If you’d like to experience a lot of art on a short walk of under a mile, then you should visit Camp North End.
Camp North End is a “new old place.” This 76-acre industrial site between Statesville Avenue and North Graham Street, has seen many uses over the years–a Ford Model T factory, missile assembly, army truck assembly, and warehouses, just to name a few.
Now it’s Charlotte’s most prominent example of adaptive re-use, as it’s being developed to house restaurants, coffee shops, art studios, a brewery, a co-working space, retail shops, Junior Achievement, and more, all while maintaining the architecture of the historic buildings.
Camp North End has also hosted music festivals, art installations, markets, and cultural festivals.
It’s a place that is bursting with creativity, and that creativity is reflected on the buildings themselves, which have been livened up with dozens of murals.You’ll find them on walls, doors and roll down gates — pretty much anywhere you look, you’ll find art.
Please also check out a list of self-guided walking tours in Charlotte, including NoDa, Plaza Midwood, 4th Ward and Uptown, and Elizabeth.
The Littlefield Co. put together a video of the Mural Loop at Camp North End. Watch it here, and then read on for step-by-step directions and an in-depth look at some of the artwork.
Start out at the Boileryard
You can plug 1824 Statesville Avenue into your GPS. Or you can enter from Graham Street, turning onto Camp Road. In either case, follow signs for the Boileryard. There’s parking there and you’ll see this sign:
Follow the arrow and walk up the stairs, and then walk toward the water tower.
Pass the water tower. The Boileryard is the setting for weekly festivals (but not right now.)
You’ll pass some shipping containers on the right, and then you’ll see these murals:
Spotlight: Osiris Rain
Osiris Rain has two murals in Camp North End. This is the first one of his that you’ll encounter if you enter through the Boileryard.
He says, “The general goal of my work is to create a sense of tranquility that juxtaposes the often gritty and industrial locations where they are located. I want to give the viewer a sense of peace and an opportunity to pause and reflect in the middle of the rush and hurry that consumes most of our lives.”
Find more of Osiris Rain’s work around Charlotte:
You can find his work throughout Charlotte, in NoDa at 35th and N. Davidson Street, and at Can Jam CLT, located at 3224 Benard Avenue. He’s got a mural at the Carillon Tower, Savoy Apartments, and 3 5-story murals at Novel Stonewall Station. In South End, he has murals on the rooftop of 300 W Summit Ave, one on the Side of CBI, 4020 Yancey Road (near Olde Mecklenburg Brewery), and one at Ludvig Svensson Inc., 535 Griffith Road. In Midtown, he has one at Bishops Cut/Color, 209 S. Kings Drive.
Connect with Osiris Rain:
Spotlight: Rebecca Lowry
Rebecca Lowry says, “The mural is a collaboration with my older cousin. The woman in the picture is his grandmother, and my great grandmother. She had eight children and all of them, as well as her grandchildren, remember her very fondly.”
Connect with Ryan Williams and Rebecca Lowry:
Keep walking past the water tower and you’ll see some Airstreams on the right. There are more murals behind them.
As you pass the Airstreams, on the left you’ll see Dupp & Swat, BLK MRKT and Windy O’Connor’s art studio.
You’ll see some large artist-painted globes on the right. Turn right there. The globes aren’t going to always be in Camp North End, because they’re slated to be part of an art installation in Uptown Charlotte. Another landmark is Tent Studios on the left.
As you turn right you’ll see the following mural.
Spotlight on Patch Whisky
Patch Whisky says, “The history of the building I painted it on inspired the subject matter. As the building morphed from manufacturing cars in the early 1900’s to different identities throughout the century, I used the butterfly in the work to symbolize those transitions.”
Connect with Patch Whisky:
Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet is an art exhibit that is slated for Uptown Charlotte. For now, the 35 globes, each one designed by a different artist, live at Camp North End. Also ahead of you is the Charlotte skyline.
Update: The globes have been moved to Uptown Charlotte, as of June 25th. See the exhibit, Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Exhibit in Uptown Charlotte through October.
The next group of murals is on your right, on the metal shutters on the end of the massive Ford Building.
Spotlight on Sloane Siobhan
Sloane Siobhan says, “I gathered ideas from the youth at West Charlotte High School about what femininity meant to them.” One challenge that stood out, she says, was “being able to securely reach the top of the wall!”
Find more of Sloane Siobhan’s work around Charlotte:
You can find another one of her large murals called “Fly Girl,” on 4th Street, behind First Citizens Bank, on the parking deck with the arrows. There’s also a collaborative mural she did with Georgie Nakima, that’s almost 200 feet long, on West Trade Street, across the street from Center City Partners.
Connect with Sloane Siobhan:
Spotlight on Kram
Kram says, about the work, “Titled ‘The Creation,’ It’s not just a mural; it was part of a special intervention mixing murals with videomapping.” You can learn about the project and watch a video here. (It’s amazing!)
