ELEVATE
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2011 - Art Above Underground

AUGUST 26 – OCTOBER 29, 2011

2011 was the inaugural year for ELEVATE programming. For 66 days, almost 30 artists presented 19 temporary installations and 26 live performances in the heart of downtown Atlanta, breathing new life into vacant storefronts and activating nearby public places. Elevate: Art Above Underground attempted to transform and connect underused sites in Underground Atlanta into an open-air, living art gallery that attracted more than 10,000 visitors and set the stage for future art initiatives downtown.

The entertainment and retail complex known as Underground Atlanta, with its rich history that predates the Civil War and its prime central location, continues to be an area in transition. Its wide pedestrian plazas, surrounded by Georgia State University, the hub of MARTA’s rapid transit system and all major government complexes, make the area active with people day and night. Yet many have rarely visited a formal art gallery setting. Our goal was to present art that was accessible and inviting for downtown’s many populations, as well as Atlanta’s art community. The idea was to continue the conversation about contemporary, often experimental approaches to art in a public setting.

Art was placed in full-length storefront windows, painted on walls many stories high, installed along sidewalks and in unexpected places throughout the Underground Atlanta complex and spaces nearby. Due to high vacancy rates, availability of empty space was plentiful. However, working closely with building owners to identify and reserve easily accessible sites became an ongoing exercise in flexibility due to an ever-changing real estate market.