Folk Art Park Improvements

Background

Folk Art Park was constructed under the direction of the Corporation for Olympic Development in Atlanta (CODA) in 1996 as part of the streetscape improvements to prepare the city for the Olympics. The Atlanta Public Arts Legacy Fund (APAL) is a donor advised fund of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta charged through MOU resolution with maintaining certain public art installations owned by the City of Atlanta resulting from CODA’s efforts.

APAL applied for Georgia Department of Transportation Enhancement (TE) funds to support the restoration and renovation of the Folk Art Park. Georgia DOT will provide $300,000 in support of the project, but requires a 20% local funding match to support preliminary engineering and design associated with the improvement. The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) has elected to provide this match and contribute $100,000 toward the project.

In the News

Vollis Simpson
Folk Art Park artist Vollis Simpson passed away May 31, 2013.

Vollis Simpson, Visionary Artist of the Junkyard, Dies at 94

The creator of the whirligigs and windmills found in Folk Art Park at the southwest corner of Ralph McGill Boulevard and Courtland Street was highlighted in a New York Times Art & Design feature story.  Learn more about the work of Vollis Simpson - the junkyard poet - by reading the story and exploring the photo side show of his creations at his home and workshop in Lucama, North Carolina.

Willie Tarver
Folk Art Park artist Willie Tarver passed away August 7, 2010 at his residence in Wadley, Georgia.  His work can be seen in the Sculpture Garden along Piedmont Avenue.

Jordan says goodbye to good friend, Willie Tarver

Mr. Willie Lee Tarver Obituary

You can also see more details about the Folk Art Park artists and their work by visiting APAL's website

The Improvement Project

This project involves the restoration and enhancement of the Folk Art Park through improved pedestrian information, increased safety and protection features, and the repair and enhancement of art environment. Folk Art Park is located on Georgia DOT bridge right-of-way that spans the Downtown Connector. The installation is concentrated at the intersections of Piedmont Avenue and Baker Street and Courtland Street and Ralph McGill Boulevard. The park features the work of notable regional folk artists including Eddie Owens Martin, R.A. Miller, James Harold Jennings, Vollis Simpson, Archie Byron and Howard Finster.

Planned project improvements include:

  • the addition of fencing, anti-skateboarding devices and bird deterrents all to protect the sculptures;
  • additional lighting on existing light poles to enhance visibility of artwork and public safety;
  • the restoration of the artwork with new paint, concrete and metal to ensure the longevity and good repair of the sculptures;
  • the enhancement of existing landscaped areas with new plant material to support the park experience;
  • and the addition of interpretive signage about the sculptures and folk art.

Design work was originally completed and will be continued through this project by Robinson Fisher Associates landscape architects. Patricia Kerlin Architect, who managed the original park installation, is also supporting the current project design and art assessment and restoration process.

Current Status

Art assessments have been completed for all of the original art pieces. Construction plans for the associated pedestrian environment improvements are being developed.

For additional information contact: Jennifer Ball at (404) 522-3344 or jball at atlantadowntown.com