Americans for the Arts Recognizes Chapel Hill Public Art Project

UNBOUND by Erik Carlson Honored by Public Art Network Year in Review

Post Date:06/16/2017 2:23 PM

Americans for the Arts has recognized a Town of Chapel Hill public art project for its innovation, talent and public involvement in its annual Public Art Network Year in Review.

UNBOUND by Erik Carlson was among 49 outstanding public arts projects recognized by the national program. Chosen by a jury from 325 entries representing communities across the country, the roster of winning projects was unveiled at Americans for the Arts’ 2017 Annual Convention in San Francisco.

“The selected works reflect the incredible diversity of public art projects, including temporary to permanent, sculpture to performance art,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “The innovation of work demonstrated in the Public Art Network Year in Review shows the breadth of talent from artists around the country. I congratulate them and their commissioning groups for these community treasures.”

UNBOUND, a permanent art installation located at the Chapel Hill Public Library, consists of a series of four cantilevered, wedge shaped panels with surfaces of etched glass. Subtle graphics etched into the panels reference different modes of recording information: cursive writing, Morse code, shorthand, and binary code. Convex lenses strategically placed on the panels are based upon Braille characters, the first digital language, and also contain a specific message,

Through glass portals viewers can see hundreds of images, photographs, movies, and more that were submitted by the people of Chapel Hill. The images are displayed on a series of hidden video monitors that are computer controlled to allow for random image sequencings. As visitors interact with the artwork, the content is revealed in different ways. Visit for more information about UNBOUND.

“The best public art makes connections with the community,” notes Jeffrey York, public and cultural arts administrator for the Town of Chapel Hill. “UNBOUND is literally for, by, and about the people of Chapel Hill. We are incredibly excited that UNBOUND has received national recognition.”

The Town of Chapel Hill Percent for Art Program, established in 2002, allocates one percent of selected capital project expenditures for public art. Carlson, a media artist, composer and designer based in Cranston, RI, was selected to create UNBOUND from a pool of 235 applicants. The selection committee included members of the Cultural Arts Commission, Town Council, Library and Town staff, as well as members of the local arts community.

For information about the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department’s Division of Cultural Arts and the Percent for Art Program, visit For more information about the Chapel Hill Public Library, visit, call 919.968.2777, or stop by any service desk in the Library, located at 100 Library Drive.

The Public Art Network is a program of Americans for the Arts, designed to provide services to the diverse field of public art and to develop strategies and tools to improve communities through public art.


Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City.  Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at

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