a granite slab at the Trinity School project. Helping are Michael Haag, Pindell's assistant, and volunteer Graceanne Brown.
A downtown Charlotte art project several miles from the Catawba will help safeguard the river while teaching children about ways to protect our environment.
A rocky watercourse with etched black-granite-topped posts will eventually help remove automobile pollutants that might otherwise flow into nearby Little Sugar Creek and eventually into the Catawba just south of the state line.
The drainage area before Pindell's installation.
Artist Deanna Pindell is creating the installation on the grounds of Trinity Episcopal School. Storm water coming from the school’s main parking lot currently flows across a grassy swale to a rain garden that school staff built a few years ago.
City code requires builders to collect storm water from buildings and parking lots and release it slowly into nearby streams as a way to reduce soil erosion. The code says little about how these collection basins should look – and they often end up as weed- and litter-choked basins in a back corner of the property.
Through the McColl Center for Visual Arts’ Environmental Artist-in Residence program, Pindell is creating rock formations and a settling pond that are both functional and attractive.
The installation runs beside Garden District Drive.
Last Saturday morning, UNC Charlotte art student Michael Haag and volunteers mixed and poured concrete posts in the hand-dug watercourse while Pindell carefully topped the wet concrete with the etched-granite slabs. She expects to finish the project by late June.
Pindell said that the finished watercourse should help cleanse the parking-lot water by slowing the water and allowing time for heavy metals to settle out. The rain garden, filled with lily pads, duckweed and other aquatic plants, also helps slow and cleanse the water.
The new watercourse and existing rain garden beside Trinity School will provide attractive places for students and the community to stroll, learn and even observe wildlife.
The McColl Center program is funding another environmental arts project this summer, as well. James Collins and community volunteers are taking remedial action on tree preservation, runoff control and absorption, erosion control and pollutant cleansing along Little Sugar Creek in Cordelia Park.

Learn more

  • READ Deanna Pindell’s blog about the project, “We all sharethe same water.”
  • LEARN about the McColl Center Environmental Artist InResidence program.
  • VISIT Trinity Episcopal School’s installation. The school is at 750 East 9th St. The installation runs between the school parking lot and Garden District Drive. MAP

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