Beltline’s Westside Trail is a flourishing new mural hotspot

Na’iim Shareef's "Game. Blouses" was inspired by a skit by Dave Chappelle and Charlie Murphy.

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Na’iim Shareef's "Game. Blouses" was inspired by a skit by Dave Chappelle and Charlie Murphy.

After more than two grueling years of the COVID-19 pandemic, five years ago can seem like the distant past. If you walked the Atlanta Beltline back then, you might remember the Eastside trail as a bustling street art venue. By contrast, you might have been the only person walking on the sparsely muralled Westside Trail, surrounded by drab, graffiti-tagged warehouses.

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Na’iim Shareef at work on "Game. Blouses" on the Westside Beltline.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Na’iim Shareef at work on "Game. Blouses" on the Westside Beltline.

Credit: streetartmap.org

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Na’iim Shareef at work on "Game. Blouses" on the Westside Beltline.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

That’s all changed. West is now the new East. A proliferation of street art and foot traffic makes the Westside Beltline Trail a true art destination rivaling the Eastside. “The murals on the Westside Trail are special,” says Miranda Kyle, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine’s arts and culture program manager. “I believe all artists are storytellers, but these works speak to a sense of place like nowhere else on the Beltline. History, hope and community all weave in and out of the artworks. There is a great deal of collaboration and intentionality when curating this corridor. I believe it has made the public art along these two plus miles truly magic.”

A great introduction to the Westside Trail is the stretch between Lawton Street and Lee Street. Take a stroll with us.

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A recent installation by Elaine Stephenson (Artsy Elaine) incorporates the structure of the overpass.

Credit: streetartmap.org

A recent installation by Elaine Stephenson (Artsy Elaine) incorporates the structure of the overpass.

Credit: streetartmap.org

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A recent installation by Elaine Stephenson (Artsy Elaine) incorporates the structure of the overpass.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

Pillars of the Community

As you pass under the Lawton Street bridge, you’ll see Malaika Favorite’s colorful “West End Remembers,” which in 2009 was Art on the BeltLine’s first mural. On the opposite side is a recent installation by Elaine Stephenson (Artsy Elaine) which incorporates the structure of the overpass. “The columns display traits of the community, pillars such as Culture, Community and Unity,” she says. “The slanted concrete behind the columns reads 1835, the year the neighborhood was founded.”

As you take the ramp and cross the overpass, you will see an abstract by C. Flux Sing (Craig Singleton) on the sides of the bridge.

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George F. Baker III’s "Be You" mural.

Credit: streetartmap.org

George F. Baker III’s "Be You" mural.

Credit: streetartmap.org

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George F. Baker III’s "Be You" mural.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

Continuing South

Continuing south on the trail, Cultured South Fermentation Company and Best End Brewing are home to several amazing murals. The wall facing the Beltline includes one of Mr. Totem’s iconic Tactical Dreadnought Lettermech pieces, a kombucha-themed wall by Ash McNamara, and George F. Baker III’s “Be You” mural. “One of the greatest gifts you can give the world is to be present with your presence,” says Baker. “‘Be You’ was meant to be a playful way to remind passersby to just be themselves, no matter the situation.”

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The wall facing the Beltline includes one of Mr. Totem’s iconic Tactical Dreadnought Lettermech pieces.

Credit: streetartmap.org

The wall facing the Beltline includes one of Mr. Totem’s iconic Tactical Dreadnought Lettermech pieces.

Credit: streetartmap.org

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The wall facing the Beltline includes one of Mr. Totem’s iconic Tactical Dreadnought Lettermech pieces.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

On the other side of the building, the crown jewel of the courtyard’s mural wall was painted by animator, illustrator and muralist Na’iim Shareef. “My mural ‘Game. Blouses.’ was inspired by Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories where Dave Chappelle played Prince,” says Shareef. “It’s my favorite comedic skit. It combines my love for Prince’s music and the storytelling of two of my favorite comedians in one perfect package. With this mural, I pay tribute to the genius of these men. I wanted to share with Atlanta the joy this skit gave me.”

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A kombucha-themed wall by Ash McNamara.

Credit: streetartmap.org

A kombucha-themed wall by Ash McNamara.

Credit: streetartmap.org

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A kombucha-themed wall by Ash McNamara.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Living Walls and Adult Swim have sponsored two large scale reflection-themed murals on the back of the Service Box and Tape building. Fine artist, activist, muralist and designer Erica Chisolm talks about her grand installation: “Reflection is representative of the way you see yourself and the way people see you. In 1908, Black sociologist W. E. B. DuBois coined the term ‘double consciousness’ to describe an individual whose identity is divided into several facets. Today we call it code-switching. Reflection encourages us to merge our identities and stand in our truth because history has fed us a warped image of who we are. The bird of paradise [flower] symbolizes freedom, and freedom and success are received through true reflection.”

