At Street-Level, New Midtown Heart of the Arts Program Brings Art to Forefront of District
First phase of new initiative places art exhibitions in vacant storefronts, with artist residencies to follow in 2021
BY ELLIE HENSLEY
Midtown’s street level experience is coming alive this winter with Heart of the Arts, a new program launching with a series of temporary art installations in vacant retail storefronts.
Heart of the Arts showcases talent that is new to Midtown, supports the local arts economy and energizes the sidewalk experience for pedestrians in the district that carries the mantle as Atlanta’s epicenter for arts and culture. The storefront activations are the first phase of the program, to be followed in 2021 by residencies that will give artists workspaces to build firm foundations in the district. Both of these components rely on partnerships with private property owners to work and financial support from the Midtown Improvement District.
Find out about the artists, their work and where you can see it below.
Here's where you can see the Heart of the Arts exhibitions currently on view, and what's coming next.
Behind the Scenes of Heart of the Arts
These four artists’ activations are currently on view:
- Shanequa Gay - “Secoriea’s Spirit Lives Here” - 805 Peachtree - Gay creates a space for Secoriea Turner’s spirit to live on as a saint. She is honored and dawned in gold to reflect her royalty, purity and divinity. Secoriea is housed in a space of covering, protection and infinite flow of devout totem heads.
- Kaye Lee Patton - "Re:Re" - 990 Peachtree Street (Atlanta History Center Midtown Campus) - Kaye's work is an abstract interpretation of the "city in the forest." By incorporating flowers and trees with graphic shapes of arches, stairs and flowers, Patton explores the symbiotic relationship of urban lifecycle in harmony with nature.
Williams puts the finishing touches on his painting.
- Fabian Williams - “Imagination is More Important Than Knowledge” - 990 Peachtree Street (Atlanta History Center Midtown Campus) - In this work, Williams hopes to inspire children to imagine a future without boundaries, to see the best version of themselves and the world they live in, and to bring that vision to fruition.
- Kristan Woolford - “¢olor W@ve$” - 999 Peachtree Street - Woolford’s projection suggests a casting of alternate realities and a call to see the current and future social climate through a nuanced lens focused on the country’s past. In this digital montage, he explores hope as a catalyst for change and a vehicle for remaining resilient in the face of adversity.
A preview of Melissa Huang's artwork, coming soon to 90 Peachtree Place.
Additionally, three artists’ work will debut in early 2021:
Midtown Alliance staff engaged Atlanta curator Neda Abghari to deliver the first round of temporary storefront exhibitions. Abghari is the founder and executive director of The Creatives Project, an award-winning artist and residency program which has supported over 70 local talents through residency programs and exhibitions since 2011.
Heart of the Arts relies on strategic partnerships with commercial property owners, and founding partners include Atlanta History Center, Cafe Agora, Coro Realty, Franklin Street Properties, Madison Marquette and Union Investment Real Estate.
The storefront installations are expected to remain through the winter. Grab a cup of coffee at a nearby store and go explore anytime in the open-air while maintaining social distance.
Coming Soon: Residencies, Programming and Community Engagement
Later in 2021, Midtown Alliance will look to announce a second phase of the program that includes residencies, or temporary workspaces where artists can establish a presence in Midtown. The residencies will last from six to 18 months and include a component of community engagement in the form of special programming and events featuring their work.
A recent parallel example of arts programming that yielded community participation is the Parliament of Owls lantern parade in Midtown, which originated out of the dedicated art studio space at the Cousins Promenade building.
Stay tuned for updates on our Heart of the Arts webpage and by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you take photos, please tag them #MidtownATLarts.