By Ellie Ritter, contributor
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is taking a new approach to improving their system: art.
According to a MARTA press release, the organization is launching a new program aimed at aesthetically enhancing its stations and integrating art across the rail system. To launch their arts program, MARTA will host an inaugural kickoff event at the Five Points MARTA Station, located at 30 Alabama St. SW in Atlanta, on Monday, June 19.
The art-focused event, which begins at 2 p.m. and is open to the public, will include performances from Moving in the Spirit dance company and cellist Jenn Cornell accompanied by Emrah Kotan, according to the release. At the end, the company will unveil the new logo for the arts program.
Last year, MARTA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to invest in transit-center art in order to improve the overall customer experience throughout the system, the release said. Now, 1 percent of MARTA’s annual budget is allocated for “art-related programs, art-focused community activities and system-wide art restoration projects,” according to the release.
“From mosaics to murals, we are redefining the ridership experience here at MARTA by intentionally integrating art throughout the entire system,” General Manager/CEO Keith Parker said. “This new commitment to the arts allows us to engage our customers in a bold, exciting and often entertaining new way.”
MARTA began developing the arts program in December 2016, when they hired Arts Administrator Katherine Dirga to curate and oversee the transit systems’ program. Since then, MARTA has sought to include commissioned art pieces as well as the performing arts to engage the “region’s diverse artistic community.”
“We are literally watching art come to life as we restore a number of existing transit station art pieces throughout the system,” Dirga, who previously served as manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s arts program, said. “Our approach is to install high-quality, captivating pieces that transcend various artistic genres and reflect, in some way, the vibrancy and history of the community.”