Chiomma Hall works on her installation at 90 Peachtree Place adjacent to Cafe Agora.
BY ELLIE HENSLEY
Pedestrians in Midtown over the past few weeks may have noticed artists painting murals in three vacant storefront spaces at the center of the district, and three new installations were just unveiled this month.
The exhibitions are part of Midtown Alliance’s Heart of the Arts, a multi-phased program launched at the end of last year with four storefront activations. Heart of the Arts will continue through 2021, with residencies to be announced later in the year to give artists temporary workspaces to build firm foundations in the district.
The latest works have a common theme: finding hope and connection through the tumultuous times we are living in. They’ll make their debut just in time for Valentine’s Day, so stroll by with a loved one or make a socially distanced coffee date to see them with a friend.
Here’s some details about the newest Heart of the Arts exhibitions:
- Chiomma Hall - “Give People Flowers While They Are Alive” - 90 Peachtree Place - In this work, Hall depicts strength and hope through wellness and mutual care among one’s support system. Figures pay homage to first responders. They rest in field, shoeless but still in their daily attire, as they enjoy well deserved rest and community.
- Melissa Huang - “Laughing With My Sister 1,400 Miles Apart” - 90 Peachtree Place - This mural celebrates a silver lining of the pandemic: digital communication with friends, family, and loved ones has become more accessible than ever before. Huang has painted portraits of herself and her older sister in a fragmented, glitchy style to represent virtual connection.
Phingbodhipakkiya's colorful mural is now on view across 10th Street from the Midtown MARTA Station. Photo credit: Joshua Fu (Instagram @mistahfu)
- Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya - “Let Me Share the Sky With You” - 10 Tenth Street - In this piece Phingbodhipakkiya reminds viewers to savor each moment in this season of uncertainty. In a time when being close to the ones we love is difficult or unsafe, this mural imbues viewers with warmth and comfort. The sky, ever present in the background, is a great canvas to imagine dreams, allay fears, and find courage.
“A Communal Thank You”
We caught up with Hall, a freelance illustrator based in Atlanta, about her role in the program as she was putting the finishing touches on her mural at 90 Peachtree Place. She was recruited to participate in the program by Heart of the Arts curator Neda Abghari, who found her work on Instagram.
Hall’s piece was inspired by a friend who has been reminding her throughout the pandemic to show her love and appreciation for others by giving them flowers while they’re still living.
“That was the driving factor of the mural,” she said. “I wanted to create something that felt like a communal thank you to individuals who have been going through it the worst. To essential workers, educators, elderly individuals and mothers.”
Hall has been working on her mural for about a month, and while she said completing it has taken a bit longer than she anticipated, it’s been a fun journey.
“Midtown has been very accommodating and understanding, motivating and just encouraging me to continue and trust in myself and my ideas,” Hall said. “I feel supported, considered, protected when needed, and seen. I haven’t needed to silence my voice at any time for the comfort and convenience of others. It’s been a good experience.”
Hall and Huang’s installations were completed the first week of February. Phingbodhipakkiya’s mural is completed, and finishing touches such as lighting will be completed soon.
All Heart of the Arts installations are made possible via partnerships with private property owners, and founding partners include Atlanta History Center, Cafe Agora, Coro Realty, Franklin Street Properties, 10 10th Street and Madison Marquette. Host sites enjoy the presence of art on their property and the added visibility that it brings.
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.