North Carolina artist Jimmy O’Neal’s “Wheels on the Bus in 7 Cymatic Sonatas”, a public artwork commissioned by Charlotte Area Transit System, has been named as one of the 50 best public art projects in the 2012 Public Art Network Year in Review by Americans for the Arts (AFTA). AFTA is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. The annual Year in Review program recognizes the most exemplary, innovative, permanent or temporary public art created in the past year. The 2012 Year in Review awardees were chosen from 393 works from 147 cities across 40 states and three countries.
Three independent public art experts – Jean Greer, principal at The Public Art Collaborative; Daniel Mihalyo, architect/artist at Lead Pencil Studio; and Celia Munoz, artist – curated the 2012 Year in Review. Their selections were announced on June 7, 2012, at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Preconference in San Antonio, TX. The artists and commissioning organizations involved in creating and supporting these public art works received letters of congratulations and certificates from Americans for the Arts.
O’Neal built his own cymascope to produce visuals based on the key and frequency of each sound he recorded in buses and bus facilities. Because he painted with “mirror” paint in his previous artwork he had to search for a substitute for this project. He ultimately found a commercial 3M chrome product that could mimic his mirror paint. The material is durable, affordable, and the manufacturer extended its warranty. Due to the level of reflectivity desired by the artist and delivered by the product, CATS required the artist to commission a solar impact study to demonstrate that motorists on the adjacent highway would not be affected by the art.
The UNC Charlotte Daylighting + Energy Performance Lab conducted the study for the artist. The final study demonstrated to CATS that there would not be a safety issue. O’Neal provided his computer images to a local company, TPM of Greenville, South Carolina. Familiar with the 3M chrome film, TPM had the resources to accurately cut, weed, code, pack, deliver and install the art under the artist’s supervision.
The end result is an ever changing public artwork only dependent upon daily and seasonal atmospheric changes to alter the viewer’s perception. The work has received positive approval from neighbors, building employees and the general public. The artist discovered another way of working to realize his vision while limiting his liability, ensuring the longevity of his art without requiring his future involvement.
“By creating a sense of identity of places we inhabit, public art makes an enduring impact on our lives,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “We congratulate the artists and commissioning groups of the 12th annual Public Art Year in Review and look forward for honoring more great works in the coming years.” Since 2000, the Public Art Network Year in Review has annually recognized outstanding public art projects through an open call submission and juror selection process. The Year in Review program is the only national award that specifically recognizes public art projects.
For further info contact Jean Leier, APR, Manager of Public & Community Relations, Charlotte Area Transit System, by calling 704/432-0496.