Source: Collin Kelley, Atlanta INtown Paper
Folk Art Park in Downtown has a new lease on life thanks to a nearly three-year restoration process.
Located on the bridge that spans the Downtown Connector, the installation at the intersections of Piedmont Avenue at Baker Street and Courtland Street at Ralph McGill Boulevard features the work of Eddie Owens Martin, R.A. Miller, James Harold Jennings, Vollis Simpson, Archie Byron and Howard Finster.
The restoration project of the weathered outdoor art also included interpretive signage about the artwork, pedestrian signage and increased safety and protection features.
The 21-year-old park was the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) first public art project, originally created for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Reclaiming several leftover portions of two cement interstate bridges above Interstate 75/85 in Downtown, the park was designed to enhance the large empty concrete bound spaces while leaving the bridges’ structural integrity intact – with the ability to withstand near-constant vibration caused by vehicular traffic atop and below the bridge.
The Atlanta Public Art Legacy fund (APAL) successfully applied for transportation enhancement funds from the GDOT, which provided $300,000 in support of the project to preserve the public art, while the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) provided the mandatory local match contribution of $100,000 for the preliminary design and engineering.
Design work was originally completed and continued through this project by Robinson Fisher Associates landscape architects. Patricia Kerlin Architect, who managed the original park installation, supported the current project design, and the art assessment and restoration process.