Take a drive through the Arts District along North Davidson and you might believe that the street has become the personal art gallery for UNC Charlotte undergrad Will Puckett. He is the artist responsible for the massive murals that grace Cordelia Park, the Johnston YMCA and a variety of buildings in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood, a historic mill area just north of downtown.
Puckett’s most prominent creation is a mural of Mecklenburg County’s fabled Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1775 that blankets the area under the Matheson Street overpass and beautifully greets visitors as they enter the Arts District from the south via North Davidson Street.
Despite his early passion for art, Puckett’s road to becoming a prolific working artist has been a long and winding one riddled with countless jobs spanning almost every region of the States, and even a few stops in Europe.
—Former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx
Now, his art not only pays the bills, he has racked up an impressive share of accolades.
In 2012, his work was included in the Levine Museum of the New South’s Silent Heroes exhibit for the Democratic National Convention. He has been recognized for creating the Best Public Art Project and voted Best Local Artist. He has received numerous grants from the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and the city of Charlotte to complete his large-scale public works, and is the recipient of an ASC Regional Artist Project Grant.
His commercial and critical success notwithstanding, Puckett still longed for a formal art education. He enrolled at UNC Charlotte in the fall of 2012 and is now in his senior year as an art history major. While he doesn’t think his studies would have changed the overall design concept of his earlier paintings, he believes the additional education will help him better articulate his work.
Inspired by UNC Charlotte alum and artist Chris Watts who was recently accepted into Yale’s master of fine arts program, Puckett is staking his claim that his University coursework will help him reach the next level.
Photo by Wade Bruton.