Public Art in Atlanta

Martin Luther King Memorial

The public art scene in Atlanta is slowly growing. Before the 1996 Olympics the display of public art was at the end of a long list of priorities for the local government. Once Atlanta got the bid to host the largest event in the world, public art became more of a concern to the city. The Corporation for the Olympic Development in Atlanta (CODA) set a new standard for the importance of public art throughout the city. Although, the local government is responsible for establishing new public art, they are not alone in preserving the old. There are many organizations that are working together to increase awareness of public art to the community. However, creating a well rounded art scene in Atlanta takes jumping over many obstacles.
Here is an interesting article in Bizjournal about Public art in Atlanta.

"Ballet Olympia" sculpture commissioned by John Portman at SunTrust Tower - artist is Paul Manship

Art Organizations

The Bureau of Cultural Affairs is the branch of government that is responsible for public art. The BCA works along side with the Metroplitan
Public Art Coalition and the Atlanta Public Arts Legacy Fund to insure a wide range of exposure to the community. Some of these organizations are also only accepting artist that are residences of Georgia. The purpose of this is to fully involve the community by all means. Although, Georgia residences are only eligible the artist must still apply to the artists registry to be considered to submit for a project. The public arts projects range from sculpture to photography and anything in between.

The Art of Marta

One of the city's leading purveyors of art is MARTA. The transit authority boasts some form of artwork at each of its 36 train stations: at West End, it's a portrait of the neighborhood's history; at Lindbergh Center, it's a multicolored Plexiglas roof that allows rays of tinted sunlight to stream onto the platform. At the new North Springs and Sandy Springs stations, a minimum of $100,000 is allotted to incorporate art into the design. There's even a concrete sculpture slated for one of the parking decks.

"A large part of why we do this has to do with making it a friendly environment," said MARTA spokesperson Dee Baker. "Art really adds personality to all our stations, and shows our appreciation for the customers. From the onset, art has been something MARTA was committed to doing."
(taken from Bizjournal nov.3,2000 - H.M. Cauley)

Activist Public Art

Lisa Maya Knauer's sign for "Entering Buttermilk Bottom"

"Entering Buttermilk Bottom," by RepoHistory - part of the Atlanta Festival of the Arts in 1995.
Signs placed on the site of the Atlanta Civic Center documented the African-American community
razed to build the complex.

Skateicon.jpg The Disappearing Arts -Graffiti, Skateboarding and their disappearing habitats

Local Artists



As far as sculpture goes for public art Martin Dawe is one of the more prominent artist in Atlanta. Some of His work in atlanta consist of an eight foot tall statue atop the world ahtletes monument on peachtree st. and an abstract piece in the Fulton County Juvenile Justice Court.



Most people would not think of photography as a piece for public art,but if you have ever arrived at Hartsfield Airport it is pretty hard to miss the 70'x20' photograph as you asend up the escalators. The piece was done by Deborah Whitehouse.

airport.gif The Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport Art

Most people think the airport is used to run from terminal to terminal to catch their planes, but actually there are many beautiful art exhibits that are set up throughout the airport as well. So the next time that you are at the airport to catch a flight take the time to see these great art works.


-Ayokunle Odeleye-

Ayokundele Odeleye is one of the more prominent public artists in the United States. He has erected six public art sculptures in the Atlanta area alone. In an interview with Odeleye, we find what it takes to be a professional public artist.

Odeleye interview

Additional Info: Articles

-The Great Southwest Industrial Park Sculpture-

This article deals with the rise and fall of Angus Gilchrist Wynne Jr.'s vision of bringing art to new places. The park opened November 1, 1968, with thirty pieces of contemporary sculpture, which was the largest public collection in the world. The article also covers the thirty artists and where or what has happened to their pieces since the park was taken over just five years after its opening.
by John Howett, Art Papers, Sept-Oct. 1981.

-A Revisionist History-

This Issue of Art Papers Focuses only on the Arts Festival of Atlanta. The article that deals with public art is the ON-SITE SCULPTURE. It allows each artist to talk about thier piece and how they hope the viewer will react. These sculptures were placed throughout peidmount park because that was the site of the arts festival since 1953.
-Art Papers, May-June 1984.

-An essay by Chandra Shin-

The art world has seen an increase in tattoo art that has reached an all time high. It is almost impossible to go somewhere without seeing a tattoo, even big wig buisness types have tattoos.
May 3, 2006, Kennesaw State University

Sandy Springs Turtle Project


Titian Turtle, Gordon Anderson

Sponsored by The Art Institute of Atlanta
Located at the Sandy Springs Public Library