To enable redevelopment in SW Atlanta, sculptures to be moved to Pittman Park

By David Pendered

Four cement sculptures that are part of Atlanta artist Fred Ajanogha’s series, “Strong Roots, Wide Branches,” are to be installed at Pittman Park as part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s efforts to promote economic development in Southwest Atlanta.

Ajanogha, university avenue

The 2014 installation by Atlanta artist Fred Ajanogha, along University Avenue, was a centerpiece of the broader series, ‘Strong Roots, Wide Branches,’ of which four cement sculptures are to be installed in Pittman Park. Credit: wonderroot.com

The geometric sculptures by Ajanogha are to add to a park that stands at the eastern gateway of the Pittsburgh neighborhood. The installation is to arrive as Pittsburgh continues its struggle to recover from its distinction as being among the city’s hardest-hit areas during the foreclosure crisis of the Great Recession.

The Casey Foundation is providing both the artwork and a sum to maintain the sculptures, according to legislation approved Monday by the Atlanta City Council.

The total value of the donation is set at $34,000, to include the four sculptures, at a total of $28,000; $5,000 to restore and install the four sculptures; a $1,000 donation to provides for future maintenance, according to the legislation as introduced by Councilmember Joyce Sheperd, who represents the area.

The sculptures are being moved to Pittman Park as part of Casey’s efforts to help lift up Pittsburgh and the surrounding community, including the rapidly changing Adair Park neighborhood located to the west of Pittsburgh.

The sculptures are being relocated from a 31-acre site the Casey Foundation is redeveloping along the adjacent University Avenue.

The Casey foundation is retooling a former industrial site into the planned Pittsburgh Yards, a 31-acre site the Casey Foundation along University Avenue. The redevelopment has been on the drawing boards since the foundation purchased the site from UPS in 2006, just as the Great Recession loomed on the economic horizon.

Pittman Park

Pittman Park, the future home of four sculptures by Atlanta artist Fred Ajanogha, is located west of the former Turner Field. Credit: mapquest.com, David Pendered

Of note, UPS founder Jim Casey and his siblings established the Casey Foundation in 1948. The siblings named the private philanthropy for their mother. UPS is a Fortune 500 company with its global headquarters in Atlanta.

The foundation intends for Pittsburgh Yards to promote the redevelopment of surrounding areas in ways that reach much further than typical redevelopments.

The vision is in keeping with the history of the area, described on a page of the yards’ website as:

  • “The Pittsburgh Yards site and the surrounding neighborhood have a rich history. Prior to any development, Clark College’s agricultural department used it as farmland. Following that, the Great Southern Trucking Terminal was built; when it opened in 1951, it was the largest trucking terminal in the world.”

The Casey Foundation’s vision for the project includes this outlook:

  • “Pittsburgh Yards is more than just a physical redevelopment project – it’s an economic catalyst. Over the next 10 to 15 years, it is anticipated that the site will drive the creation of a wide range of employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.”

The four sculptures date to Ajanogha’s project in 2014 that was supported by the Casey Foundation. That one was installed part of the University Avenue Corridor Public Art Project, which was overseen by WonderRoot, a non-profit arts organization.

Here are the details of the four pieces, as described in a paper that accompanied the legislation:

  1. Title: “Strong Roots, Wide Branches”

    Ajanogha, 1

    ‘Strong Roots, Wide Branches.’ No. 1

  • Medium: Cement
  • Artist: Fred Ajanogha w/ assistance from Eddie McBride and Katlin Rothache
  • Date: 2014

 

  1. Title: “Strong Roots, Wide Branches”

    Ajanogha, 2

    ‘Strong Roots, Wide Branches,’ No. 2

  • Medium: Cement
  • Artist: Fred Ajanogha w/ assistance from Eddie McBride and Katlin Rothache
  • Date: 2014

 

  1. Title: “Strong Roots, Wide Branches”

    Ajanogha, 3

    ‘Strong Roots, Wide Branches,’ No. 3

  • Medium: Cement
  • Artist: Fred Ajanogha w/ assistance from Eddie McBride and Katlin Rothache
  • Date: 2014

 

  1. Title: “Strong Roots, Wide Branches”

    Ajanogha, 4

    ‘Strong Roots, Wide Branches,’ No. 4

  • Medium: Cement
  • Artist: Fred Ajanogha w/ assistance from Eddie McBride and Katlin Rothache
  • Date: 2014

 

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. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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