Sunday, July 28, 2013

In Case the Falcons Tear Down Friendship Baptist

It's been in the news so I went see Atlanta's Friendship Baptist Church. If the powers chose the "south" site for the new Falcons Station, Friendship is a goner. But maybe they'll chose the "north" site. I took pictures of the cornerstones, just in case.

It's beautiful. The institution itself has been REAL important for a long time though the buildings aren't particularly old.

The 2002 "Listed in National Register of Historic Places" plaque doesn't necessarily mean it's safe.

IMG_2698 2013-07-26-Friendship-Baptist-Church-Atlanta sign
It's not in perfect condition, but it is in immaculate condition.

 IMG_2693 2013-07-26-Friendship-Baptist-Church-Atlanta
The gulch swallows it up. It's in such an open area, it doesn't have much visual impact until you get close.

View Larger Map
The church is picturesque but the setting isn't. Friendship is a buffer between the Georgia Dome, the railroad gulch, Castleberry Hill, and the Atlanta University Center.

IMG_2694 2013-07-26-Friendship-Baptist-Church-Atlanta
Go see.

The 2002 bronze plaque plaque (2nd picture in this post) says 1866; this stone says 1862.

This is the 1968 cornerstone. This one says "1862" too.

The pastor's cornerstone says 1862.

This deserves more study but I was having a look around. Northside at Martin Luthor King is an "amen corner" with four churches.

IMG_2687 2013-07-26-Mount-Vernon-Baptist-Church-Atlanta-MLK
Mount Vernon Baptist Church would be a goner if they pick the south site but they aren't talking with the press so we don't hear much about it.

Central United Methodist Chruch is on the west side of Northside Drive. I presume it's not at risk from the stadium.

IMG_2692 2013-07-26-West-Mitchell-CME-Church-Atlanta
The West Mitchell CME Church is also safe. Pardon me for taking a picture of the back side. You can't always tell with moderns.

Go see.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Low Museum's Very First Show - Gallery Opening on Monday!

Pastiche Lumumba's projected survey based on "Girl with a Pearl" hashtags was live and interactive.

The High Museum closes on Mondays. The Low Museum opens. You can't get a haircut or visit a gallery on Monday. But there I was last night for the very first show at The Low Museum of Contemporary Culture in the Old Fourth Ward.

It's brand new, an idea rather than a place, run by focused students rather than veteran mavens. (The Low Museum is on Facebook and on Twitter @TheLowMuseum.)

It was a gallery hop with only one hop. It takes a little courage to visit a gallery for the first time. Would I see anyone I knew?

The show - #MoreOfTheSame - featured hashtags: "...we are intrinsically aware of the fact that anything we do has been done before."

Clovice Holt, Chris Holloway, Pastiche Lumumba, Steffen Sornpao, Jordan Stubbs, Beau Torres.

This is the place, a gallery in a student's apartment on this odd row of houses on John Wesley Dobbs just off Boulevard. I was happy to see inside after all these years of drive-bys.

The living area became a gallery.

By Steffen Sornpao.

IMG_2580-2013-07-22-opening-Low-Museum-MoreOfTheSame-Double-Rothko-by-Chris Holloway
"Double Rothko" by Chris Holloway was huge and delightful.

You young folks will "get" the hashtag stuff. I'll have to study.

I think "Iconversation" by Clovice Holt is a work in progress. It's been getting attention around town.

IMG_2578-2013-07-22-opening-Low-Museum-MoreOfTheSame-Last Supper-by-Jordan-Stubbs-with-Esme-Jarrell
Jordan Stubbs is the Low Gallery guy. This is his "Last Supper," one in a set of 9 works. The phone in a frame is part of the work. Esme Jarrell is in the "Last Supper" and the only person I knew. Thanks for saying hello Esme.

These outward looking gender-confused portraits at eye-level by Clovice Holt were in charge of the glamor.

These witty artist-at-work self-portraits by Beau Torres rewarded a long look.

The opening and the gallery worked. Folks kept arriving, doing the gallery-browse and gallery-chat.

It was breezy on the porch and we needed it.

 Time to go. I switched to architecture tourist mode. The building is at a high point on the Boulevard corridor, on a wide street with a view of downtown. It feels open and airy.

I wondered about this side-facing ghost portico next door.

It was nice to get a close look. I watched it being built in 2004. It never really clicked with me though I liked the geometry, the innie/outie curves, and the scored bands. And who can resist a red awning? Last night I decided that the rustic California-style stucco finish muddied the crisp lines.Was the designer on vacation when they did the stucco?

Thanks for an interesting Monday.

The Low Museum is on Facebook and on Twitter @TheLowMuseum.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Wake for a Church in Blandtown

But see, folks used to live in Blandtown and they built some pretty churches.

