EAST CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Trash cans along Central Avenue in East Charlotte have been turned into painted celebration bins that reflect what neighborhood families and business owners love about their community.  

This is the first step in a larger project to give identity and ownership to those who make up East Charlotte or own a business there. 

Eight bins along Central Avenue near the former Eastland Mall have been or are being painted by local artists. The painting began a few weeks ago, but the ideas have been in the works since last November through the help of the City of Charlotte Neighborhood Matching Grant.

East Charlotte Community Board Member Maureen Gilewski told Queen City News that this is a project that was created to engage the communities and businesses along the corridor, and encourage a sense of ownership through litter control.  

She said, “It’s the idea that it’s bringing out to what’s hidden . . . more in-depth understanding of the value of this community.”  

A survey was conducted with the help of community leaders from six neighborhoods, one condominium, and three businesses to understand how people in East Charlotte view their own community.

Responses included certain colors, the idea of nature, and diversity has given the dozens of different backgrounds associated with East Charlotte.

These ideas would later be used to transform trash cans along the corridor to highlight what makes this area so special.  

Andrew Winke is one of those four artists who is participating in this art project. 

He has taken the project to heart because he grew up in East Charlotte.  

Through the survey responses, he decided to paint 72 different flags from the countries that various business owners in East Charlotte are from, represent, or have a historical connection to. 

Winke said, “A lot of the people, hopefully, they can find where they’re from on it as they have when they come up and talk to me.”

“All of the countries in the area are represented here on just one trash can,” is how he described his idea.” 

The community members involved in conducting the survey also gave cleaning supplies to the 66 business owners along Central Avenue in hopes it will encourage them to show ownership by cleaning up the areas around their parking lot and bus stops.  

Gilewski said she wants, “to engage the businesses and the neighborhoods, to improve the litter control of the corridor. That combination of the two working together that pride and ownership.”

This is just one leg of the larger neighborhood engagement project that is planned with the help of the City of Charlotte Neighborhood Matching Grant.

The next portion is on hold as the community waits for approval from the NC DOT.   To find out more about East Charlotte’s mission, click here.