For the ninth year in a row, workers will begin installing giant art pieces 14 feet high and 48 feet wide on highway billboards across the Charlotte area this morning as part of ArtPop Street Gallery’s 2022 Cities Program. After nearly being forced to shut down at the onset of the pandemic, ArtPop has fought its way back, doubling the advertising value of its local artist participants over the past two years.
Twenty artists, including one high school senior and two previous alums, were selected out of 181 submissions to showcase an array of artistic mediums including glass, ceramics, digital art, encaustic, watercolor, fiber, paintings, photography, mixed media and sculpture.
Launched in Charlotte by Wendy Hickey in 2014, ArtPop is a nonprofit that connects local artists with billboard advertising and other media companies to showcase their work in the Charlotte region. Through that work, ArtPop turns interstate highways and other thoroughfares and public spaces into outdoor art galleries.
Since its founding, ArtPop Street Gallery’s Charlotte program has promoted more than 160 artists on millions of dollars of advertising space, donated from partners including Adams Outdoor Advertising, Charlotte Center City Partners, Awedience Media, Lamar Advertising, CEN Media Group and more.
As in past years, the 2022 artists’ work will be plastered on 20 static billboards across the greater Charlotte area as well as on Uptown newspaper boxes and airport displays, with new digital additions over the last two years including billboards in Gastonia, south Charlotte, and even inside movie theaters, totaling around $6 million in advertising space for the local artists.
ArtPop also provides the chance for each artist to participate in a virtual four-session art business class from Artists U, and thanks to a new partnership with the LendingTree Foundation this year, each artist in the Class of 2022 has received a $500 honorarium, while high school student Celia Kulp received a $1,500 scholarship.
In October 2020, ArtPop Street Gallery launched its Inspirations Projects program, through which they take on and manage public art projects commissioned by area businesses, finding and assigning local artists to complete works such as murals and similar projects. As of today, local artists have earned $225,000 in paid project fees through Inspiration Projects.
Below are each of the artworks from ArtPop Cities Program Class of 2022, which will be popping up on billboards across the region between today and Jan. 14. We’ve included links to where you can see more of each artist’s work, the medium used for the piece and the area where they live.