Visit the Rail Trail in Charlotte’s South End, from February 2 to 18, 2024 and experience Rail Trail Lights. The Rail Trail is lit with interactive light installations created by local artists. The installations are free to enjoy and it will be an easy .8 mile walk between them.
There are four installations in 2024.
This is the fifth year that the Rail Trail will be lit. Rail Trail Lights is part of the I Heart Rail Trail initiative, a partnership between the Charlotte Rail Trail, Charlotte Center City Partners and U.S. Bank.
Keep reading for the list of artists and installations, an interactive map, info on the opening night event and more.
Flip the Switch
There will be a “Flip the Switch” event on February 2, 2024. Meet at Atherton at 6:30 p.m. for live music and entertainment. The switch will be flip on Up-Next by Oliver Lewis at 7 p.m. Then you can visit all four installations on a self-guided tour and meet the artists. This is a free, family-friendly event.
Rail Trail 2024 Interactive Map
Consult this map to help you get around! The locations of the installations are approximate.
Rail Trail 2024 Artists and Installations
Partial descriptions, below, are from Southendclt.org/events/i-heart-rail-trail-lights, where you can read the full descriptions.
Installation Name: Up-Next
Artist: Oliver Lewis
Location: Atherton Plaza, 2102 South Blvd
Description: Up-Next is an interactive sculpture that resembles vintage TV sets from the 1980s. This captivating installation boasts ten massive kaleidoscopes that generate mesmerizing light patterns. Visitors can easily interact with Up-Next.
Installation Name: Oyster Corner
Artist: HNin Nie
Location: Kingston Connection, 108 E Kingston Avenue
Description: Created in collaboration with Callender Baker, Oyster Corner is inspired by the beauty of nature, particularly the elegance of oyster mushrooms. The vision is to bring a touch of nature to the heart of the city through a monochromatic design featuring a pink tree. The oyster mushrooms will come to life through a play of lights, transitioning from soft pink to warm yellow and a radiant white glow.
Installation Name: Fractal Energy
Artist: Anna G. Dean
Location: Flower Child, 1537 Camden Road
Description: This sculpture is based on the famous visual representation of a fractal pattern. Fractal Energy takes inspiration from two sources: The Infinity Room (made popular by Japanese contemporary artist, Yayoi Kusama), and the Sierpinski Triangle. It is created using equilateral triangles that can be mathematically reduced so that it can be infinitely scalable.
Installation Name: Leave the Light On
Artist: J. Stacy Utley
Location: The Pavilion, across from Futo Buta, 222 E Bland Street.
Description: Inspired by his recent series of paintings, In Transition, and in collaboration with artists Dani Delrio and Karl Hoffman, Utley’s installation titled Leave the Light On addresses the impact of gentrification in communities and urban spaces, and the resulting effects on various demographics. Using a simple shape that represents a house, the work represents the homes and lives that have been affected by redevelopment. The LED lights, while perceived as colorful, are coded. In the 1950s and 60s, redlining maps used the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue as indicator markings to distinguish desired areas from those in decline due to a lack of resources.
Entertainment During Rail Trail Lights
There will be live music at Atherton every Thursday, Friday and Saturday during Rail Trail Lights. There will be additional community programming on select nights.
Getting to Rail Trail Lights
The following light rail stops will get you along this stretch of the Rail Trail:
- Bland Street Station to be closest to The Pavilion
- East/West Blvd Station to be closest to Atherton
There is some free parking at Atherton, and some paid parking throughout the South End. If you’re driving, use this parking map, and may fortune be on your side.
Here are some garages with paid parking:
- 100 West Worthington Garage, 100 West Worthington Avenue
- 1616 Camden Road Garage, 1616 Camden Road
- The Design Center, 240 Doggett Street
- The Square, 212 W Boulevard
Installations from Past Years’ Rail Trail Lights
More art events
Check out our full calendar of Charlotte art museums, galleries and events or look at a few events here: