The countdown to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta looms large over the city. Atlanta has hosted the big game twice before, in 1994 and again in 2000. Now, the city is prepping to host the Super Bowl in 2019 at the shiny, new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And a sizable art project is part of the larger initiative to leave a lasting impression from the game.
A collaboration between the city, the Super Bowl Host Committee and community arts organization WonderRoot, Off the Wall aims to showcase Atlanta's unique culture and history through 30 new murals painted on walls throughout the city. Specifically, the murals will pay homage to Atlanta's past, present and future role in the national movements for civil and human rights.
In an interview about the project with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WonderRoot's executive director, Chris Appleton, says he hopes the murals have an impact and spark an ongoing conversation. The art project is a part of Legacy 53, the host committee’s commitment to create a lasting legacy on Atlanta after the game.
To ensure that the murals truly reflect the city, its complex history and rich diversity, Off the Wall is hosting community conversations at multiple locations across metro Atlanta through the end of August. The subjects of the murals will come from these discussions about social justice with Atlanta residents, community partners and the artists themselves.
Of the artists selected, more than half call Atlanta home, including 77-year-old Gilbert Young. From his first mural during the Vietnam War to getting President Obama's signature on a mixed media portrait, Young's relationship with art has long been about making a statement and inciting conversation. He recently sat down with the AJC to talk about his career as an artist and how he became involved with Off the Wall. Listen to accessAtlanta to hear the conversation.