Living Walls, an annual street art conference, returns this summer with an expansion to Buford Highway.
The conference and installations of art are set for September.
Monica Campana founded the organization in 2009. Since then, Living Walls has painted more than 100 murals and hosted more than 30 lectures and other educational events in Atlanta. This year, Living Walls is bringing its bigger-than-life public art to a stretch of the corridor known for its multi-ethnic residents and restaurants.
“When she was ready to relaunch and hoping for a new place, I was ‘yes, yes, yes!’” said Marian Liou of Brookhaven, founder of
We Love BuHi, who became fast friends with Campana as fellows through the Center of Civic Innovation.
Liou, who was also working on the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative for Doraville and Chamblee, said a main component of the LCI was to focus on safety for pedestrians for a portion of the boulevard to be called “Buford Highway Walk.”
The idea of incorporating street and public art as part of that initiative melded easily with Campana’s desire to locate Living Walls outside Atlanta’s city limits in a “big and bold way,” Liou said.
The “epicenter” of Living Walls art will be focused in Doraville between Asian Square and Pine Tree Plaza all the way to Doraville City Hall, Liou said, and to ensure it has a “big visual impact.”
“Buford Highway Walk is a much bigger idea, but by centering [Living Walls] it will help people see the impact in one central location,” she said.
Campana said the Buford Highway’s stretch of plazas and businesses do not offer as many large walls for murals, so artists will adapt to the environment to create sculptures and add other cultural touches.
There will be 10 artists, most of them local, who this summer will embed themselves with community organizations and residents to get feedback on what kind of art they would like to see, Liou said.
“They will get a good sense of the community and the people locally and will hear their stories, their histories and their dreams,” she said.
Campana said Living Walls decided to slow down on producing murals in the metro Atlanta area and is now striving for sustainability and more community missions. The first stop of its renewed efforts is Buford Highway.
“The intentionality is different,” Campana said. “We want the artists to work with people who know and live on Buford Highway and work together as problem solvers.”
“The area is so special,” Campana said. “Local artists will engage with community groups and schools from the Buford Highway area to develop the concept for the artists to execute.”
For more about Living Walls upcoming events, visit livingwallsatl.com.
–Grace Huseth and Dyana Bagby