“The Shade” by Auguste Rodin is one of the most notable works on display on the campus at the High Museum of Art. STAFF PHOTO
Photo: Staff
Photo: Staff

Where to view outdoor art in Atlanta

Outdoor art pops in Atlanta, and springtime is the time to get out and see it. While the town has developed an international reputation for its murals, due to the efforts of such organizations as Living Walls, WonderRoot, and the Outerspace Project by Greg Mike, there are other examples of the visual arts to keep us entertained, enthralled and even moved. This is just a sampling of the treats that are available, often for free. Spring forward and check them out.

Art on the Beltline

According to the Art on the Beltline website, the art created for this intown path “celebrates the voices, experiences, and values of all Atlantans through the work of hundreds of visual artists, performers, and musicians along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor.” The permanent pieces include “The Guide,” an imposing figure built from 8-inch I-beams. Created by Phil Proctor, “The Guide” holds a lighted acrylic staff and is located on the Westside Trail at the Lena Street access point. art.beltline.org/art

Roswell Arts Fund:

ArtAround Roswell is a partnership between the Roswell Arts Fund and the city of Roswell that has brought a brace of sculpture to the town square. Ten new temporary sculptures will arrive April 13, along with nine permanent sculptures. The permanent sculptures include the sinuous metal apparition, “Smoke,” by Marc Moulton, which was installed in 2016 and is displayed on the town square at 610 Atlanta St.

Tiny Doors

Tiny Doors ATL is a clever project dedicated to bringing free art to the streets of Atlanta, but also dedicated to the concept that good things come in small packages.

There are 15 or so tiny doors installed throughout several intown neighborhoods. Each is about 7 inches tall, and usually offers a miniature commentary on some full-sized nearby landmark. The Tiny Doors website offers a map to each door. Door No. 1 is located on one of the exterior walls of the Krog Street tunnel, where Krog crosses DeKalb Avenue, also a well-known forum for murals, tags and the creations of street artists. tinydoorsatl.com

Tiny Doors ATL displayed retired doors during its third birthday party.
Photo: Lauren Booker/For the AJC

High Museum

In addition to the art on the inside, there is plenty to look at (for free) on the campus surrounding the High Museum. A favorite is “House III” by Roy Lichtenstein, a brightly-painted real-life cartoon sculpture that seems to defy physics as you walk past it. The most notable sculpture on the grounds is “The Shade,” by Auguste Rodin, a bronze gift from France to the people of Atlanta after the disastrous 1962 crash of Air France 007. Located at 1280 Peachtree St. high.org.

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One Museum Place

Just across the street from the High Museum sits a bright red, five-ton sculpture by Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi.

Composed of five elegantly-interlocking tetrahedrons, the creation, called “Octetra,” sat on the lawn of the High Museum for a while before coming to its permanent home at One Museum Place, a condominium development by John Wieland. ompatlanta.com

Not far from the High is another notable public work by Noguchi called “Playscapes.” Built of simple shapes and pastel colors, it is actually a post-modern set of playground equipment, installed in 1976 on the western edge of Piedmont Park, near Piedmont Avenue and 13th Street.

Sandy Springs City Springs sculpture competition

A sculpture competition called “ArtSS in the Open,” sponsored by the city of Sandy Springs, will bring nine new sculptures to the City Springs complex during the month of April. Four works are currently on display at the nearby Sandy Springs Library, including “Spooky Tooth” by sculptor Andrew Crawford. City Springs is at 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. citysprings.com

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta went nuts for Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” exhibit at the High Museum this winter and spring. While those installations are gone, a few Kusama works remain in town, including a piece called “Narcissus Garden” displayed among the pines of Storza Woods.

A new version of a work she introduced to the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966, “Narcissus Garden” consists of 1,400 stainless steel spheres, carefully arranged in the wooded ravine on the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s grounds.

Elsewhere in the Botanical Garden, one can see a variety of other work, including permanent pieces by glass artist Dale Chihuly. The enthusiastic response to the garden’s exhibits of Chihuly’s work in 2004 and 2016 inspired the garden’s board to acquire several Chihuly pieces, including the “Saffron Tower” and the “Paterre Fountain Installation.” $18.95-$21.95; 1345 Piedmont Ave., atlantabg.org.

Chihuly's "Saffron Tower" is composed of 312 hand-formed neon tubes. CONTRIBUTED: ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN

Doll’s Head Trail

Begun by home remodeller Joel Slaton in 2006, the Doll’s Head Trail is a found-art treasure hunt, a series of paths in Constitution Lakes Park decorated with sometimes-eerie assemblages of scavenged artifacts. Free; open daily, dawn to dusk. 1305 South River Industrial Blvd. 404-371-3005, facebook.com/constitutionlakes.

Smith-Gilbert Gardens

Along with 3,000 species of plants, the Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw has a small sculpture collection, including “Woman and Dog” by Marsha Pels from 1996; $5-$10; 2382 Pine Mountain Road, Kennesaw, 770-919-0248, smithgilbertgardens.com.

Freedom Park

“The Bridge,” by the late Thornton Dial, is a mixed-media sculpture that uses found and sculpted objects. It is a tribute to civil rights hero John Lewis and to the community’s efforts to stop a highway from splintering the neighborhood. It is located in the John Lewis Plaza on the corner of Freedom Parkway and Ponce de Leon.

Fourth Ward

“Homage to King” by Xavier Campaney Medina, at the corner of Boulevard and Freedom Parkway, is a profile of Martin Luther King Jr. cut into a curved slab of gently-oxidized steel.

According to the city of Atlanta, the piece was commissioned by the Cultural Legacy Initiative, which brought major public works of art to Atlanta from Barcelona, host of the 1992 Summer Olympics. The sculpture stands at the entrance to the King historic neighborhood.


Downtown Atlanta is known for its murals, but there are others outside the perimeter, including a gentle scene by Sonny Franks on the side of the Music Class, a music school for children at 1446 Roswell St., SE, Smyrna.


The grandfather of public murals might be “Native Waters,” designed by David Fichter and painted by a host of volunteers along DeKalb Avenue, at Arizona Avenue, in the Lake Claire neighborhood. It was completed in April 2007.

“Native Waters” by Boston artist David Fichter is one of the longest-tenured murals in the intown area — as well as one of the longest, at 340 feet. STAFF PHOTO
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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