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Midtown MARTA’s placemaking project selects artist, launching soon

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Official prediction: “The use of lush natural imagery will transform the concrete into an urban oasis.”

A photo of Midtown’s MARTA station in Midtown Atlanta.
Drab concrete, your days are numbered.
Midtown Alliance

Next stop on Midtown’s public arts initiative train is the subdistrict’s eponymous transit station, where officials say forgettable concrete will soon spring to life alongside music performances and more.

At the Midtown MARTA Station, which counts some 200,000 bus and rail boardings monthly, a placemaking project on the south plaza will see new lighting fixtures, seating, landscaping, a stage for busking, and the planned highlight: a vivid mural.

With a budget of $20,000, Midtown Alliance partnered with MARTA in January to summon muralists who might be qualified to enliven the station’s Peachtree Place façade.

That process yielded more than 40 artist submissions from across North America, and three of those applicants were invited to create site-specific proposals.

Midtown images via Midtown Alliance

A selection committee comprised of art professionals, Midtown residents, and MARTA brass then crowned the winning artist: Atlanta’s own Andrew Catanese.

Catanese’s “lush natural imagery and narratives, borrowed from Aesop’s classic fables, that celebrate diversity and unity” won judges over, per the Midtown Alliance.

”Andrew’s tapestry inspired painting style will create a unique setting with intimate vignettes telling stories throughout the plaza,” committee member Anne Tracht said in a project update. “The use of lush natural imagery will transform the concrete into an urban oasis. We’re all excited to see how this work will add a calming, yet invigorating mood to the MARTA station.”

Catanese’s “City in a Forest” on Ralph McGill Boulevard, beneath the Beltline’s Eastside Trail.
Catanese’s “City in a Forest” on Ralph McGill Boulevard, beneath the Beltline’s Eastside Trail.
andrewcantanese.com

Work on the phased project (expect light construction) will begin this spring, officials said.

It echoes other aesthetic upgrades at MARTA’s Arts Center Station and the work Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District did with a dirty wall at MARTA’s Five Points Station last year.

The plaza upgrades could be stitched into a much broader “Art Walk” concept Midtown leaders are exploring.

That initiative would transform Cypress Street between Third Street and Midtown MARTA Station, and continue north up Peachtree Walk, through a new hotel being built on 14th Street, to Arts Center Station.