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The Voice of the Black Community

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Uptown park celebrates Bearden legacy
Open house Aug. 30-Sept. 1
 
Published Thursday, August 29, 2013 7:37 am
by Herbert L. White

Romare Bearden Park brings a dash of green to Charlotte’s business district.

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Romare Bearden


The park, which officially opens this weekend, encompasses 5.4 acres and cost $11 million to build after a complicated land swap that includes BB&T Ballpark, the new home of the minor league Charlotte Knights baseball team.


“Romare Bearden Park will be another jewel in Queen Charlotte’s crown,” Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Director Jim Garges said in a statement. “This new park, like Freedom Park and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, will serve as a destination and memory maker for generations.”


The opening ceremony, which coincides with the Charlotte-born artist’s 102nd birthday on Sept. 2, will take place Aug.30- Sept.1 at the corner of Third and Church streets.


Construction started on Sept. 2, 2011 – Bearden’s 100th birthday. Funding was provided by   Park and Recreation bonds approved by voters in 2004.


The event will feature live music, dancers, children’s activites, an art show and street performers.


The park, which sits next to the Latta Arcade. It will serve as a hub for arts and cultural events in Center City as well as year-round fitness programs and art and music classes. Some programs will be free. In addition, the park will host festivals as well as an annual Bearden Birthday Bash in September.


The park evokes elements of Bearden’s life and work, and features a pair of large gardens named for two Charlotte women prominent in Bearden’s work. Maudell’s Garden is a southern-style garden designed to be in full bloom during the height of summer.


Madeline’s Garden can accommodate year-round annual beds.
Other features include:


• A flexible event lawn designed for informal play as well as for event gatherings up to 3,000 people


• The Childhood Muse Plaza contains interactive cascading water, a major art piece and children’s play elements


• Formal lawn area for smaller events such as weddings or small art exhibits


• The Arbor and Trellis provides a sitting area under a shaded canopy with space for catering and a small band setup


• A section named Paris Memory with shaded area for tables and chairs reminiscent of parks Bearden visited as a student in Paris


• A kiosk located in Paris Memory that provides news and information to park users


• The Evocative Spine, with water, art, and a sloping site is the central focus of the park. The Spine is the main thoroughfare and leads from Church Street to the main gate at BB&T Ballpark.

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