Susan Brenner's art at the JW Clay station and garage stair and elevator tower is inspired by the branching structure of trees and the relationship of this structure to the patterns of growth and movement found throughout nature – at both the macro and micro scale. The artist says, "…the very same pattern can be found in blood vessels, the nervous system of living creatures, snowflakes, mountain formations, and many man-made forms." Awed by Charlotte's magnificent trees, she created The Red Tree on a grand, three-story scale. She pieced together triangular segments to construct a large, overall tree-like form. Its dominant color is seen as a reference to Carolina red clay soil.
Waterfall at University City Boulevard is a result of Brenner's overlaid drawings of trees with abstract areas of color. Her stated goal was to transform the tree into something more abstract and evocative while still maintaining a tree form. The fluidity of the image she created reminds her of a waterfall; the way the image fades out on the edges is like a soft spray at the fall's periphery. The overall image has a strong sense of movement, implying change and transformation.
In both towers, Brenner used a digital process to manipulate specific forms in a manner similar to how she creates her paintings. She cuts, assembles, filters, and resizes her images on the computer using layers of color and expressive lines to transform her imagery into an intricate abstraction. Her art is printed on glass using colorful transparent inks. The artist and her graphic designer, Leigh Brinkley, spent time with the art fabricator, Peters Studios, to ensure adherence to her design and color palette. Each art glass panel is placed into an insulated glass unit to glaze each tower. The JW Clay station tower contains 84 insulated glass units, and the University City Boulevard station tower contains 89 insulated glass units, both with art on the east, west, and south elevations of the towers.