It's time to whip up a batch of virtual awards and dole them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of Atlanta. Yep, it's time for the Second Annual Curbed Awards. Today's topic: hottest controversies of 2012 ...
Big public art projects had a rough go of it in 2012. First there was the outrage in August, caused by a mural in the Chosewood community depicting a woman in progressive states of undress until, alas, her dress morphed into a wolf at her feet. The work of a professional street artist called Hyuro, the mural was near a church, mosque and day care center. Some viewed the buck-naked woman as pornographic. It was vandalized and eventually painted over. Last month, another project from the Living Walls initiative was obscured by paint-weilding neighbors, who decried the serpentine image (which incorporated alligator and shark heads) as "satanic." The mural took French artist Pierre Roti a month to complete, but some members of the Pittsburgh community said they were never consulted about the artwork, and argued it lacked proper permitting. GDOT eventually painted over the whole damn thing.
Atlanta put its foot down this year on street-naming conventions by refusing to rename Henry Ford II Avenue after a Nazi. Instead, city leaders named the thoroughfare after said Nazi's most famous corporation. Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of Porsche (and Volkswagen), was set to have what is currently Henry Ford II Avenue changed to be in his name for the new Porsche North American Headquarters. However, due to his ties to the Third Reich, the city decided that would be unwise. According to city code, Atlanta streets can be named after only people, not corporations, but in this case the Reed Administration supported legislation to rename "Henry Ford II Avenue" to "Porsche Avenue." Problem solved.
Rascally 2012 dropped this bushel of bad news that nobody wanted to hear: Georgia's high school graduation rate is even more dismal than previously thought. How about twice as bad? The new number, (a 67 percent graduation rate as opposed to the previous 81 percent), is the result of stricter federal standards for measuring such things, as well as what might be another number fudging affair. As if the Atlanta Public Schools scandal wasn't fun enough. Adding insult to injury, Emory University admitted it fiddled with students' SAT and ACT scores under the eyes of former admissions deans in an effort to boost rankings. The private "Kudzu League" institution usually maintains an impeccable image - remember the Dalai Lama's stay? - so the disappointment was all the more startling.