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Art coming to Fulton libraries, as Thursday deadline looms for art at Central Branch

By David Pendered

Fulton County is soon to acquire 115 pieces of visual artworks that are to be displayed in 14 libraries around the county. These pieces are in addition to the two commissioned pieces the county wants to purchase for the Central Library Branch in Downtown Atlanta.

The application deadline is Thursday for the artwork for the Central Branch, according to the call for artists. The total budget is $246,000 and appears to envision acquiring more than two pieces that comply with the theme of “Light and Enlightenment.

The following spaces are being considered for the artworks:

  • “[B]uilding façade, lobby, lobby staircase, central lightwell and the children’s space on level 4. Any proposal, particularly for the façade, should be respectful of the building’s style, context, and social value.”

The process calls for a Community Public Art Selection Panel to review qualifications, after which six finalists will be invited for a site visit in November. Full proposals are due in January 2019 and finalists will present to the selection panel. Each team will receive a $1,500 honorarium to complete the proposal. The selected artist will enter a contract with the county to complete the work.

Meanwhile, regarding the immediate purchase of art for libraries, Fulton’s Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the $235,606 purchase at its meeting Wednesday, according to the pending legislation.

The chosen works speak to Atlanta themes including the Varsity, “What’ll Ya Have,” a photo collage by Adam Crawford; a civil rights piece, “381 Days,” by Henry Blackmon; and a photo that speaks to Atlanta’s reputation as a city in the trees, Kathryn Kolb’s “Beech Tree Cascade Springs,” taken along the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve Trail.

The purpose of the purchase of public art is to address the following component of the county’s mission:

  • “These artworks will become a permanent part of the County’s art collection, which serves to enhance public spaces; makes government buildings better places to visit, work, and conduct business, and promotes community pride.”

The total purchase price breaks down to a total price for all the pieces of $211,390, plus an additional $21,390 to cover the cost of framing the purchased artwork.

The artwork is to be placed in the following libraries:

  • Buckhead;
  • Dogwood;
  • East Point;
  • Fairburn;
  • Kirkwood;
  • Mechanicsville;
  • Northeast/Spruill Oaks;
  • Northside;
  • Ocee;
  • Roswell;
  • Sandy Springs;
  • Southwest Atlanta;
  • Washington Park;
  • West End.

The county followed a very specific process in attracting nominations and vetting the artworks that were submitted, according to the legislation.

All the pieces were created by Georgia-based artists. A juried process chose from these pieces, which were submitted by the artists through an open call.

The open call for submissions was published on May 4 by the county’s Department of Arts and Culture. Responses were due on June 18.

The criteria enabled all professional artists who currently reside in Georgia to submit up to five pieces that had been completed within the past two years.

The price of each piece was restricted to a range of $300 to $10,000.

A total of 455 artists completed applications and a total of 1,562 artworks were submitted. Staff members in the Department of Arts and Culture reviewed all the pieces and forwarded 638 of them to a jury of 25 members.

The jury was comprised of one staff member and one community representative of each Phase II library. The only Phase II libraries that weren’t represented were those in Fairburn and Southwest Atlanta; representatives of those libraries “were not able to respond in time,” according to the legislation.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


1 Comment

  1. Greg Hodges September 19, 2018 9:26 am

    Art can stir emotions….and soothe the soul. And, as we all know, “art” is in the eyes of the beholder.
    This is why works of art placed in public places can be such a welcoming thing, and is a good idea.
    But I have some concerns that I’d like to share. Reading down through the details of the “call for artists”, I note that students are “ineligible”. Why ?
    Taxpayers support the teaching (and creating) of art in just about every high school within the confines of Fulton County. I’m sure that many of these talented young people are quite capable of creating works of art worthy of being displayed in our public buildings. Why not have the art teachers choose works of art created in her/his classes and submit them (a photo) to the librarian at their local FC library branch. The logistics of this should not be too difficult. The librarian then chooses 8 art pieces to display in their libraries.
    As a reward for their work, award each student a framed certificate, a $25 “honorarium”, and (if the young artist wishes) their name displayed with their work. Yours truly was once an art student at a high school in Fulton County, and I would have been thrilled to have my work displayed in a local public building .

    No doubt there will be some who will scoff and look down their nose at this suggestion, but I feel that it makes a lot of sense, gives support to talented area students…..and, by the way, will save the county around $200,000.00.Report


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