Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) has taken another step toward the commitment to incorporate visually appealing aspects to public transportation by applying an art treatment to the traction power substation behind Atherton Mill Lofts and Publix, adjacent to the LYNX Blue Line and Rail Trail. A traction power substation or TPSS is a unit for conducting electrical power to the nearby LYNX Blue Line light rail system that allows light rail trains to run.
CATS worked with the North Carolina Historical Preservation Office to comply with the nearby local mill aesthetic of Atherton Mill Lofts while also mitigating the intrusive appearance of the previously green TPSS.
Local artist Leigh Brinkley created the new look for the substation by taking high resolution photographs of the Atherton Mill Lofts building, then scaled and edited the photographs to fit the exterior. There were some parts of the substation that could not be wrapped with adhesive vinyl and those parts were painted to match the vinyl to completely camouflage the building.
“In an area that is developing as fast as Southend is the historical background of the area really needs a voice. This treatment keeps in line with the historical significance of the area and brings it to the Rail Trail,” Leigh Brinkley, public artist said.
Brinkley is a popular artist in the Southend community where the substation is located. Another notable piece of artwork she created is the CATS LYNX Blue Line signal house located near the East/West Station at Camden Road, just across the street from Pike’s Soda Shop.
During the installation of the vinyl wrapping, property owners from the community stopped by the site to speak with the artist and express their enthusiasm for the project as an attractive mitigation effort.