Midtown News Center

Arts Center MARTA Station Placemaking Project Kicks Off

Vibrant, welcoming new space to be delivered this fall on West Peachtree plaza

Published 10/3/19

Enhancements are officially kicking off this month at the Arts Center MARTA Station, marking the third major collaboration between MARTA and Midtown Alliance on placemaking projects at stations in the district, and the largest to date. 

Arts Center Station is Midtown’s busiest MARTA Station. The bustling space supports transfers to and from regional bus transit and stands out as a key connector to the largest concentration of arts and culture in the southeast, including the adjacent Woodruff Arts Center. The area around the station has experienced substantial growth, both in residential and commercial development. The planned station enhancements will provide a welcoming, publicly-accessible space for transit riders, daytime workers, residents and visitors to take in Midtown’s rich cultural scene.


What’s coming to the plaza?

Plaza designs, created by Sylvatica Studio, will offer an immediate amenity for transit users waiting on connections by providing custom, multipurpose seating. The largest of the four seating platforms, in front of the station entrance, will visually and physically connect the north and south ends of the plaza. 

This project is unique from previous enhancements in that it will emphasize landscaping improvements throughout the 25,000-square-foot plaza. To improve conditions for an updated landscape plan, the team will remove some smaller plant material, regrade the site and repair or replace existing irrigation. Additionally, site improvements will care for numerous mature trees that exist onsite already to provide generous canopy and shade. 

Branden Collins of The Young Never Sleep will create initial work for a color and light activation at the Arts Center MARTA Station.Branden Collins of The Young Never Sleep will create initial work for a color and light activation at the Arts Center MARTA Station.

Color and light project will make the plaza pop

These physical improvements will make a better transit experience for MARTA patrons as well as many riders who use this space to connect to regional buses. But one of the real showstoppers that will add vibrancy to the space is the planned series of visually-arresting design projects featuring combinations of color and light. 

Dashboard, an arts company founded and headquartered in Atlanta, has joined the project team to curate and produce an exciting mix of art installation and programming. To kick off the project, Dashboard has brought on designer Branden Collins of The Young Never Sleep, who will create initial work for a color and light activation. After working as an artist in Atlanta for many years, Collins is currently based in Los Angeles and is a creative director for Snapchat. Collins is an interdisciplinary designer and art director who melds his background in fine art and graphic design to create a potent, playfully sophisticated and unique visual style. 

“We’re thrilled to bring the creative magic of Dashboard to Arts Center Station in another great partnership with Midtown Alliance,” said Katherine Dirga, MARTA’s arts administrator. “Art in public places creates community and boosts civic pride, and this total transformation will be a big wow!”

Collins’ designs for Arts Center Station will combine colorful paint and integrated neon lighting, which will be installed this fall and will set the stage for future temporary artwork and arts programming as a part of MARTA’s Artbound Program, coming in 2020. 


Partnership gets bigger and better with each new collaboration

Midtown Alliance’s ongoing placemaking partnership with MARTA has helped breathe new life into underperforming plaza spaces.

Watch this video interview with Spanish designer Jaime Hayon - 2016 artist-in-residence at the High Museum of Art - about his whimsical work that transformed the plaza along Arts Center Way:

And view this interview with Atlanta artist Andrew Catanese about his Southern-Gothic work on the south plaza at Midtown station:

Discover more public art, hidden gems and points of interest throughout Midtown with our IN*MidtownATL app. It's like having your very own tour guide to explore the neighborhood. 



Enjoy live performances each week 

Both of these spaces offer free weekly Artbound Live performances worth checking out:

  • Thursdays from 3-6pm at Midtown station
  • Fridays from3-6pm at Arts Center Station

The enhancements to the West Peachtree Street side of Arts Center Station are designed to accommodate Artbound Live performances in the future.

“While MARTA’s primary goal is providing high quality public transit to metropolitan Atlanta’s residents and visitors, we believe that good corporate citizens also offer a little something extra to improve the customer experience,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker. “Our Artbound program does that. From live music to dance performances and visual art, Artbound integrates art throughout the system and offers a cultural experience to our riders.”