How the Monroe Road Advocates brought the Embrace sculpture to southeast Charlotte

Art, News

The Monroe Road Advocates were founded with a simple plan of improving an area of Charlotte that residents felt was overlooked. Our non-profit has tackled countless projects, but the most ambitious was always bringing public art to our neighborhood. The area between Oakhurst and Matthews was missing a defining element that the community could stand behind.

After years of planning, we succeeded.

The unveiling of Embrace – until now known as Art@thePoint — took place on November 14 on a sunny, brisk late afternoon with well over 200 attendees including media, elected officials, residents, businesses, students and families.

MoRA’s soon-to-be iconic structure and gathering space at Conference Drive and Monroe Road is now a reality after many months of hard work by community volunteers and an art team led by Lee Baumgarten. Even the custom tiles were crafted by local students and neighbors.

The sculpture was conceived two years ago by public artist Leslie Scott, and revealed to the community a little over a year ago. Now Embrace is a landmark and a destination for the area. It was a shock to all when Leslie passed before the sculpture was halfway completed, but it was never an option to stop the project. MoRA’s art team was determined to finish Leslie’s last public art sculpture.

This project couldn’t have happened without the businesses and individuals who stepped up to help. We want to thank everyone who contributed to the fundraising campaign. This sculpture is a tribute to this community’s spirit, hard work and generosity, and is a symbol of what we can do when we work together.

Art is transforming and inspiring – and is part of MoRA’s strategic initiatives for redefining this area. While we’re saddened that Leslie is not here to see her vision for this collaborative art project and gathering space realized, she has left an indelible mark on the Monroe Road area. She herself saw this as the first of many creative projects for MoRA, and our mission is to see this vision also realized.

What’s next? We already have another project under consideration and it will be announced in the weeks ahead. MoRA’s vision is to have a series of art and creative community projects that define and distinguish the area.

Want to help make your neighborhood one of the best in Charlotte? MoRA is an all-volunteer non-profit, and we are always looking for advocates. Even a tax-deductible donation can help turn future projects into a reality.