From Public Art to a Comprehensive Strategic Planning Effort, Woodruff Park’s Future is Bright
By Ansley Whipple, Woodruff Park Project Manager, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District
In a typical year, Woodruff Park, a six-acre greenspace located in the heart of Downtown Atlanta, would be teeming with activity and events, from a spring jazz concert series and summertime Food Truck Fridays to our WoodRUFF Bark pet pageant and fall movie nights on the lawn.
While these free public programs took a necessary hiatus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, urban centers across the world have rediscovered the importance of public space as a critical element of civic infrastructure. People have flocked to parks to safely spend time outside of their homes, connect with nature and with their communities, and seek assistance for basic needs such as food and shelter. Woodruff Park is no exception: we anticipate coming out the other side of this public health crisis with a renewed and lasting appreciation for communal greenspace and the benefits it holds for the community.
With events on hold, we at the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID)—which stewards the park through a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Atlanta—have been hard at work behind the scenes. In 2019, ADID embarked on a strategic planning effort to provide a clear and comprehensive guide to long-term operations, management, and maintenance of Woodruff Park. The plan’s numerous recommendations are the culmination of a process that explored how ADID and the surrounding community can help Woodruff Park realize its full potential. We’re excited to share more about the implementation of this plan in 2021.
For now, rest assured that the park’s future is bright. And we mean that quite literally: as we head into the winter season, we’re pleased to share that the popular PRISM: Winter Lights at Woodruff Park exhibit will return for its second year, from December 5 to January 31. Curated by Dashboard, the 2-month exhibition will feature light-based, water-inspired works by MaDora Frey, Ellex Swavoni, Jason Sweet, Kris Pilcher, NNEKKAA, Amelia Carley, and Joseph Peragine. Three light-based landmark sculptures will be installed on the park’s main lawn, and Arts & Entertainment Atlanta will pilot a projection mapping spectacle that showcases animated artwork on the park’s International Peace Fountain water wall.
Community members are invited to enjoy this free, public light experience day or night during the park’s hours of operation (6am-11pm). Park patrons are reminded that physical distance must be maintained between them and anyone outside of their party and are encouraged to follow the CDC’s guidelines for visiting parks.
Complete information about the exhibit can be found at WoodruffPark.com, and you can stay in touch with us all year long by following @WoodruffPark on Facebook and Instagram.