By Mary Margaret Stewart, contributor
The Atlanta Beltline is filled with art installations, whether they be performance or visual art. Since 2010, artists have contributed sculptures, murals, photography, theater, dance and live music to the Beltline’s variety of installations.
A few current, popular installations include #weloveatl and All City Murals.
The Beltline website says that “the goal of #weloveatl is to bring the citizens of Atlanta together to tell simple and authentic photographic stories of their love for the city and the people that inhabit it.”
The principal artist for All City Murals, Matt Field, worked on his first public art commission with Living Walls in 2011.
Today, some of his graffiti is featured along the Beltline, such as the mural “Stay Connected.” This 2015 installation is depicted as “a combination of abstract graffiti symbology with figurative representations of Atlanta’s present and future.”
Efforts to diversify art exhibits along the Beltline are reflected in Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, a temporary exhibition, which takes place every year from September through November. Jenny Odom, Communications & Media Relations Manager for the Atlanta Beltline, said the exhibition typically displays more than 50 visual pieces and several dozen performance pieces throughout the trails and parks.
“The Atlanta Beltline represents a space for many communities and people to connect and embrace new urban public spaces,” Odom said. “It only makes sense, therefore, that as many disciplines of visual and performing art are presented to best represent the people of Atlanta and the ever-growing quality of public art.”
Odom said that, over the last ten years, Atlanta’s public art scene has experienced “beautiful growth,” which in turn, is encouraging people to explore the outdoors. The Beltline aims to shed new light on viewing art.
“It doesn’t have to be in a museum or in a gallery – art can be easily accessible and free to all. This impacts people who would not normally go to a gallery or who cannot afford to go to a museum,” Odom said. ‘It encourages groups to get out and get healthy while walking or running along the trails.”
In addition to offering new perspectives, the impact also reaches the environment – people can observe artwork without revving up any engines.
And based on the amount of photos and positive feedback on social media or in news articles, people have found joy in exhibits along the Beltline.
The popularity of past and current art installations has brought the community together while promoting public health.
“Art on the Atlanta Beltline accomplished that through the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade, created and hosted by Chantelle and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons; through multiple free festival-like performance days each fall featuring music, theater, dance, and more; and through adding visual works all along the trails that encourage leaving one’s car behind and going for a walk with our fellow Atlantans,” Odom said.
Currently, the Beltline anticipates adding onto the continuing exhibition, which can be viewed throughout the year. Additionally, featured artists for 2016 will be announced by press release soon. An updated list of exhibits will be accessible at http://art.Beltline.org/, which includes an interactive map with locations.