Arts Center Station is Midtown Atlanta’s busiest MARTA rail stop, and has become a destination in its own right for the nearly 7,000 people who pass through it on a daily basis.
To celebrate it as a gateway into the District, Midtown Alliance partnered last year with MARTA, the High Museum of Art, and local artists to enhance the plaza-turned-“Porch” at Arts Center Station. Through this partnership, Midtown Alliance added a public piano, Little Free Libraries, and outdoor seating. They also commissioned site-specific art from international artist and High Museum’s Designer-in-Residence Jaime Hayon. Building on the destination’s success in 2016, a new round of activations have been implemented at The Porch this summer, including a Relay Bike Share Station and a playful new art installation.
Emulating the style of interactive exhibit Merry Go Zoo at Woodruff Arts Center’s Sifly Piazza, Hayon has created a custom sculpture just for The Porch. Titled Shadowmaker, this interactive piece features a bench base and is topped with a whimsical figure holding an umbrella-like shade, giving those passing through the station a place to sit and relax during the hot summer months.
“We’re thrilled to add another of Jaime’s whimsical characters to The Porch,” says Lauren Bohn, Project Manager of Urban Design & Placemaking at Midtown Alliance. “This is the latest in a collaborative partnership between Midtown Alliance and High Museum of Art to bring significant installations into our community.”
Last year Hayon designed kaleidoscopic window murals that line the station’s breezeway to The Porch. The success of these murals, which feature quirky characters, has since inspired their recreation into six large-scale tapestries. Part of a collection of work known as Technicolor, each piece was woven together in a mix of traditional and non-traditional fibers on a modern jaquard loom at the renowned TextielLab in the Netherlands. The tapestries feature plush, dimensional surfaces and explore Hayon’s dynamic use of color and style. The tapestries premiered alongside Merry Go Zoo and Shadowmaker, and have been acquired as a part of the High Museum’s permanent collection to enhance its 21st-century design collection.
The Porch and the Shadowmaker are part of Midtown Alliance’s Public Art & Street Activation Program, which is intended to enliven Midtown’s public realm with visual points of interest that invite conversation and interaction. Reinforcing Midtown’s identity as the “Heart of the Arts,” the organization uses human-scaled projects to enhance Midtown’s sense of community and walkability.
Current efforts focus on curating temporary installations that allow the freedom to test ideas. In addition to The Porch’s Shadowmaker, Midtown Alliance’s most recent public art installations include sculpture Autoeater by international artists Venske & Spänle at 10th & Peachtree Street and a walk-thru photography exhibit of iconic Midtown landmarks on the Peachtree Street North Bridge.