Discovering the Beauty of Public Art in Your City

I love living in Charlotte NC and the Public Art that we have access to is one of the beautiful things I adore about our city!  We have an amazing local art community here in Charlotte.  I love exploring our urban areas, it seems there is always a new mural hidden on the side of a building or down an alley to discover.  And the bold colors and designs of our public art make some of the most incredible photographs ~ especially for branding photography or when photographing kids, high school seniors, or families!


Recently a local artist created this incredible Confetti Hearts Wall in the South End area of Charlotte, NC.  Not only do we owe Evelyn Henson a huge thank you for using her talents to create such a beautiful gift for our city, I also want to give her a big shout out for all she does to continue to promote public art.

She wrote an article discussing some of the reasons “Public Art Matters” to a city AND to its residents.  I loved how she pointed out that not only does art create a sense of social connectivity and have a positive impact on mood, but she really went into the statistics of why art is economically viable to both a city and its business owners.  She is letting them know just how art can turn into tourist dollars and revenue!

Cool Toddler at Charlotte's Most Popular Public Art Install Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson


Incredible Art

This wall is incredible.  Not just as a mural, or as a fun backdrop for photos.  The true value is in the JOY that it is bringing to our city.  And while I give Ms. Henson a huge portion of the credit for that.  I also want to give our photography community part of the credit and encourage photographers in other cities to take a similar path.

One of the things that she has promoted, as part of her promotion of public art in general, is the use of the hashtag #confettiheartswall. Her argument is that the more people use it, the more the wall will be seen, and the more value this art will have to our city.  She has encouraged photographers to share photos from this wall from the very beginning and shared many of their photos on her own Instagram and blog.

FOMO be Gone!

After seeing the fun photos and posts for just a few weeks, FOMO definitely set in and I knew I *had* to go experience it for myself!  So I packed up my three year old, dressed him in his cutest red and white outfit, grabbed a bowtie from my studio and headed downtown.  We met up with a fellow NAPCP Member and her little one.  And oh the fun we had!!!

Just look at how much JOY being around this bright colored fun wall brings!  This little guy was so excited for the adventure of going somewhere new.  He was bursting at the seams to see what this new place was going to be.  (And to get to Jenni’s Ice Cream when it was over!) And that joy absolutely spilled forth in the photographs!

Cool Toddler at Charlotte's Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson


Favorite Element:

He was SO excited to go on a Mama Adventure.  I pulled my adorable pink and green striped Lomography camera off the shelf and asked him if he would like to use it on our adventure.

His sweet eyes lit up.  “And I click the button?  All the times?”  And even though I answered yes, he still had to ask me five more times.  He was so in awe that I was going to let him use one of my “Mama Cameras” not a “Kid Camera”.

I didn’t tell him there was no film inside.  Please don’t burst his bubble on that one…

Cool Toddler at Charlotte's Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson

Could a baby be more proud of his camera?!?

Biggest Challenge

The construction workers!  When you are working in an urban environment with suburban kids, you have to be a bit flexible.  We were downtown mid morning on a Monday.  There was quite a bit of construction going on a half a block away.  A couple times we had to take a little break when it got really loud.  And there may have been a promise of extra ice cream if we pushed through!

Cool Toddler at Charlotte's Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson

Did someone say ICE CREAM?

Final Thought : It’s up to US!

I think that as photographers we have a unique opportunity here.  As we utilize public art in this way, promote it by sharing our work, tagging the artist, blogging about it, using the hashtag, etc, the art becomes more widely known.  As other artists and business owners see this, they will be more willing to invest in future projects.  And the loop will continue to give us, as photographers, even more incredible backdrops for future photo sessions.

But, more importantly, an increase in public art in our cities for our children – for all of us – to explore and experience!

I would love to hear about your experiences with Public Art and any ideas you have on how we can encourage our cities and local businesses to invest in more!


RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer |

Cool Toddler at Charlotte's Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson

Wish I was as cool as this little guy!!!

Cool Toddler Jumping for Joy over Public Art at Charlotte's Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson

Cool Toddler at Charlotte's Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson

I’m sorry (notsorry!) but who else thinks of an old man turtle when they see this photo?!? It is my FAVORITE!!!

Cool Toddler at Charlotte's Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson

Say Cheese!!!



And thank you to my dear friend Sharetha Monique of Sharetha Monique Photography for capturing this sweet photo of Jacob and I together!!  Love having photos with my boys – and as the Photog Mama I don’t get them unless I seek them out!!

Mama and Toddler Boy at Charlotte's Confetti Hearts Wall by Evelyn Henson



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