Buford Highway will buzz with the excitement of public art, a night market and community conversations this month when We Love BuHi and Living Walls team up to raise awareness of issues facing those living and working in the “multicultural heart of metro Atlanta.”
The conference, named The BuHi Walk, takes place Sept. 8 through 17 at various locations and businesses in Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville along Buford Highway.
The numerous planned events are open to the public, such as restaurant week, a Night Market and discussions of the future of Buford Highway at various venues. Final details were still being wrapped up for some of the events at press time. Those interested in attending can visit the websites of We Love BuHi and Living Walls for more information.
The Northeast Plaza shopping center in Brookhaven at Buford Highway and Briarwood Road will be the site of a “Night Market” on Sept. 16 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The market will feature food, public performances and entertainment, clothing, arts and crafts and offer for sale small household goods, other products and services.
As part of the Night Market, there will be a Bike Tour and many of the shopping center’s parking spaces will be transformed in an event titled “Living Rooms” that is related to the “(PARK)ing Day on Sept. 15, a nationwide annual effort to turn parking spaces into miniature parks. Lenox Square Mall in Buckhead is doing a similar program that day.
Public art is a major part of Living Walls and two murals created by artist Jess X. Snow have been painted on the Precision Tune Auto Care business of Buford Highway. Cross Keys High School students helped paint the murals that portray mothers embracing children.
Amit Patel, who was born in London and moved to metro Atlanta in 1998, has managed the auto business the for 15 years. He said his clientele is largely Hispanic. He agreed to allow the murals to be painted because he “wanted to make a difference in the community” where so many immigrants like him work and live.
“The murals are art, they tell a story,” he said. “People come here on their own accord and due to circumstances — they should not be criticized. We’re all human, we all belong here.”
One of Snow’s murals includes the words, “We were raised by our mothers, who carried us across the Pacific, to get here, from ash we reincarnate a home” and includes a larger-than-life painting of a mother embracing a child. The other mural also shows a mother and child embracing with the words, “We are here to stay.”
Living Walls Executive Director and co-founder Mónica Campana said she wanted to bring Living Walls to Buford Highway, where a cluster of multiple immigrant communities live and work in Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville, to show “cultural diversity is exactly what makes our cities so strong and resilient.”
“Since the moment I moved to this country, I saw my parents work day and night, non-stop, trying to get us settled here. Just like my family, the community of Buford Highway is comprised of people that hold the most impeccable work ethic, that are resilient, and most importantly, full of love,” she said in a written statement. “The more I hear their stories, the more I see myself in all of them, with pride and determination. Those stories need to be heard and portrayed and given recognition as vital stories of our communities.”
The BuHi Walk will connect the interior walkways and informal pedestrian routes within Buford Highway’s lots and parcels through an array of murals and other art installations, Liou said.
“Buford Highway is famed for its diversity and yet apart from the signage, it’s a challenge to see that diversity simply driving up and down the street,” she said in a statement. “To see oneself, to see difference as beautiful, is empowering and transformative on a personal level, and I believe it’s the same for communities. I’m very excited for this public art project in our most well-known immigrant neighborhood that will allow all Atlantans to appreciate the richness, complexity, and breadth of the immigrant experience.”
‘BuHi Walk’ events
Sept. 10-17: Restaurant Week
Sept. 14: Lecture panel
Sept. 15: Movie night
Sept. 16: Bike BuHi Tour, PARK(ing) Day, and Night Market and Block Party at Northeast Plaza
Sept. 17: Curators’ talk and case study