Atlanta, Georgia is a former industrial hub that now has a number of abandoned spaces. Rather than have them continue to be tagged in what city officials consider to be vandalism, some have been reserved for murals by the Living Walls Conference, an initiative to beautify spaces in specific neighborhoods. Founded by Monica Campana in 2009, it commissions artists from all over the world. You can also find a number of works by independent local artists around town. Here are just a few neighborhoods where you’re sure to find some great street art.
The neighborhood was once a mill town where the employees families worked and lived. It runs alongside Oakland Cemetery where legendary Atlantans like Margaret Mitchell and Bobby Jones are buried. Cabbagetown, named for the cabbages grown and cooked by the mill employees, is also where you’ll find some of the city’s best street art. The Krog Street Tunnel, which connects Inman Park with Cabbagetown and goes underneath the CSX Hulsey Railyard. It has a regularly changing display of amateur and professional work managed by a community group. You’ll see aspiring models and Instagrammers taking photos here at all hours of the day. Wylie Street, which abuts the tunnel, has its own range of art, including commissioned works through the Living Walls Conference. The angular fox by Trek Matthews is a beloved landmark in the community, as is the “Cabbagetown” mural at Krog and Wylie streets.
Perhaps the best example of street art in Atlanta is Summerhill, which surrounds Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves baseball team. Established after the Civil War, the area was where the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Today its run down buildings have been given a burst of color thanks to Living Walls. All of these neighborhood murals can be viewed when driving down Georgia Avenue. Be sure to admire the colorful “Summerhill” mural by Argentinian-born Elian.
Once Atlanta’s red-light district, former warehouses and garages have now been converted into lofts. The tight-knit neighborhood boasts a number of restaurants and is also home to businesses like Atlanta Movie Tours, Inc.. Scenes from The Walking Dead have been filmed here and a monthly art stroll brings locals into galleries.
But for the area’s best street art, seek out the Axel Void piece on Peters Street, entitled “Nobody,” which depicts a young boy with glasses. At Walker and Peters streets, another work features the history of the neighborhood and includes significant leaders in the area.
Old Fourth Ward
Named for the time when Atlanta’s neighborhoods were divided by numbered wards, O4W, as it’s known for short, was once known as the city’s most desirable neighborhood. The aptly named Boulevard has been the main thoroughfare since the 1890s. Simply walking down Edgewood Avenue, you’ll find large scale pieces on nearly every corner from Piedmont Avenue to Krog Street. Memorable murals are the frequently changing works at The Sound Table and the kaleidoscopic Momo piece in the Boulevard Tunnel.
And you can’t mention art in the Old Fourth without mentioning Beltline Trail , a revitalized rail line turned public walking path. The Eastside Trail runs from Krog Street to Piedmont Park with art installations along the way. Look for works by Fintan Magee, Christopher Derek Bruno, Drew Tyndell and Benjamin Niznik as you walk the paved paths and pause to admire the work at the North Avenue overpass.
The up-and-coming neighborhood now popular with the young and hip once had a streetcar line that connected residents to the city. Commissioned and unofficial pieces line Glenwood and Flat Shoals Road including the Interesni Kazki work on one side of Argosy, a restaurant and beer bar. On the other is a dragon fighting a fox by local artist Shaun Thurston. Another Kazki collaboration with Indigo nearby features portraits of three young girls.
Downtown and Five Points
This part of town is where five streets converge and is conveniently located near Underground Atlanta. Broad Street has its own corridor of street art that revolves around The Mammal Gallery, a creative space for artists, located between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Mitchell Street. You’ll find the gallery exterior by Hense as it’s the most colorful part of the block. The Admire Tilt’s American flag on the side of a building and Sever’s “I’m not a player, I just read a lot.”
As one of the few public art works in downtown, there is an Ernest Zacharevic piece abutting the Skywheel at Centennial Olympic Park. The artist is most well known for his work in Penang in Malaysia. Another well-known work is on Mitchell Street by Belgian artist ROA. The upside down alligator takes up the better part of a building.
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