(RALEIGH, N.C.)—Friends, family, law partners, business leaders, fellow elected officials and neighbors gathered on Dec. 13 to honor the extraordinary service of Charles Meeker to the City of Raleigh.
The event, sponsored by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce was held in the Raleigh Convention Center. Mr. Meeker proposed the building of a world-class convention center as a priority during the initial days of his first term as Mayor and championed the project throughout to its opening on Sept. 5, 2008.
During the event, Bill Farthing, Managing Partner of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP, where Mr. Meeker practices law, announced that the former Mayor’s partners at the Firm are donating works of art and a commemorative plaque in honor of Meeker’s service to the City. The artwork and plaque will be permanently displayed in the Raleigh Convention Center on the mezzanine level flanking the entrance to the ballroom.
“Charles’ commitment and service to the City of Raleigh is unparalleled, and his leadership has been transformational” said Mr. Farthing. “With this gift, we honor his tenure as Mayor, his vision and dedication to Raleigh and to Parker Poe. We are intensely proud to have Charles Meeker as our partner.”
Artist Gayle Stott Lowry’s 70" x 208" 2011 oil on canvas, Merging Past and Present, and Bob Rankin’s 2011 triptych, Primary Raleigh, an acrylic on canvas, are part of Parker Poe’s gift. Each of the three triptychs is 72" x 72".
Mr. Rankin was delighted to be commissioned to do the work. “Obviously, I was incredibly excited, having grown up in Raleigh and absolutely loving the city,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier to do something for the City of Raleigh. The vibrancy of the paintings reflects the vibrancy that Mayor Meeker has brought back to Downtown Raleigh.”
He said of Primary Raleigh that he worked to echo some of the iconic buildings in the City. “I wanted them to be a secondary surprise where you had to sort of look for the image,” he explained.
Ms. Lowry said: “Painting Merging Past and Present depicts my artistic interpretation of the Downtown Raleigh skyline from the Boylan Bridge with the buildings illuminated by the setting sun.
“I was very pleased to do this painting and so thankful for all that Charles has done for the City of Raleigh and especially revitalizing the Downtown area,” Ms. Lowry continued. “I’m also thankful for his strong work with historic preservation. That’s what I’m referencing in the title of the painting. It’s the combination of the older parts of Raleigh’s history merging with the new.”
Another of Mr. Meeker’s law firm colleagues, Bob Spearman, unveiled the 30" x 25" commemorative bronze plaque donated by Parker Poe. The plaque bears the former Mayor’s likeness and will be mounted on the mezzanine wall by the ballroom. The plaque includes the following inscription:
Mayor Charles C. Meeker
Mayor of the City of Raleigh
Raleigh City Council Member
Charles Meeker’s five terms as Mayor of Raleigh equal the
longest tenure held in that office. When that decade as Mayor is
combined with his four terms on the City Council, the result is
the most years of service to the Capital City as an elected
official of any citizen in its history. Led by Mayor Meeker’s
brilliant and unswerving vision and his compassionate and
compelling leadership, Raleigh was transported to the pinnacle of
American municipalities, heralded for its balanced and
unequaled quality of life.
This plaque and artwork in the Ballroom Concourse donated in his honor
by Charles Meeker’s partners at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP
Mr. Spearman also unveiled lettering that names the ballroom and mezzanine lobby in Mr. Meeker’s honor. Unbeknownst to Mr. Meeker, the Raleigh City Council had approved the naming earlier this fall.
At the event, Brad Thompson, who served four terms on the City Council in the 1990s, including two terms with Mr. Meeker, presented an overview of the former Mayor’s significant accomplishments achieved in office.
Mr. Thompson touched on Mr. Meeker’s leadership in the areas of Downtown revitalization, economic development, developing the greenway and parks system, improving the City’s infrastructure, environmental protection, providing affordable housing, supporting the arts, enhancing transit, vigorously supporting watershed protection and encouraging regionalism.
Mr. Meeker did not seek what would have been a record-breaking sixth term and left the office of Mayor on Dec. 5, with the swearing-in of Mayor Nancy McFarlane.
About Parker Poe
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP has 230 lawyers in six offices located in major markets across North Carolina and South Carolina. The Firm provides legal counsel to large commercial and public organizations on litigation, corporate and regulatory matters. It has been recognized in recent years as one of the fastest growing law firms in the United States and as an award-winning leader in the use of technology to provide better and more efficient service to domestic and international clients.