Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Atlanta's Downtown First Thursdays ArtsWalk is not like the others

Atlanta's Downtown First Thursdays ArtsWalk was the first "First Thursday" stroll; before the First Thursdays Buckhead Art Walk. The galleries aren't commercial. You have to pay to park. It's not designer heaven, not edgy or hip. It's neither Bennett Street nor Peters Street nor High Museum. not a destination for most Atlantans.

But listen: it's as close to cosmopolitan as you can get in Atlanta. There isn't the slightest hint of strip center or mall. There is still an echo of "when downtown was where it's at" and it makes me feel grown up and energized. Instead of the "latest" there is the Candler Building. It's a great destination for Architecture Tourists.

Anyway on September 2 I did my first downtown stroll and barely scratched the surface, just visited four places in Fairlie-Poplar. Next time, on October 7, I'll have a plan. I'll get there early and get the job done.

I started by parking at the old Davison's Parking Lot. Old Atlantans will know just where I mean.

Then to the downtown public library aka "Atlanta Fulton County Public Library One Margaret Mitchell Square" aka Marcel Breuer's last brutalist work, perhaps the most controversial building in Atlanta. Like it or not, it's a serious big-time work.

As for me: I don't hate it and I love how it looks in the rain.

The basement is an uncanny gallery space complete with a ramp. They featured work from the Atlanta Artists Center (on Grandview).

I don't know why, but this is a memorable room.

Next month this will be a major location for Atlanta Celebrates Photography.

The Railto is one block south of the library, that's the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State. In my Georgia Tech days, this was a movie theater past its prime. The Playboy club was across the street. Now the lobby is dazzling place for art and intermissions. The sloping ceiling hints at the auditorium. Please go inside the lobby.

I wasn't allowed to photograph the art but I did get the name plate: Yanique Norman. Her drawings are technically accomplished, surreal, disturbing, but not vulgar.

A big surprise awaited around the corner, the Paige Harvey Art Studio. Wow. The gallery was at street level in this obviously old building.

Photographer Terry Check was showing downstairs. I didn't get a good picture of Terry's work but here is Terry himself standing next to the street-side windows.

Here is Paige Harvey herself, Terry Check and Terry, your humble blog host.

This was a very fine space but Paige and Terry insisted I go upstairs. There I found Ms. Harvey's fish, "Aquarium of Dreams: Pale Arc." in her loft/studio. Wahoo!!! I didn't want to leave.

How about this in downtown Atlanta.

How about a 3rd floor studio space with huge windows on 2 sides. Did I mention that I want to move in?


Paige's horses, works in progress. A bit abstract but these happy horses were cavorting right here is the studio.

Also in the Fairlie-Poplar neighborhood is the Healey Building, home to Arts for All Gallery at VSA Arts of Georgia. There is a rotunda. The clearstoy windows reveal interesting Zen Views the the Grant, Muse, and "C&S" buildings.

Tony Smart exhibited mouth-watering food photography.

My pictures don't show but the VSA space seems very downtown, if you know what I mean.

And they have a major gallery dog:

That's as far as I got. I missed MODA and 2 more galleries at Georgia State.


  1. I'm coveting that studio/loft. I need to do these things! Just need a few more hours in the day or a clone of me. I'll take either or both. At least I can come read all about it here. :0

  2. Wow! That Candler building has a gorgeous facade! I need to check out this stroll next month - I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to really attend any...

  3. wonderful wonderful wonderful wonderful

  4. You must go in the lobby of the Chandler Building. Just tell the guard you wanted to see the lobby. He'll know. It's a compact, breathtaking space.

  5. these pictures are so inspiring. I really want to learn more about our local artists and buy some for our home. Your're teaching me! Julie


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