Posted by Chandra Ward, ATLANTA, GA -- When you think of the city of Atlanta, what are some ideas that emerge in your mind? The capital of the New South? The city too busy to hate? The city that just wants to sprawl? Or the city with the school cheating scandal? Any of these associations are fair game, however, does a city with a thriving art scene come to mind? Well, it should. What few outsiders may realize is that Atlanta is emerging as the center of urban art in the Southeast.
Far from a plastic, mass-produced concrete jungle void of personality, Atlanta is a city bursting with art: you will find murals on the side of buildings, under bridges and many different festivals celebrating different forms of art. When I say art, I am not referring to “high art” confined behind the walls of museums, but street art.
Atlanta neighborhoods like Kirkwood and East Atlanta, are much more known for visual creativity, as opposed to its downtown center. These, and other neighborhoods, are where much of the city's best street art can be found, such as the Krog Street tunnel connecting the Old Fourth Ward to Edgewood. The central business district has attempted to incorporate public art into its infrastructure, but such endeavors have mainly been expensive flops – like Millennium Gate in front of Atlantic Station.
Local organizations like the Atlanta Beltline and Living Walls Atlanta work to put art all over the city making it accessible to everyone. Flux projects puts on regular art street parties showcasing films, interactive and performance art in the Castleberry Hill District where art-goers fill many city blocks. The Atlanta Beltline is the best way to see all of this art because it connects the various neighborhoods while showcasing art along the way. Atlanta should get a new, new, name and a new reputation – ARTlanta!
Chandra Ward is the Managing Editor of Social Shutter and a Doctoral student in Sociology at Georgia State University. She is also an instructor in the Kennesaw State University Sociology and Criminal Justice Department. She can be contacts at firstname.lastname@example.org