I'd like to pay my respects to the folks who met here, got married here, got christened and baptized here, who got eulogized here, who ate many fine covered-dish dinners here.

The Temple of God, 1353 Boyd Avenue as it stood on October 30, 2011.

Blandtown is now the West Midtown Design District. It's home to the Goat Farm Arts Center, Forsyth Fabrics, Lewis and Sharon Textiles, Myott Studio, and all those cool stores on Huff Road and Ellsworth Industrial. It's also home to a remarkable lake-on-a-hilltop, Reservoir Number 1 on Howell Mill.

But it's no longer home to this church.

This was its last day. Picture courtesy of Myott Studio.

View Larger Map
When you see a lake on a hilltop, you know it ain't natural.

Blandtown is in blue on the NPU D Map. They don't even call it Blandtown anymore.

"Blandtown was named for Felix Bland. Born a slave, he was willed land by his former owner... It was one of the first black settlements around Atlanta after the Civil War. As a community it declined from the 1950s through 1990s" Wikipedia

Now Blandtown is a recovering warehouse light industrial re-purposed to design district. It's practical but nowhere pretty.

P1160878-2013-02-27--Temple-of-God-church-1353-Boyd-Ave-Blandtown-Atlanta-demolished-dyptic-before-after church
So on one of my take-the-long-way-home drives I turned down Boyd Avenue and found this immaculate little church. It could have been painted that very morning for all I could tell.

It classed up the whole street, the whole neighborhood.

I presume this was a walk-to church in its day, surrounded by homes. I'd bet nobody from that era lives in Blandtown today. There are a few new condos and apartments, not gentrification, not exactly.

They saved the cornerstones: Little Bethel, Greater Bethel, J. A. Hadley, Smooth Ashlar, Prince Hall, J.W. Dobbs.

I took pictures of the windows as best I could. North and south sides had matching symbols.

I wanted to see inside but there was no one to let me in.

When I came back on February 27, 2013, it was gone...buffed. I couldn't find a demolition permit. Georgia Power bought it from the Temple of God Inc.on 03-28-2012 for $315,000, about 1/5 acre.

Myott Studio is across the street so I knocked on the door to see if they knew anything. Myott was there, said they took some pictures and they'd send them to me. Here they are.

No fun looking at them. Picture courtesy of Myott Studio.

This is the only way I could see the inside. Picture courtesy of Myott Studio.

Probably a couple of days work. Picture courtesy of Myott Studio.

For the Atlanta insiders: I'm facing due east. The straight-line hill with the streetlights is the dam for Reservoir Number 1.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Finding Spivey Hall - Its Pretty Side Faces the Lake

"Nobody" went to Morrow, Georgia until they built Spivey Hall.

It's a bold claim: "one of the finest the nation..." and there is so much that fascinates about this small auditorium in Morrow, Georgia, south of the cultural centers of metro Atlanta.

Spivey Hall is a 392 seat concert hall completed in 1991 at Clayton State University. On June 29 I went to a free 11am concert culminating a choral workshop, about 60 voices accompanied by piano and organ. Brief expert commentary: They rocked!. Spivey Hall rocked.

I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside the concert hall. You can find some here. So I'll show you a bit of the outside so you won't be surprised when you visit.

View Larger Map
Clayton State University is a low slung campus in a park overlooking lakes and ponds. Spivey Hall's curvy side faces Swan Lake. The curve houses the lobby and grand stair. The stage is on the street-side. The music school connects on the south.

This is Spivey Hall from the street. It does not express itself on the outside.

It's rather a shock, I didn't expect a brick box. But this is above average for the backside of a theater though most backsides face the back.

IMG_1611-2013-06-29--Spivey-Hall-view-of street-facade-brick-Clayton-State-University
You really need the sign.

You enter to the back-left, there's a porte-cochère next to the comfortable entry.

The entry is on the second floor. The lake side is a glass wall, though it's hard to see the lake though the trees.

The entry is a balcony overlooking the grand lobby, the stair, and the lake.

They set up the lobby for an after concert buffet.

From the stair you pick up all the design themes, lake to the left, lyre themed balustrade, black marble floors (but not in the auditorium), faux-painted colossal pink columns, crystal sconces, blue rectangles on the walls.

The lobby feels bigger than it is.

It's quite comfortable, it's open with many cozy comers and niches. The outgoing and the wallflowers can feel good in here.

This is the view as you exit the auditorium seeing through the lobby to the lake.

I walked out to see the lake side. But it's so grown up you really can't see the pretty side very well.

Now that you can find your way I suggest you visit next Saturday for a Sacred Harp sing: Community Singing and Potluck Luncheon: Saturday, July 20, 10AM - 4PM. It's free.

Blog Archive