By Collin Kelley
Editor

The trails and parks that make up the Atlanta BeltLine will once again be filled with vibrant installations and original performances beginning this month and continuing through November.

More than 70 artists were chosen from nearly 200 applicants for the third annual event, which is all outdoors and free to the public. Distinctive art installations will cover nine miles of paved and interim hiking trails of the 22-mile loop of historic and mostly abandoned rail around the heart of the city. Artistic mediums include sculpture, murals, dance, theater, outdoor concerts, parades, performance art, and more.

Visual installations and performances will be concentrated in the following areas along the Atlanta BeltLine:

  • Westside: From Gordon White Park north to Washington Park and from Allene Avenue to Lee Street.
  • Northeast side: From Montgomery Ferry Drive (behind Ansley Mall) south to Irwin Street / Lake Avenue.
  • Southeast side: From Wiley Street south to Memorial Drive.

To see a full calendar of the performance pieces and updates on about this year’s exhibits, visit art.beltline.org.

 

MEET SOME OF THE ARTISTS

Teens of the Youth Art Connection
Artist and teacher Gregor Turk has been working with the Youth Art Connection of the Boys & Girls Club for more than a decade, so getting them involved in Art on the BeltLine was, as the teens might say, a no-brainer. Nearly 30 teens worked on the project, an installation of miniature figures and buildings tucked into the rock outcropping between Ansley Mall and Piedmont Park. “We worked with different colors of unfired clay and stuck them in all the nooks and crannies,” Turk says. “There are Mayan pyramids, Japanese architecture and other representations of different civilizations.” Turk said the project was a great way to introduce the kids to the BeltLine and public art. “When we were installing the figures, people walking by would stop and the reaction was great. Public art doesn’t necessarily have to be this massive thing; there is power in the small, too.”

 

Christopher Martin
If you’ve been following the BeltLine in the local media, chances are you’ve already seen Chris Martin’s work since he’s the project’s official photographer. Martin has been shooting the BeltLine for four years, when much of it was still choked with weeds and kudzu. “I’ve covered all 22 miles on my bike, in my car and walking. I’ve climbed over walls and through fences to try and document the entire project,” he says. There have been significant changes to the BeltLine over the last four years, especially on the Eastside Trail, so Martin’s installation will be a “before and after” of large-scale photos of the corridor from four years ago juxtaposed with the now. “I’m doing six of them, from Ponce to Irwin Street, and you’ll be able to look at how the trail looked then and then peer around the photo and see the area now.”

 

Park Cofield & Co.
Park Cofield is well known in Atlanta for his work with the Center for Puppetry Arts and his hit adaptation of The Red Balloon for Theatre du Reve, but he’s lately become a bi-coastal artist having moved to Los Angeles to pursue his art. Cofield will be back in town to create a performance piece underneath the bridge near Virginia Avenue and Monroe Drive. The piece is called the Big & Small Insect Show and is sure to delight the kids and creep out their parents. The event will be held on Oct. 13 at dusk. Cofield and his team of folklorists, musicians and actors will explore all kinds of creepy crawlers in poems, song, dance and images projected on the bridge supports. There will also be a display of glowing and blinking creatures turning the underside of the bridge into an “insect box,” Cofield says.

Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons
Chantelle Rytter created the Krewe of Grateful Gluttons in 1999 to take part in New Orleans famed Mardi Gras celebration. When she moved to Atlanta in 2001, she brought the idea of the Krewe with her and now the group regularly presents unusual art installations and parades around the city. The Lantern Parade has been a part of Art on The BeltLine since its inception and this year’s event is set for Sept. 8 at dusk at Irwin Street. Led by the Seed & Feed Marching Abominables, The Lantern Parade will continue to Park Tavern. Everyone is invited to bring out that old Coleman or make a lantern especially for the parade. “Come play and hold up a light for the Atlanta BeltLine,” Rytter says. GratefulGluttons.com