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Ariel Dannielle tells the positive stories of the everyday lives of Black women in her mural “A Mirror of Everyday Life.”

Credit: streetartmap.org

Ariel Dannielle tells the positive stories of the everyday lives of Black women in her mural “A Mirror of Everyday Life.”

Credit: streetartmap.org

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Ariel Dannielle tells the positive stories of the everyday lives of Black women in her mural “A Mirror of Everyday Life.”

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

Ariel Dannielle talks about her oversized canvas: “My mural titled ‘A Mirror of Everyday Life’ ties in with what all my work is inspired by — my life. I want people like me to see this mural and feel they’re being represented in a positive light and to feel like they can relate. Even something as simple as a painting of you and your best friend talking on the phone in your cute bedrooms can mean something when you feel seen.”

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Charmaine Minniefield memorializes Carrie Steele Logan, a resourceful philanthropist, born into slavery.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Charmaine Minniefield memorializes Carrie Steele Logan, a resourceful philanthropist, born into slavery.

Credit: streetartmap.org

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Charmaine Minniefield memorializes Carrie Steele Logan, a resourceful philanthropist, born into slavery.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

Under the Lee Street Bridge

As you wrap up your journey under the Lee Street Bridge, you will see several murals that were part of the first Beltline Walls live painting event.

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The girl blowing bubbles is the artist Gina Elizabeth Franco’s niece Jayla.

Credit: streetartmap.org

The girl blowing bubbles is the artist Gina Elizabeth Franco’s niece Jayla.

Credit: streetartmap.org

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The girl blowing bubbles is the artist Gina Elizabeth Franco’s niece Jayla.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

The girl blowing bubbles is the artist Gina Elizabeth Franco’s niece Jayla. Charmaine Minniefield memorializes Carrie Steele Logan, a resourceful philanthropist, born into slavery, who founded the first orphanage for children of color in the United States. Sachi Rome’s ethereal artwork features the quote: “If I were a bird, I would fly high above the trees. Lose all my fear in wind and overseas. Drafts of current would lead me over stress and tears. Floating in open space easing a mind and body lifted . . . on wings . . . toward peace. If I were a bird.” Muhammad Suber’s mural titled “Locksmith” tells us that cities should open up doors of opportunity for all their residents.

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Muhammad Suber’s mural titled “Locksmith” tells us that cities should open up doors of opportunity for all their residents.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Muhammad Suber’s mural titled “Locksmith” tells us that cities should open up doors of opportunity for all their residents.

Credit: streetartmap.org

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Muhammad Suber’s mural titled “Locksmith” tells us that cities should open up doors of opportunity for all their residents.

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

But Wait . . . There’s More

Several restaurants and breweries have Beltline-facing patios where you can people-watch and cool off with your favorite beverage. On Sundays from 1-5 p.m., through Aug. 29, there’s a pop-up market featuring work by artists, jewelry makers, soap makers, new age vendors, apparel designers, musicians and more. At Cultured South, next to Best End Brewing, 1038 White St.

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Sachi Rome’s ethereal artwork features the quote: “If I were a bird, I would fly high above the trees. Lose all my fear in wind and overseas. Drafts of current would lead me over stress and tears. Floating in open space easing a mind and body lifted . . . on wings . . . toward peace. If I were a bird.”

Credit: streetartmap.org

Sachi Rome’s ethereal artwork features the quote: “If I were a bird, I would fly high above the trees. Lose all my fear in wind and overseas. Drafts of current would lead me over stress and tears. Floating in open space easing a mind and body lifted . . . on wings . . . toward peace. If I were a bird.”

Credit: streetartmap.org

Combined ShapeCaption
Sachi Rome’s ethereal artwork features the quote: “If I were a bird, I would fly high above the trees. Lose all my fear in wind and overseas. Drafts of current would lead me over stress and tears. Floating in open space easing a mind and body lifted . . . on wings . . . toward peace. If I were a bird.”

Credit: streetartmap.org

Credit: streetartmap.org

Arthur Rudick created the Atlanta Street Art Map in 2017 after retiring from a successful career as an engineer with Eastman Kodak and the Coca-Cola Company. His first experience of art was seeing an Alexander Calder mobile as a child in the Pittsburgh airport. Rudick is ArtsATL’s street art expert and a regular contributor.


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ArtsATL logo

Credit: ArtsATL

ArtsATL logo

Credit: ArtsATL

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ArtsATL logo

Credit: ArtsATL

Credit: ArtsATL

MEET OUR PARTNER

ArtsATL (www.artsatl.org), is a nonprofit organization that plays a critical role in educating and informing audiences about metro Atlanta’s arts and culture. Founded in 2009, ArtsATL’s goal is to help build a sustainable arts community contributing to the economic and cultural health of the city.

If you have any questions about this partnership or others, please contact Senior Manager of Partnerships Nicole Williams at nicole.williams@ajc.com.