Guests of the UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel & Conference Center are greeted by the aesthetic 49er | Inside UNC Charlotte

The twinkle of “49er Light”, an 8 x 18 foot artwork, shimmers in the lobby of the UNC Charlotte Marriott & Hotel Conference Center, catching the eye of visitors as they enter the main lobby from the Robert D. Snyder Blvd. Created by Assistant Professor of Architecture Rachel Dickey, it is one of 490 original works of art by 49er faculty, staff, alumni, and students. College of Arts + Architecture (COA+A) which are displayed throughout the hotel.

The collection adorns the walls of the hotel lobby and can be found in the building’s many public and event spaces as well as its 226 rooms.

“Customers will get to know UNC Charlotte better through this collection; it truly embodies what the institution stands for – opportunity and growth,” said Denise Joseph of NINE dot Arts, an award-winning and nationally recognized art consultancy, who served as the project’s curator. She worked closely with Lydia Thompson, President of the Department of Art and Art Historyto honor a narrative around not only Charlotte’s history, but also the University’s bright and vibrant future.

For example, prospecting for gold, mining and minting are referenced in many of the original works created for the hotel. Equally present are reflections of the local landscape – streams like Little Meadow and the flora and fauna found along their banks – and tributes to educational illumination.

Below are images of the collection; see more about College of Arts + Architecture website.

Lecturer Keith Bryant’s large wooden wall sculpture, “Goldpan,” is one of many commissioned works inspired by Charlotte’s gold mining history and UNC Charlotte’s mascot, Norm the Nine.


Several pieces from the Marriott Art Collection pay homage to the level of education. These “pillars” by Jonathan Pellitteri, head of 3D fabrications in the Department of Art and Art History, “are derived from classical columns to reference the Academy’s long history as a crucial part of ‘a civilized society,’ Pellitteri said in an artist statement.

Depicting gold coins minted at the Charlotte Mint, “Faces of Liberty,” created by Associate Professor of Illustration Jamie Franki, features unique allegorical representations of ideal FREEDOM.

'Ingeious-FLUX' and 'Chimera'

Lydia Thompson’s “Ingenious-Flux” and Erik Wattekotte’s “Chimera” are located near the center’s conference rooms. “Ingenious-Flux” is an abstract representation of the metamorphosis of the rural landscape into an urban environment. “Chimera” is part of a series combining symbolic representations of nature with alchemical patterns to reconnect viewers to the magical thinking of alchemy, where religious belief, philosophy, and science were interconnected practices.

‘Of the Trees and Creeks’ and ’49er Light’ (pictured top)

The main entrance to the hotel lobby features two major works by UNC Charlotte faculty. The 30-foot fabric installation, “Trees and Streams,” is inspired by the tall trees and streams of Charlotte, Associate Painting Professor Maja Godlewska said, “shady, mysterious stream ravines… filled with tangle of trees, vines and various flowering herbs. Rachel Dickey’s “49er Light” is “informed by the 49er spirit of perseverance and resilience,” she said.

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