Lincolnton’s Main Street Artist

Lincolnton, NC Rev. Susan Walker

All over the country, we see communities embracing public art to create the uniqueness that will set them apart from the box stores, strip malls, and fast food areas that look the same in every city. In many urban areas, it would be almost impossible to say where you are because it all looks the same. When public art is emphasized in a community the sculptures, murals, paintings, fountains, and other kinds of artistic expression are generally one of a kind and often tied to the historical and cultural background of the community.

In L-Town we have the downtown sculptures scattered up and down Main Street and wall-size old school advertising murals on brick walls. When you see these, you know you are in Lincolnton. Most people would agree that downtown Lincolnton is unique with its own look and feel. You would remember it as a place you have visited. Most people in L Town would agree that our community has a different look, but we have one resident artist who mans a mobile sidewalk public art display on East Main St. near Hwy 321, and it is unforgettable.

This man is part of the public art display himself. Some days he is fully dressed and on others, he might be shirtless. Sometimes he has dressed appropriately for the weather and on other occasions, he might be wearing a coat in the sweltering heat or shorts in the bitter cold. Sometimes he wears big headphones and looks completely oblivious to the cars and people whizzing by him. When we drive down Main St, the first thing we look for is what he will be wearing that day.

His mobile art display is built-in and on a shopping cart. In his moving sculpture, he uses odds and ends of things he finds on his journey. He is a “green” artist who recycles all sorts of things that other people throw away like plastic bottles, glass, buckets, string, bungee cords, cardboard boxes, old rags, and anything else he finds that adds a bit of color or structure. The mobile sculpture is always new because no matter what it looked like yesterday – it has probably changed since then. He is eclectic and dynamic so his artistic expression changes daily depending on the materials available to him and how he works them together.

Not only does his attire and the sculpture itself change daily, but the location changes as well. This artist usually creates on the right side of Main St. as you are going out of town closer to the Hwy 321 exits but you never know exactly where he will be. The fact that the location changes gives the viewer an added level of artistic interaction in searching the sidewalk to see where he will be today. This kind of public art is unique to L Town. Once you see the Main St. Artist with his mobile public art creation, you won’t forget it and you will be reminded you are in Lincolnton.

Have you seen the Main St. Artist? Maybe as you read this you thought to yourself “I know who she is talking about. She is talking about the mentally ill man with the shopping cart full of junk who roams up and down Main St. in Lincolnton.”

Yes, that is who I’m talking about. Whether you consider him a nuisance, or an artist depends on how you see him. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to me he is beautiful.

Rev. Walker is the Pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and a Guest Contributor for L Town Radio.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/contributors do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of L Town Radio or it’s employees.

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