Connect with Kram:
Walk toward Wentworth & Fenn and go up the steps that are directly in front of you.
Walk past The Bunkhouse and Good Postage. This brings you to The Mount, which is another hub of activity at Camp North End. You’ll see a seating area where you can often enjoy lunch or dinner from a food truck. To the right is Hygge Coworking and That’s Novel Books.
You’ll notice you’re at the intersection of Camp Road and Camp Road. (There’s nothing more Charlotte than a street intersecting with itself.)
Free Range Brewing and the new restaurant, Leah and Louise, are straight ahead. Turn right on Camp Road and you’ll see a large mural by Rosalia Torres Weiner (@RedCalacaStudio), on the right, and one by Brandon Sadler (@RisingRedLotus) on Macfly Fresh Printing Co’s door on the left.
Spotlight on Rosalia Torres-Weiner
Rosalia Torres-Weiner says, “Much of the inspiration for the mural came from a brainstorming session with a group of tenants from Hygge, the co-working space where the mural is painted. We started the session with a quick live music and salsa dancing lesson to get everyone’s creative juices flowing (music and dancing is how I start my work in the studio most days!) After we had jump-started the team’s imaginations, we started talking about what they wanted to see in the design. Some of the more prominent ideas included:
- the deconstructed triangle + process, taking things apart
- looking at things in new ways
- history & future
- growth (flowers/ nature)
- working separately but also working together
- the past connecting to the future ( bright future + bright colors)
- a future where tech advances community
- growth from unexpected places and collective dreams.
“I tried to incorporate many of these ideas into the design, an example is the fibrous structure that runs through the mural. This is a representation of the corpus callosum which is the largest commissural tract in the human brain. It consists of about 200-300 million axons that connect the two cerebral hemispheres. The corpus callosum is essential to the communication between the two hemispheres. It connects the left and right sides of the brain allowing for communication between both hemispheres. I use this in the mural to convey the idea of connection, and working separately but also together.
“I also draw inspiration from my Mexican culture and the natural world. The hummingbird for example, is often used in Mexican iconography to represent the past or wisdom. In my mural the past is transferring collected wisdom to the future.”
See more of Rosalia Torres-Weiner’s work around Charlotte:
- Mural on Central Avenue at Tacos el Nevado 4715 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 ” A dedication to all immigrants and to those who welcome us in Charlotte”
- Mural on central and Eastway “Eastway Pride” at Eastway Crossing Shopping Center
- Mural uptown at Discovery Place Tryon and 6 Avenue “Mother of Invention”
- Mural at Friendship Trays “Mother Nature“ 2401 Distribution Street
- Mural on central Avenue “A dedication to the children orphaned by deportations in Charlotte” at Manolo’s Bakery 4405 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
Connect with Rosalia Torres-Weiner:
Turn back around and head toward that Camp Road and Camp Road street sign and turn right on Camp Road.
The next big building is that of Goodyear Arts, an artist-led nonprofit residency and events program. Make sure to check back with them frequently, as they host a wide variety of visual art, music, dance, and theater events throughout the year.
Spotlight on Sharon Dowell
You’ll see Sharon Dowell’s large mural on the building that houses Goodyear Arts.
Sharon Dowell says, “For this mural, I wanted to capture the vibrant and innovative nature of the Camp North End inhabitants and history. It’s about temporality…shifting facets and planes overlapping…what was there before and what is yet to come that we cannot anticipate. The repeating happenings in spaces leaving imprints of memories and energies, and the idea that one could peel back or cut a hole in this dimension and walk into a past, future or another current dimension we cannot see. Being open to vibrant innovation and new possibilities that will come if we trust.”
Find more of Sharon Dowell’s work around Charlotte:
- The 25th St light rail station
- The underpass murals at 277 and 11th Streets on the light rail
- The Mexican Mermaid mural on Hawkins Street, at the Design Center of the Carolinas
- The Buddy Bear sculpture, at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library on 6th and Tryon
- Two murals at Hub Southend apartments (behind the swing on Hawkins and on a breezeway on Dunavant)
- The Refinery building elevator lobby, 1213 W Morehead Street
- Two murals: Eastside Pride mural and QC mural at Eastway Crossing (near the Central and Eastway corner and near the Pizza Hut)
- The Metropolitan near West Elm Furniture
- Girls Rock CLT headquarters Rock on 22nd St near Brevard
- Plaza Shamrock bridge art, on Shamrock between Ford and Maywood
- Inside Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
Connect with Sharon Dowell:
Make a U-turn and start walking back down Camp Road. You’ll see the globes down on your left. Now you’re walking on a road. Graham Street is on your right.
On the right you’ll see a mural by James Moore (some globes might be in front of it) and then you’ll get to the a Camp North End sign made from shipping containers, and three more murals, one by Osiris Rain.
The road leads to a parking lot and then you’ll turn left, which will take you back through the Boileryard, past the water tower and back to your starting point.