The weeklong event, scheduled to take place from October 18 to 26, will feature public art installations, public performances, other programmed events in an attempt to "reclaim" portions of Broad Street throughout its duration.
"It's important that any art work or performance that we bring to the city inspires businesses and residents alike," OCA Director Camille Russell Love recently said in a statement. "Changing the perception of a city takes an enormous surge of energy and dedication, but through carefully crafted partnerships and a common love of art, we have been able to 'elevate' the community's perception of downtown Atlanta."
The lineup, which focuses around the theme "Transit: Time, People & Places," will include works from photographer Sheila Pree Bright, muralist Sarah Emerson, theatrical artist Mike Molina, Clark Atlanta University gallerist Tina Dunkley, Dashboard Co-op co-founder Beth Malone, among others.
It'll also feature "Moving in a Creative Atlanta," a panel moderated by the AJC's Tom Sabulis about transit, art, accessibility, and transportation. The guest speaker will inlude MARTA CEO Keith Parker, Atlanta Beltline CEO Paul Morris, Mayor Kasim Reed's Senior Transportation Policy Advisor Tom Weyandt, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Rebecca Serna, and the Atlanta Regional Commission Principal Planner Cain Williamson.
"It was at least 40 people lined up," he said. "Old white people were approaching me like, 'You are really good. That's beautiful.'"
But like all public art, Paper Frank's 5-months-old L5P mural met its inevitable end on Monday. He took to social media to mourn its passing:
No more wall in little 5. :/
- PaperFuckingFrank (@PaperFrank) August 27, 2013
On Facebook, he wrote:
"Rest in Peace. My Hunter S tribute mural has been painted over and is no more. It was a good run though."
And a friend replied in-kind:
"Was just rolling over the wall we did in little 5 and had 4 ppl stop and ask "why are you painting over that?" Thought ppl bout to fight me over it lol."
"Of course. The people loved it."
French artist Tilt hails from Toulouse, Atlanta's sister city. This October he came to Atlanta to create a mural for Elevate on South Broad Street in Downtown. Tilt's bright bubbly flag painted above a pay-to-park lot is composed of the names of passers-by he met while creating the piece. Local artists Born, Hense, and Sever and L.A.'s Push also created large-scale works on the same block for the annual public art project. Benjamin Roudet/Big Addict documented the process and created this short video, which also includes some great shots of the city and Downtown.
The Atlanta Beltline has a request for proposals up on its website for a "railroad artifact sculpture." Submissions are open to anyone in the Southeast and the organization is willing to fork over up to $20,000 for the commission - that's five times the amount of Art of the Atlanta Beltline's most expensive project in 2012.
According to the RFP, the Beltline's looking for someone "to design and construct one or more interpretive sculptural public artworks for the Atlanta BeltLine composed of welded railroad artifacts. Using rails, spikes, plates, switches, rail anchors, and other steel artifacts that once lined the Atlanta BeltLine right-of-way, this commissioned work will act as a landmark and speak to the history of the rail corridor. The sculptural work should be 8-10 feet in height, or monumental in scale, with a three dimensional form. The work must be visible from a distance and should conceptually reference the history of the railroad."
Here is a diagram courtesy ABI of some of said artifacts:
There are other requirements for the sculpture, too, such as not being a health hazard (no sharp edges), being at least 80 percent railroad artifact, and it's got to be able to be moved if necessary. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Jan. 7, 2013.
This looks like a significant opportunity to add a marquee piece of artwork to the project. Unsurprisingly, resident ideas-haver Thomas Wheatley has some ideas for things you could propose!
A life-sized replica of the circus cars that people say used to travel along the Atlanta Beltline back when it was really a rail line.
A soaring steel piece that rises from the ground, loops the Beltline, and allows people to slide on certain parts, a representation of how railroads can connect using much less energy. It'd be interactive.
Should you use one of these ideas, Wheatley requires credit via a commemorative plaque (no sharp edges).
Complex Magazine released a global list of the top 25 murals of 2012 today, including a number of works commissioned by Living Walls in Atlanta. Among works painted in South Korea, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Israel and elsewhere, Philadelphia blogger and Vandalog editor RJ Rushmore included Hyuro's controversial (and now buffed) Chosewood Park mural as the #3 mural painted this year. A wheat paste and stencil mural by Sten and Lex and a collaboration between Gaia and Nanook, both of which are within a few yards of one another on Edgewood Avenue, also made the list.
Check out the full slideshow of murals.
The 240-foot piece along University Avenue on the edge of the Pittsburgh neighborhood was painted earlier this summer as part of Living Walls Concepts, a year-round version of the annual summer street art conference hosted by the nonprofit public art organization Living Walls.
In mid-November, a small group of Pittsburgh residents painted over the piece. The group was angry about lack of community involvement in selecting the mural and incensed that the painting contained what they considered "demonic" imagery. The move spurred other mural supporters, including people from surrounding neighborhoods, to try and preserve the painting. Questions were raised about who actually owned the wall and whether Living Walls organizers followed the proper procedure to secure approval for the mural. (The group did follow what City Hall officials outlined months before.) Ultimately, the decision to cover up the mural was left to GDOT, which in late November promised to remove the painting.