The Knitterati
The Knitterati is a group of nine women and one incredibly productive man – Brigette Flood, Sandy M. Tyler, Kate Binzen, Kate Crosby, Stephanie Haas, Katherine Kearns, Annie Perry, Julie Rivard, Kate Swett and Mr. Britt Dunn. “We’re a merry bunch of friends, professionals and Intowners who share a passion for each other, our projects and the local arts,” says Tyler. Last year, The Knitterati wrapped trees on the Westside with colorful yarn, but this year’s BeltLine project is more ambitious: they are covering the top and sides of the bridge on Fulton Terrace in the Cabbagetown/Reynoldstown area. “There’s a lot of mythology about crossing bridges, and we’ve been inspired to create some ‘Creatures of the Beltline,” Tyler says. “We’re really playing with scale, texture and technique this year as well.” By the time the installation is done, The Knitteratti will have spent months knitting and crocheting for the project. Tyler says, “We hope to add to the dialogue of what street art is by using a different medium. We’re honored to be a part of it.”

Kyle Brooks
The whimsical landscapes, faces and characters created by Kyle Brooks have become is calling card in the artistic world. His work not only graces this month’s cover of Atlanta INtown, but he will also be contributing in a big way this year to Art on The BeltLine. He’s been given the prime spot of the Highland Avenue Bridge and he plans to create 10 giant faces on the support columns under the structure. Brooks has worked with schools and can be found at many art events in the city, including the recent Slotin Folk Fest and the upcoming East Atlanta Strut. He started painting in 2000, but the faces and landscapes he’s become known for are often created when he’s doodling. “I can be talking to someone and they’ll say something and it gives me an idea and I just find myself sketching,” he says. For Art on the BeltLine, Brooks says he’s excited to have such a large canvas to play with this year. “I like the scope of it. You get free rein to do what you want.”

Art on the BeltLine Participants

Performance Art

  • Taranji L. Alvarado
  • Crossover Movement Arts
  • Emily Christianson
  • Park Cofield & Co.
  • Henry Detweiler and Christ, Lord
  • The Dojo Collective
  • Past Prime Players
  • Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery
  • Tara Hemmer
  • Gateway Performance Productions
  • Trevor Jones and the Collective Project
  • Spiral of Sound Crystal Bowl Choir
  • Klimchak with Stuart Gerber, Olivia Kieffer and Isaac Anderson
  • Santiago Paramo
  • Imaginary Menagerie Productions
  • Krewe of Grateful Gluttons
  • Otis Alexander Sallid  
  • Priscilla Smith
  • Wade Tilton, Kevin Huey and the Ghost Project
  • Kebbi Williams Band with Strings and Michael Atwood Fergeson

Visual Art

  • Adron
  • Aaron Albrecht
  • Bryan Alcorn
  • LaMar Barber
  • Cash Barnes
  • Geoffrey Bartlett
  • Christopher Bivins
  • Hadley Breckenridge
  • Kyle Brooks
  • Neil Carver
  • Misao Cates
  • Susan Champeny
  • Jac Coffey
  • earth muse art
  • The Experience Collective
  • Michael Tod Edgerton
  • Virginia Byers and Aria Finkelstein
  • The Knitterati
  • Chris Higgins
  • Gyun Hur
  • Machiko Ichihara
  • Andre James
  • Mike Jensen
  • RAUM
  • Brady King
  • JD Koth
  • Elia Green, Queue Kufalk, David Carlock and Caden Newcome
  • David Landis
  • Pam Longobardi
  • Cecilia Lueza
  • Casey Lynch
  • Christopher Martin
  • Ryan Mathern and Cecilia Marrero
  • Santiago Menendez
  • Mariam Mojdehi
  • Laura Noel
  • Carol Rankin
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • The Loss Prevention Collective
  • Karen Shacham and Michael Carpenter
  • Tarver Siebert
  • Jason Smith
  • Geoffrey Smith
  • Leslie Tharp
  • Teens of the Youth Art Connection facilitated by Gregor Turk
  • Joshua Wallman
  • Cathy Wise
  • Georgia State University, Department of Three Dimensional Studies facilitated by Mike Wsol
  • Harry Zmijewski

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.