Rail Trail Lights
Discover Magic Around Every Corner.
Here's the scoop:
Rail Trail Lights is back from February 3-19! The Rail Trail will celebrate local art with 6 never-before-seen interactive light installations. Attendees can stroll down the Rail Trail enjoying one-of-a-kind art, with opportunities to take the perfect photo, grab a bite to eat, explore the South End neighborhood, and do it all again the next day.
Learn more about the I Heart Rail Trail initiative.
Learn about more ways to explore the Rail Trail
Getting to South End
There are lots of ways to get to South End, learn how:
- Travel by light rail. The LYNX Blue Line goes through South End, stop at Bland St. Station to be closest to the Pavilion starting point, or at East/West Blvd. Station to be closest to Atherton.
- Travel by bike. Rent a JoyRides e-assist bike and travel by Rail Trail.
- Travel by car. Atherton has limited free parking for customers. Street parking along Camden Road will be limited. Pay to park at the garages at 100 W Worthington, the Design Center, the Square, or 1616 Camden. See more parking options using the South End Parking Guide.
Not Sure Where to Start?
- Start at Atherton, seeing High Beams first. As an added bonus, see the Fairy Ring Light as you cross the street and walk towards The Lighted Cube at the Design Center Plaza, next to Jeni’s Ice Cream. Next, walk the Rail Trail towards the Rail Trail Chalkboard, where you’ll find Moment at Kingston Connection. Keep walking to find Kaleidoscopic and Gold Rush at Flower Child. Lastly, walk to The Pavilion to find Cheeks Laboratory.
- Start at the Pavilion, where you'll find Cheeks Laboratory at The Pavilion first. Then, walk the Rail Trail towards Flower Child, where you will find Kaleidoscopic and Gold Rush. Continue walking the Rail Trail towards the Rail Trail Chalkboard, where you’ll discover Moment at Kingston Connection. Next, cross the street towards Jeni’s Ice Cream at the Design Center Plaza to see The Lighted Cube. Lastly, find High Beams at Atherton, finding the Fairy Ring Light at the Atherton Lawn along the way.
see the rail trail lights brochure & map
Grab Some Grub
Hungry while at Rail Trail Lights? See what bites & brews are within walking distance of Rail Trail Lights.
Make the Most of Rail Trail Lights
There are plenty of ways to discover something new in South End while at Rail Trail Lights.
Find live music from local musicians at Atherton every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 6-8pm during the event.
see the lineup of local musicians
Working out on the Rail Trail is lit. Join one the South End Run Clubs during their special Rail Trail Lights Runs, made complete with free swag and great community.
see which run clubs are participating
Craft your adventure with the help of these Rail Trail guides:
Foodie's Guide to rail trail lights
Parent's guide to rail trail lights
date night guide to rail trail lights
Meet the Rail Trail Lights artists:
Cheeks McGee the Collector of Techniques
Cheeks is a multifaceted artist who combines digital with physical art. From computer renders and 3D printing to painting and installation art, Cheeks enjoys the process of creation.
Installation name: Cheeks Laboratory
Cheeks’ Laboratory presents an elaborate interactive machine for you, the curious scientist, to witness your own experimental reaction. Press the red or green button to see what happens. Let your imagination be free and explore the world of technology and creation.
Find Cheeks Laboratory at The Pavilion (next to Bland St. Station and Futo Buta at 222 E Bland St.)
Studio Dickey (Sage Duffey, Sierra Grant, Sarika Merchant, Elijah Rutkowski, Rachel Dickey)
Studio Dickey is a public art and urban design practice founded by Rachel Dickey, an Associate Professor of Architecture at UNC Charlotte, and is comprised of Sage Duffey, Sierra Grant, Sarika Merchant, and Elijah Rutkowski. The practice uniquely consists of students and professionals collaboratively working on the design and production of creative works.
Installation name: Gold Rush
The Gold Rush installation draws upon Charlotte’s history, from mining for gold (1799), to the minting of gold coins (1836), and now as a banking hot spot. The installation is reminiscent of a metallic sparkle by gold mirrored panels that generate shimmering reflections and dancing light patterns. The overall form of the installation encourages interaction and spaces for people to photograph during their visit.
Find Gold Rush at Flower Child (1537 Camden Rd.)
Studio Cultivate (Kathryn Godwin)
Studio Cultivate is a design and fabrication company that specializes in creating unique and elevated immersive experiences, led by a team of women who strive to create masterfully crafted installations of magic and whimsy in the community.
Installation name: Kaleidoscopic
Kaleidoscopic plays off the refraction of light and invites the public to experience a depth of color layered through tinted glass window panes. New life will be given to old windows pulled from demolished or renovated homes with freshly painted swaths of color applied to the glass with window film. Built upon the idea of light as a bright spectrum of color, Kaleidoscopic creates vivid, magical experiences.
Find Kaleidoscopic at The Wedge Patio near Flower Child (1537 Camden Rd.)
G. Scott Queen
G. Scott Queen is a research and conceptual artist. He takes a technologist approach to art-making, engaging with new media for expressive purposes. In this age of computerization Queen believes that machine-human collaboration can unlock the full potential of our societies and future generations.
Installation name: Moment
Moment is a new media public sculpture that builds on the influences of a historical internet diagram, coupling AI with iterative design inputs that seek to provide a moment of clarity and reflection to viewers in a vibrant urban setting.
Find Moment at Kingston Connection near the Rail Trail Chalkboard and Dilworth Artisan Station (118 E. Kingston Ave.)
Sir Will is a Digital Content Creator specializing in video, mixed media, and photography. Will is highly influenced by the style and culture developed uniquely in the South. Expanding upon the work created through photography, he works to transform portraits into new captivating and interactive work.
Installation name: The Lighted Cube
The Lighted Cube is meant to break the normal concept of passively looking at art by allowing the viewers to become part of the artwork themselves. Drawing upon his inspiration from Southern imagery and artwork, he brings his lighted story of Southern Culture to you. This cube is meant to be the ultimate photo moment.
Find The Lighted Cube at the Design Center Plaza near Jeni's Ice Cream (1920 Camden Rd.)
Matthew Steele is influenced by infrastructure and how technologies of the self are reflected in the physical technologies we produce. Often representing mass-produced forms, he draws parallels between humanity and the manufactured world. Steele has work in private and public collections nationally and internationally.
Installation name: High Beams
Through intervention, an ordinary sedan is transformed into something else with some surreal form of persona. The bulbs protruding through the car’s exterior illuminate when it senses the viewer, demonstrating an awareness – alluding to animation or social intelligence. High Beams was created with support of Alex Cabral and Keith Jung.
Find High Beams at Atherton Plaza near Trolley Barn (2102 S. Blvd)