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Charlotte, NC- The Romare Bearden Park in the Third Ward section of uptown Charlotte is one step closer to reality. An official groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday morning at the corner of Third and Church streets to celebrate the life and legacy of the hometown artist, and to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Festivities included a performance by the St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church choir, a dramatic reading of the play “Romare Bearden 1911-1988” by poet and playwright Ruth E. Sloane, and the unveiling of the new Romare Bearden stamp collection.

Elected officials including Mecklenburg County Commissioner Chairman Jennifer Roberts and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx shared their thoughts on Bearden and significance of the new namesake park.

"It will be a wonderful place in uptown for people to play, and to have that kind of gathering place to keep our community strong," said Roberts.

Gov. Bev Perdue declared Sept. 2 as "Romare Bearden Day."

The park is expected to take 18 months to complete.

About Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden was born on Sept. 2, 1911 in Charlotte and died in New York City on March 12, 1988, at the age of 76. He is best known for his richly textured collages, two of which appeared on the cover of Fortune and Time magazines in 1968. Bearden also designed costumes and sets for numerous dance theatres, including the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre. Most of his work can be found in public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Jerald Melberg Gallery in Charlotte.