Stroll through beautiful Downtown Atlanta and enjoy some of the finest contemporary art in the South with First Thursdays Art Walk. The galleries extend their hours until 8 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. The evening might feature live music, complimentary refreshments or even an exciting opportunity to chat with artists. To help plan your visit, check out these itinerary ideas.
Itinerary #1: Destination Downtown
Visit Georgia State University (GSU) School of Art and Design Galleries. Located at the corner of Peachtree Center Avenue and Gilmer Street, the galleries feature works by Georgia State students, faculty and alumni, as well as other local, regional, national and international artists. Also visit GSU's Digital Arts Entertainment (DAEL) Laboratory at One Park Place. The lab features The Window Project, a curated media installation.
Itinerary #2: Historic Fairlie-Poplar
The historic Fairlie-Poplar neighborhood is characterized by classic examples of commercial architecture. Fairlie-Poplar is home to a wide variety of businesses from major corporations to family-operated restaurants, as well as an increasing number of residents. The district's historic buildings, accented by newly improved brick sidewalks, trees, public art and street lamps, create a pedestrian-oriented ambience unique in the city of Atlanta.
Start out at Luckie Street Studios, where you won't want to miss a visit to the only artists' studios on the Art Walk. Located in the historic Art Building at the corner of Luckie and Cone streets, the third floor studio is open each First Thursday. Visit the third floor to tour Paige Harvey's studio and loft. Her work and studio were featured in "Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles." Works in progress and new paintings will be on display.
Meander to The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University, a multipurpose arts venue. It is known primarily for its Signature Series performances, featuring national and international music and dance, but it also maintains a two-level gallery space in its lobby.
Nearby, the Arts for All Gallery at VSA arts of Georgia exhibits artists of merit including people with disabilities and those who are economically disadvantaged, as well as presenting exhibitions relevant to these communities. The gallery's philosophy is "All Arts - All Ages - All Abilities.
Itinerary #3: Architectural tour of Downtown
While walking around Downtown, take a peek at some of the architectural wonders in the heart of the city.
Candler Building, 127 Peachtree Street
The 1906 Candler Building, named after Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler, was the tallest office building in Atlanta when completed. The neo-Renaissance building also houses many marble likenesses of famous Georgians carved into the outside of the structure, as well as inside the lobby.
Flatiron Building, 84 Peachtree Street
This 1897 building takes its shape from the triangular lot where it sits and its name from the more famous Flatiron building in New York, which it actually predates by several years. Atlanta's oldest standing skyscraper, this building dominated the Downtown skyline for many years. The building continues to be used for offices.
Muses Building, 50 Peachtree Street
Muses is a seven-story building with Renaissance detailing that was built on the site of the Confederate Arsenal (1863-64). Muse's department store was located on this site until the early 1990s. In 1996, the building was renovated into loft apartments with retail businesses, including the Atlanta Bread Company, located on the ground floor. The Muse's Lofts consist of the Muse's Building as well as several neighboring historic buildings on the block, joined by hallways.
Grant Building, 44 Broad Street
The architects were sent to Chicago to study the commercial architecture there before designing this structure. It is the first rectangular office building known to cross an entire city block. The lobby spans the entire block in an arcade style with interior storefronts and slopes uphill the entire length of the block.
Georgia Railway & Power Buildings, Walton Street near Broad Street
This complex consists of two buildings designed with Renaissance and white terra-cotta detailing. They were the first headquarters of a newly consolidated street railway and electric power system. The Georgia Railway and Power Company ultimately divested itself of its public transportation interest which became what is now known as MARTA, and concentrated on the development of electrical power, now known as Georgia Power Company. The switching station of the trolley was located in the building.
Healey Building, 55 Marietta Street
This building, acclaimed by many as Atlanta's finest early skyscraper, incorporates Gothic Revival detailing on the exterior and interior. Original plans called for a second tower to be built on Broad Street, which was never executed. The most interesting features of the building are the arcades and domed rotunda, which is illuminated by clerestory windows. The Healey was recently converted to residential condominiums.
Hurt Building, 50 Hurt Plaza
The 1913 Hurt building was said to be the 17th-largest office building in the world at the time of construction. The 17-floor Hurt Building has a street-level rotunda entrance set on marble columns and situated at the front of the triangular building.