Vacant storefronts in downtown Atlanta to be filled with art

Local artists are invited to reimagine forgotten spaces in A&E Atlanta’s new initiative, Downtown Windows

Credit: Erin Sintos

Credit: Erin Sintos

Arts & Entertainment Atlanta, also known as A&E Atlanta, is an initiative managed by the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) that seeks to infuse Downtown Atlanta with art, outdoor media, and public programming.

A&E Atlanta was established by the Atlanta City Council in 2017 and is self-funded via revenue-sharing agreements with media companies. In the years since, A&E Atlanta has supported numerous programming efforts including art displays on digital billboards, artist residencies, installation art, and grants.

And now, they’ve set their sights on a new outlet for art in the district: vacant storefronts.

Downtown Windows is an innovative and original art placemaking initiative that invites artists to transform vacant storefronts into works of art. Local artists and internationally acclaimed cultural partners alike are invited to reimagine forgotten spaces with art.

Featured Downtown Windows artist and activations include Mike Stasny’s “Playful Whimsy with PINK BALLOOON”, a preposterous, joyful, absurd, and whimsical installation that appears to be barely contained by the walls and windows of 42 Walton St NW.

Credit: A&E Atlanta

Credit: A&E Atlanta

Karo Duro’s “Windows of Wonder” offers thoughtfully designed window displays that invite viewers to interact with the artwork and engage with their inner child. Located at 130 Cone St NW.

“Mystical Forest” by Almost Gaia brings the outside in with a mystical woodland installation that was built with found materials, natural elements, and purposeful lighting. The result is a playful take on Atlanta’s reputation as the “city in the forest” at 82 Peachtree St SW.

Floyd Hall and Elodie Le Breut created “Photographic Narratives” in partnership with ELEVATE and VILLA ALBERTINE. Works by photographers Ken West and Yohanne Lamoulère explore community stories and life in the city. West and Lamoulère use still images to celebrate the often-overlooked beauty of everyday life and kaleidoscopic experiences of human nature. 223-225 Mitchell Street.

“We believe that the heartbeat of Atlanta is most vibrant when its artists pulse with creative freedom. ‘Downtown Windows’ isn’t just about revitalizing spaces; it’s about spotlighting the soul of our city through the eyes of our local talent,” said Fredalyn M. Frasier, Project Director of Planning and Urban Design at the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District.

“By reimagining these vacant storefronts, we’re creating a canvas for artists to inspire, engage, and connect with the community,” said Frasier. “This initiative is a testament to Atlanta’s resilience and ingenuity, inviting both residents and visitors to explore the depths of our city’s creativity. We’re not just drawing people downtown; we’re immersing them in what’s possible when a city believes in the power of its artists.”

A&E Atlanta’s other new venture, Celebrate Downtown Atlanta, hopes to act as a tribute to Atlanta and to serve as inspiration to bring people back to Downtown. Three local artists, George F. Baker III, India Nabarro, and Adam Crawford have produced works that embody the spirit of the city.

Baker’s deep love for murals with positive messaging inspired “Make It Big In Atlanta,” a piece that pays homage to the nurturing environment inherent in Atlanta’s art scene. Nabarro, an Atlanta native, celebrates the joys of life in Downtown Atlanta. Crawford, who is the curator of his own gallery Cat Eye Creative in South Downtown, has created an animated piece called “Be Yourself, Be Downtown,” inspired by all the small things that make Downtown Atlanta so special.

Celebrate Downtown Atlanta is a part of the evergreen content that A&E Atlanta seeks to rotate through periodically into the indefinite future. The initiative will launch with Baker’s work in November, followed by Nabarro’s in December, and then Crawford’s in January of 2024. A&E Atlanta also plans to expand their Downtown Windows initiative with more artists and space activations in coming months.

In major metropolitan cities like Atlanta, where downtown districts have fallen out of favor since the advent of automobiles, avant-garde placemaking and arts programming can reinvigorate entire districts and bring new life to the communities they serve.

Credit: Rough Draft Atlanta

Credit: Rough Draft Atlanta


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