Fourth Ward Park
For many residents of this historic neighborhood, Fourth Ward Park is their front yard.
The park, while just 3 acres, features 2 fountains, a children’s playground and countless unique plantings, such as flowering apricot trees, Serviceberry and Cunningham trees, Buttercup Bush, Edgeworthia or paper bush, red dragon weeping Japanese maple, Alleghany spring dogwood and various types of Helleborus.
As you enter the park at 7th Street, you’ll see one of several art projects done in cooperation with the Artists in Residence program at the McColl Center for Visual Art. “Traces of Fourth Ward”, by Shaun Cassidy, reminds us of the distinctive old homes of Fourth Ward. Shaun is an Associate Professor of Sculpture at Winthrop University and resides in S. C. The climbing roses were an integral part of the design.
Throughout the Park you will see birdhouses designed by another McColl Artists in Residence participant, Joan Bankemper. Though Joan lives and works in New York City, her time in Charlotte reaped rich rewards for the residents of Fourth Ward. Her colorful and whimsical, yet functional, birdhouses are crafted from found ceramic pieces, and reflect her “art as healer, nature as healer” aesthetic. Her work may also be seen at the Dovetail Garden at 10th & Poplar Streets, where they anchor this collaborative community project, described on page ___.
Next to the children’s playground, enjoy the fun of a whisper bench designed by Jim Gallucci. Quoting Jim, “my benches are publicly placed objects that invite interaction with the passers-by. The benches are playful objects that invite the public to sit and talk with a friend or acquaintance. Though each can function as a “seat,” there is an impracticality of form that lures viewers to explore each bench and try to discover what they are about.” Join the fun when you sit with a friend at each end of the bench and whisper into the tube.
Fourth Ward residents and Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation have a strong partnership that includes regularly scheduled work days where staff and residents meet to “clean up their yard”, whether it be raking and mulching, or planting annuals in the triangle. They also partner on projects like building retaining walls and updating fountains.