Cool Murals and More Curious Public Art in Georgia
Art is about discovery and experiencing something in a new or unanticipated way. That's what makes street art so much fun; it’s an unexpected treat that captures your eye when and where you least expect it.
Georgia has some amazing art museums, but below is a snapshot of some art you can find out in the open, accessible to the casual observer and perfect for a "where am I?" selfie.
Athens is known as a creative town, and there are unique, secret masterpieces on almost every corner. Kids will especially love the bulldog statues, which are four-feet-tall, larger-than-life bulldogs (the University of Georgia mascot) scattered throughout the Classic City, featuring artwork from famous artists like Stan Mullins, Peter Loose and Chris Wyrick. In addition to the bulldogs, Athens is home to a collection of public art murals. Find them on the sides of cafés, boutiques and even a parking deck!
Many Atlanta neighborhoods have street art that expresses the character of the community. And the Atlanta BeltLine, the multi-use path that is being built to encircle the city and connect several of the neighborhoods, is one sure place to find murals, sculpture, photography and more. The ever-changing installations mean there is always something new to discover as you walk, run, bike or skate along the paved trail.
On the wall outside Young Brothers Pharmacy in Downtown Cartersville is the first outdoor painted wall advertisement for the Coca-Cola company. And when you are first, sometimes things don’t always go right. See if you can find the mistake in this award-winning historic landmark. Tip: The best time to take photos in front of the sign is in the morning when the sun illuminates the sign from the east.
The Colquitt Millennium Murals are a delightful discovery when you're in town to see Georgia's Official Folk Life Play "Swamp Gravy," and any time you'd like a diversion on Highway 27 in southwest Georgia. For just $5, you can take a guided tour to hear the stories behind each piece.
Designed to capture the relaxing environment of Jekyll Island, the mural in Beach Village was created by artist Wylie Caudill. Located just beyond the traffic circle near the Jekyll Island Convention Center, the mural features roseate spoonbills flying onto a neighboring wall, where you can find wings painted to make a whimsical photo background. Notably, Caudill, who's based in Lexington, Ky., has a family connection to the island; he is the great grandson of Tallu Fish, who established the Jekyll Island Museum and served at its helm in the 1950s and '60s.
Clayton County is known as the Official Home of Gone With The Wind, so of course, you’ll find a mural of Scarlett O’Hara. However, you’ll also find a vibrant black and white mural of Jesse Fuller, the one-man-band musician from Jonesboro who was best known for his song "San Francisco Blues."
The original hand-painted Coca-Cola mural on the brick wall at Doc Spier's Gathering Place in LaGrange has become an iconic picture destination in the Hillside neighborhood. Wilbon T. Spier, nicknamed "Doc," once ran a grocery store and sandwich shop at this location. This now open-air building is covered in beautiful vines and flowers, and the brick wall on the right side of the shop makes for a bright and colorful backdrop.
More than two dozen murals in downtown Lakeland depict scenes of Milltown in 1925, the year the community was renamed Lakeland. Stroll through downtown where the sides of the buildings are beautifully painted scenes. Find all of the murals using the maps of the Milltown Murals that are available at the Chamber of Commerce.
St. Simons Island
Not all street art is on buildings. On St. Simons Island, the art is literally in the trees. The St. Simons Island Tree Spirits are carved into the ancient live oaks around town, as if the tree’s human spirit is actually coming through the bark. Stop at the Golden Isles CVB office for a map to find them all.