Published: 03/05/20 The new mural at Arts Center MARTA Station by local artist Stacie Rose.
There’s a bright new addition to the Arts Center MARTA Station in Midtown — a new mural on the station’s facade on West Peachtree Street.
The mural, by local artist Stacie Rose, is just the first step in a major placemaking project that is a result of an ongoing partnership between MARTA and Midtown Alliance. Rose said the vibrant colors and design were inspired by the hustle and bustle of Midtown and by the station itself, which is the busiest MARTA station in the district.
“We wanted to pick something out that we knew would be upbeat and provide a nice splash of color and movement, and we thought this would fit the bill,” said Katherine Dirga, MARTA’s arts administrator. “Without question, artwork is something that improves a space and adds something to the experience, whether that’s someone passing by or working in the neighborhood.”
The West Peachtree facade of the station before the recent enhancements.
More than 5,000 plants have been planted around the 25,000-square-foot plaza, as well as synthetic turf and seating directly in front of the mural. More lighting and multi-use seating will also be installed.
“It really accentuates parts of the plaza that can be inviting to the public and ask them to stick around for a while,” Dirga said. “I think we’ll see that, and it will also add to the safety, vibrancy and spirit of the neighborhood and make MARTA a better community partner.”
Arts Center Station is the district’s busiest MARTA station, supporting transfers to and from regional bus transit as well as rail service. Midtown is widely known as Atlanta’s “heart of the arts” due to its number of arts and cultural institutions like the Woodruff Arts Centre, Museum of Design Atlanta and Center for Puppetry Arts. This placemaking project’s aim is to combine art with transit in a way that creates a community gathering spot.
“Our vision is that the stations reflect the neighborhoods they’re in, so where better to focus on art than the Arts Center Station?” Dirga said.
A Work in Progress
Changes are coming to the interior of the station as well. MARTA has a station plan moving forward, and Arts Center is on the list for renovations, though a date for construction has not been set. Work will be completed in multiple phases and details will depend on whether MARTA decides to move forward with a Transit Oriented Development on the site, Dirga said.
Stacie Rose's work will kick off an ongoing temporary mural program, meaning that MARTA will periodically change the artwork on West Peachtree to feature other local muralists and provide something new for patrons to see. Additionally, MARTA and Midtown Alliance are partnering to layer in even more activity in the plaza in the form of weekly programming. Staff is planning to introduce live music through MARTA’s Artbound Live program and is working with MARTA to pilot a Fresh MARTA Market in the plaza.
“The combination of Artbound Live performances, Fresh MARTA Market, and other activations will build on Midtown Alliance and MARTA’s recent investments in station enhancements to transform the once underutilized plaza into an active and welcoming public space,” said Lauren Bohn, Midtown Alliance’s Project Manager of Urban Design and Placemaking. “This is a perfect example of how meaningful partnership can contribute to Midtown’s network of vibrant street-level open space and how we can celebrate transit and pedestrianism as the preferred method of transportation in the district.”
Our Largest Placemaking Project to Date
The plaza enhancements at Arts Center mark the third time MARTA has collaborated with Midtown Alliance on station enhancements, and it’s also the largest. In 2016, Jamie Hayon’s “Tiovivo” exhibit made its debut in the plaza at Arts Center Way, called The Porch. Hayon described his whimsical work in this interview here.
The Porch is also home to a piano hand painted by artist and musician Jeremy Ray. In late 2019, Ray repainted the exterior of the piano with a completely new abstract design, and the instrument is enjoyed by dozens of commuters and passersby every day.
For our second placemaking project, Midtown Alliance and MARTA transformed the south plaza of the Midtown MARTA Station by installing new lighting, astro mounds for seating and large murals by local artist Andrew Catanese. Check out a video about the project here.
Join Us in “The Heart of the Arts”
Later this month, MARTA’s Artbound Live program resumes at stations around the city,. Starting the week of March 19, you can check out live performances in Midtown at these times:
- Thursdays from 3-6pm at Midtown Station
- Fridays from 3-6pm at Arts Center Station