Midtown Alliance this month launched a new program called Heart of the Arts. The initiative — designed to “support the local arts economy, activate currently vacant retail spaces and energize the street-level experience for pedestrians” — features a series of storefront art exhibitions filling otherwise vacant commercial spaces.
For the initial phase of the program which is now underway (Phase II arrives in 2021), Midtown Alliance staff engaged curator Neda Abghari to deliver the first round of temporary storefront exhibitions, according to a press release. Abghari is the founder and executive director of The Creatives Project, an award-winning artist and residency program which has supported over 70 local talents through residency programs and exhibitions since 2011. The inaugural selection of artists are: Shanequa Gay, Chiomma Hall, Melissa Huang, Kaye Lee Patton, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, Fabian Williams, and Kristan Woolford.
“I am so deeply thrilled with Midtown Alliance’s commitment and investment to amplify the voices of our city’s creative talents,” Abghari said in the release. “Although Midtown Alliance has installed public art before, Heart of the Arts seeks to be intentional in the way it supports Atlanta’s arts economy while also enriching the public sphere.”
The artists’ installations will be visible along Peachtree Street between 5th and 10th Streets, Peachtree Place, as well as on 10th Street, making the open-air experience easy to explore on foot, and complemented by Midtown Alliance’s holiday lighting vignettes present throughout the district. The works will be on display for approximately the next three months.
“Temporary installations are the springboard for the next phase of Heart of the Arts, which will focus on residencies to give artists a firm foundation to build creative space in Midtown,” according to the release. Workspaces will be provided from six to 18 months and include a component of community engagement in the form of special programming and events featuring their work.
Partners on the Heart of the Arts initiative include Atlanta History Center Midtown Campus, Coro Realty Advisors, Madison Marquette, and Cafe Agora, among others. As a residual benefit, Midtown Alliance hopes the presence of art on their property will bring added visibility to garner potential commercial leasing inquiries.
“We are lucky to work in a district where supporting creativity is a core value,” Ginny Kennedy, Midtown Alliance director of urban design, said in the release. “Now more than ever, art is essential to elevate our mood and open our minds to new ideas. As we reengage with our surroundings in 2021, we invite artists and property owners to join us in amplifying a culture of creativity in Midtown.”
Sounds like a great program!
Hopefully it will be a win-win for all involved.
However, Midtown (as well as some other areas in the city), should address why they have an
abundance of vacant storefronts to begin with.
Phingbodhipakkiya– that’s quite the name!
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