You’ve heard about the Atlanta BeltLine project. Something about art and performances and pathways and green space, right?
Let us demystify it for you and point you toward a good time. This weekend, the third Art on the Atlanta BeltLine (AAB) exhibition, is a chance for you to see firsthand just what’s going on.
The multi-year BeltLine project is the most comprehensive revitalization effort ever undertaken by the city of Atlanta. It is intended to provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit by reusing 22 miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown and connecting 45 neighborhoods to each other.
AAB is the city of Atlanta’s largest temporary public art exhibition. It showcases the work of professional Atlanta artists alongside that of newly emerging artists, and attracts residents and visitors alike into unique new or newly renovated public spaces. This year’s AAB event began in September with a Lantern Parade along the Eastside Trail, and continues through Nov. 11. It features work from hundreds of Atlanta visual, performing and musical artists along its nine miles.
The exhibit “provides an umbrella for Atlanta artists and performers, from fresh out of school to established,” says composer-percussionist Klimchak. “This is the only venue in Atlanta that allows this diverse of a mix of artists to come together to share experiences and show work for each other and the public.”
The underlying goal of the annual two-month-long exhibition is to showcase and support the talents of Atlanta artists and draw Atlantans to the BeltLine so they can see how it’s changing the communities it touches and the city as a whole.
“I love working in a public space and interacting with neighbors, dog walkersand runners,” says Park Cofield, who’s doing his Big & Small Insect Show for the third time. “The best moments are when people stop to ask questions and curious children wander over to ask about our puppets and monster costumes.”
To make the most of your experience this weekend, arrive early to find parking, and dress comfortably and warmly (it can get chilly under the bridge)! You may want to bring chairs or a blanket. Kids, dogs and picnics are welcome. And it’s all free.
This year’s exhibition also celebrates the opening of the Eastside Trail, which runs 2¼ miles from Piedmont Park through several neighborhoods to the intersection of Boulevard and Edgewood Avenue. A quick look:
Under the Virginia Avenue bridge near of 10th Street and Monroe Drive.
7 p.m.: Imaginary Menagerie, a puppet-centric offshoot of the Imperial Opa circus, the first of six groups performing throughout the evening.
7:30 p.m.: Park Cofield and Company’s family-friendly extravaganza celebrates insects, arachnids and anthropods.
8:30 p.m.: Ghost/Train by Wade Tilton with musical guests Damon Young (guitar and FX) and Diana Obscura (cello).
9 p.m. Atlanta composer and percussionist Klimchak performs the next piece in his LeBeato Lounge series, developed as part of a grant he received from Idea Capital to design and build a series of instruments, write music for them, and do a series of flash performances with the music they make.
9:15 p.m.: The collaboration TANZPLATZ, designed to “capture raw darkness, energy and passion, delivering a potion half-refined, half-ramshackle,” according to its artists.
10 p.m.: Poetry on Demand presented by Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery. This event moves to the building adjacent to the Park Tavern parking lot on Monroe Drive nearKanuga Street.
4:30-7 p.m.: Three performances at the outdoor theater in Historic Fourth Ward Park (North Avenue to Freedom Parkway). The final performance is mobile, so bring your walking shoes.
10 a.m.: Official dedication of the Eastside Trail.
Jennifer Kimball is a freelance writer and prolific production and stage manager on Atlanta’s theater scene.