In recent decades, the formerly run-down buildings around Atlanta have been transformed into colorful works of art. The rise of arts conferences like Living Walls and Outer Space have expanded the mural scene, while the Atlanta BeltLine has become the perfect canvas for both painted walls and outdoor sculptures. Artists like Greg Mike, Yoyo Ferro, and Squishypuss, as well as collaborative communities like Tiny Doors, have gained followings in their own right.
Here are just a few Atlanta neighborhoods where you’re sure to find some great street art. But snap photos, as it’s never certain how long they’ll be there.
While most people think of downtown as being just tall buildings and tourist attractions, there are some surprising finds when it comes to public art. Internationally known artist Ernest Zacharevic created a colorful piece featuring children climbing on a jungle gym-type design near the Skyview Atlanta in Centennial Olympic Park. The artist is most well known for his work in Penang in Malaysia. A piece on the wall at Switchyards declares that "Atlanta isn't perfect," but that doesn’t stop travelers from stopping there to snap photos. Closer to the College Football Hall of Fame, the Atlanta mural features athletes in each of the letters.
New pieces are constantly showing up near Underground Atlanta, especially on Broad Street surrounding Mammal Gallery, a creative space for local artists. A colorful exterior mural by Hense was recently used to portray Japan in an upcoming Marvel flick. Admire Tilt’s American flag and Sever’s “I’m not a player, I just read a lot” are favorites, as well as the upside down alligator on Mitchell Street by Belgian artist ROA.
The former warehouses and garages of the former red light district are now loft apartments and art galleries, some featuring murals. Track down the Axel Void piece on Peters Street, entitled "Nobody," which depicts a young boy with glasses. At Walker and Peters streets, another work features the history of the neighborhood and includes significant leaders in the area. And a colorful wall says "Castleberry Hill" in a gravel parking lot. The neighborhood is also a favorite of film crews.
Old Fourth Ward
Named for the time when Atlanta's neighborhoods were divided by numbered wards, O4W, as it's known for short, was once known as the city's most desirable neighborhood and has reclaimed that title. Edgewood Avenue is ground zero for unique works, from the exterior of Sound Table to the ever-changing works in the Krog Street Tunnel. The colorful Momo piece in the Boulevard Tunnel brightens up your commute. Greg Mike has had a number of pieces around Ponce City Market. There's always something new popping up around Paris on Ponce. And the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail has countless works, including works by Tiny Doors and rotating sculpture installations. Favorite spots to snap include the North Avenue overpass and the last section before Piedmont Park.
The neighborhood founded as housing for workers of the cotton mill has become an artsy enclave full of locally owned bars and restaurants. Starting on the opposite side of Krog Street Tunnel, admire the “Cabbagetown” mural and continue in either direction for ever-changing works. The angular fox by Trek Matthews is a beloved landmark in the community, but more recently, we’ve seen a collaboration between Yoyo Ferro and Sister Louisa (of nearby Church bar fame).
The area around the former Turner Field was established long before the arrival of the 1996 Summer Olympics. But the Living Walls conference breathed new life into the community with large scale murals. Start on Georgia Avenue to admire the colorful “Summerhill” mural by Argentinian born Elian. Chris Veal’s comic-strip style works can also be seen alongside the playful shapes of Yoyo Ferro.
Dive bars and music venues are staples in this former streetcar community, which has commissioned pieces and unofficial pieces on Glenwood and Flat Shoals Road, including the Interesni Kazki work on one side of Argosy, a restaurant and beer bar. On the other is a dragon fighting a fox by local artist Shaun Thurston. Christopher Derek Bruno's work can be seen behind Graveyard Tavern.
The communities around the West End also have their fair share of art pieces. While closer to Pittsburgh, the "Your Southern Home Away from Home" piece by Howdy Nater and Ola Bad is a local favorite. Xuan Alyfe has a colorful piece on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard. Malaika Favorite's "West End Remembers" mural brightens up an overpass while documenting local history. Don't miss the Hadley Breckenridge mural on the Westside Trail of the BeltLine or Julie Ann McKevitt’s "Dogwood Blooms." This section also has official Art on the BeltLine sculpture pieces, including one by Neil Carver.
Don't forget to check out Yoyo Ferro's mural in downtown College Park and see the work of Living Walls on Buford Highway!