The Atlanta City Council today OK'd allocating up to $750,000 to fund the planned gallery at 72 Marietta Street. The 8-5 vote allows the city's Office of Cultural Affairs to move toward opening the new arts space housed in the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution building's ground floor.
OCA Director Camille Russell Love says the gallery is part of the city's effort to revitalize Downtown using public art, which she says could give the city an economic shot in the arm. If all goes according to plan, the gallery space would open in October as part of this year's Elevate, an annual project aimed at using public art to help bring vibrancy back to the historic neighborhood.
"We anticipate it will be transformational for that corridor that will lead into Atlanta's entertainment district so to speak," Love tells CL. "This will be one of the arteries that leads into it. We think it will help spur some development in Downtown Atlanta."
The location replaces City Gallery East, the OCA's old arts space located in City Hall East (now known as Ponce City Market), which the city sold in July 2011. When AJC parent company Cox Enterprises gifted the 72 Marietta Street building to the city in 2010, Mayor Kasim Reed pushed for its lobby to become the OCA's new art exhibition space.
Last year, the city awarded Stanley, Beaman & Sears a $100,000 budget after the firm won a city-sponsored design competition. As part of its design, the forthcoming space will include two galleries: a natural light gallery with visual and installation exhibits and a "light-controlled" gallery featuring digital art, multimedia, and "light-sensitive" installations.
Love says the new exterior design, which prominently features a lime green vertical column seen in the above rendering, will transform the building into what she thinks will become a "signature architectural piece in Downtown Atlanta."
In addition, she says that because the OCA was "taking this a step at a time" and awaiting action from City Council, there aren't any plans yet regarding what works will fill the space. She does hope, however, that the first exhibit will take place when the space tentatively opens during Elevate.
"[We're] working with the cultural community to develop plans so the space is put to its best use," she says.
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