Atlanta City Councilwomen Cleta Winslow, who currently represents Pittsburgh, and Joyce Sheperd, whose new district will include the neighborhood starting in January, promised to hold a community meeting to discuss the mural and issues between the neighborhoods. No such meeting has taken place.
CL's Dustin Chambers, who's thoroughly documented Living Walls, is on the scene. We'll update with his photos when they become available. Atlanta journalist Jenny Jarvie has penned a great piece for the Atlantic Cities looking at the Roti mural brouhaha and the public's strained, complicated relationship with street art.
NOTE: This post has been updated to include new photographs and more recent information about the removal of the mural.
Another photo after the jump
The 240-foot mural, which depicts a grandiose fantasy scene of an urban machine producing a man with a crocodile head, was painted earlier this summer during Living Walls Concepts, the year-round version of the annual summer street art conference hosted by the nonprofit public art organization of the same name.
But on Nov. 9, a small group of Pittsburgh residents haphazardly painted over the piece, which some members of the predominantly African-American community said featured "demonic imagery." An intense debate erupted over what role the community should play in deciding public art and City Hall's policies regarding murals on private property.
In a Nov. 21 email to GDOT, city attorney Robin Shahar advised the state agency that Living Walls did not follow the proper procedure for approving a mural on private property. However, she added that the decision on what to do with the mural was GDOT's to make.
CL photographer and gentle soul Dustin Chambers says seven people are scrubbing the retaining wall with a mix of water and soap and that several more folks are on the way. One person who drove by offered to lend his pressure washer to help remove the paint, Chambers says.
Members of the Pittsburgh community who were angry that they were not consulted about the artwork painted over the mural this morning.
UPDATE, 1:26 p.m.: GDOT is also on its way to the scene. An agency spokeswoman says crews will use a light pressure wash to remove the cover-up paint.
"We are going to go ahead and try to take it off without ruining the mural," she says.
UPDATE, 2:39 p.m.: More photos by Dustin Chambers of crews helping wash the vandalism off the mural are after the jump.
State Rep. Ralph Long, D-Sylvan Hills, tells CL that he visited University Avenue after he saw a Facebook photo of the mural, which was painted by French artist Pierre Roti as part of Living Walls Concepts, being buffed over with roller paint by community members.
Former state Rep. Doug Dean, who lives in the nearby Pittsburgh neighborhood, was among them. When Long approached Dean and the others, he says the group claimed to not have any permits to paint over the mural, which is located on a retaining wall owned by the DOT.
Dean tells CL that he and the others painted over the wall because the community was not consulted about the mural, which depicts a creature with a man's body and an alligator's head.
However, Living Walls did consult with and get permission from Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow, who represents the area. Surrounding community members had recently expressed concerns over the work and pushed to get it removed, which has sparked a petition by mural supporters.
"It is so wrong for them to get peititons from people who live in Capitol View and Sylvan Hills and not come to Pittsburgh and talk to us," he tells CL. "All we want is a process for how to deal with artists who come to our neighborhood and doing what they want to do. We have some art we want to do in our community."
It's the second time a piece associated with Living Walls has been painted over — or to be more blunt, vandalized — by people who disagree with the work. This summer, some residents of Chosewood Park and Benteen Park were angered by a mural painted by Hyuro depicting a woman morphing into a wolf. The art was ultimately painted over after someone vandalized the piece.
More details to come.
UPDATE, 12:22 p.m. Interesting. Apparently a Facebook event page was created to vandalize the wall?
UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.: Mural supporters and the Georgia Department of Transportation picked up buckets of soap and water and brushes and are scrubbing the gray paint off the mural.
There is some dispute over whether the property owner or GDOT owns the retaining wall. We're trying to learn more.
Here's a video by state Rep. Ralph Long, D-Sylvan Hills, featuring Doug Dean, a former state lawmaker and Pittsburgh resident who helped paint over the mural, talking about why community members vandalized the wall.
UPDATE 4:46 p.m.: An APD spokesman tells CL:
A report for the incident involving the mural was written, however, it isn’t ready for release. An employee of Living Walls Atlanta called police when community members painted over a mural at 272 University Dr. It appears that members of the community painted over the mural because they objected to its content. The community member reported to police that he was given permission to paint over it. Both parties agreed to bring the matter to the community board and city permit department for resolution.
ELEVATE, a creation of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Atlanta, wrapped up its public art festival with a block party on Broad St between MLK and Mitchell St. Local and international street artists painted murals throughout the week.
Young violinists and a DJ provided the music, while street dancers mesmerized (and exercised!) the crowd in attendance. Food trucks were on hand from Roly Poly and Munch.
Photographer John Ramspott was kind enough to share images he captured from the party, check them out here.
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