For Art’s Sake

When was the last time your family spent some time wandering around downtown Atlanta? If it’s been a while, then the new Public Art Audio Tour is one enticing reason to venture into the heart of the city. The free walking tour features art placed in 22 locations throughout the downtown area. Revitalization projects are ongoing downtown; a goal is a more family-friendly experience, and the new “artwalk” is just one step in that direction.
The self-guided tour begins at Andrew Young Plaza and winds through Woodruff Park. Each piece of art along the way bears a plaque with a number that corresponds to an audio clip. The tour’s phone number allows visitors to listen at each stop via their cellphone. Pieces on the tour include the expressionist sculpture Threshold by Spanish artist Robert Llimos (No. 20) and the “chicken wire” columns in Margaret Mitchell Square by artist Kit-Yin Snyder (No. 11). Other stops include Folk Art Park and the blue steel sculpture The River Sings. The brief audio pieces provide information on the artist and the history behind each artwork.
Stops 1-20 on the tour are all within 15 blocks; plan on two hours if you’re going to be ambitious and visit them all. Stops 21 and 22 are located just beyond downtown in nearby Freedom Park; best to drive there rather than walk. While the tour might better hold the attention of older kids, younger kids will appreciate the chance to run wild at the new play structure in Woodruff Park.
The art walk was in planning stages for about a year, says Courtney Hammond of the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs. More art pieces will be incorporated, as well as educational tours for school groups.
“So far, we can see that around 300 to 400 people per month are listening to the tour,” Hammond says. “We look for people to explore the city. This tour gives them historical conceptions to the monuments that surround them.”
To access the audio components of the tour, call 404-260-5532. Patrons are encouraged to follow the prompts to listen to interviews and other information regarding the artworks. For a more in-depth look at stops on the tour and a map, visit ocaatlanta.com/public-art-audio-tour.
– Kate Wallace