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Murals Highlight Unsung Heroines, Civil Rights Hero, and Voting Rights during ELEVATE Art Festival

Murals Highlight Unsung Heroines, Civil Rights Hero, and Voting Rights during ELEVATE Art Festival

September 1, 2020 at 1:00:00 PM

Atlanta’s historic West End community is getting powerful new murals as part of this year’s ELEVATE Art Festival.

Progress photo of HEROINE: Unsung Women Involved in Civil and Social Justice created by Ashley Dopson

Atlanta’s historic West End community is getting powerful new murals as part of this year’s ELEVATE Art Festival. They will be completed in time for the festival’s virtual programming which will take place from October 4 through October 10, 2020.

“It’s been a tumultuous year with the pandemic, an economic recession, and racial tensions,” states Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the City of Atlanta - Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “Our goal with this year’s ELEVATE is to inspire community building, activism, and hope. We feel these murals are a great way to honor leaders who have uplifted their communities, and to encourage people to register and exercise their important right to vote.”

Special thanks to Georgia STAND-UP, Facebook, Selig Enterprises, Goodwill of North Georgia, and The Mall West End for making the mural projects possible.

Here is information about the murals and the muralists who created them.

HEROINE: Unsung Women Involved in Civil and Social Justice – created by Ashley Dopson

Location: Goodwill West End, 888 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW, Atlanta, GA 30319

There are nine women featured in this mural. They are:

Abiodun Henderson, Community Activist and founder of Gangstas to Growers

Hattie Guinn Watkins, Mother of Willie Watkins who helped him start Watkins Funeral Home

Pearl Cleage, Daughter of the founder of The Shrine of the Black Madonna, speech writer for Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, renowned playwright and author, and Spelman College alum

Lottie Watkins, First African American woman to become a fully licensed real estate agent in Atlanta, and Philanthropist to numerous civil rights and social justice causes

Irene Dobbs Jackson, French professor at Spelman College, Maynard Jackson’s mother, and

first African American to integrate the Atlanta Public Library System

Arianna Dane Sykes, Community Activist

Kiyomi Rollins, Entrepreneur, Social and Economic Rights Activist, Owner of The Good Hair Shop and The Kenekt

Ayanna Gabriel, Diversity and Community Director for the Arthur Blank Foundation, former Diversity Director for Teach for America, and former Westview Community President

Woody Neal Pearsons, Founder of Gate City School of Excellence. Educator and Social Advocate in the West End community for over 30 years

Ashley Dopson (Ashley D) is a conceptual fine artist and muralist who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Though raised in Atlanta, she credits her early childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana for her colorful palette and rich textures. Ashley D chooses to create in spaces that are in between: on bridges, in hallways, street corners, bus stops, community centers, schools, libraries and transit stations.  It is in these places that she weaves her wondrous tales from childhood memories, old wives’ tales, fairy tales, cultural and historical influences. Her work considers the stories of Black women in the south and ultimately, Ashley D hopes to provoke conversations about universal implications surrounding African American life.

Rev. James E. OrangeHEY LEADER! – created by Golden, Tom Davii, George F. Baker III and keif schleiferLocation: Goodwill West End, 888 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW, Atlanta, GA 30319

Rev. James Orange led a remarkably busy life. He took on organizing roles that ultimately improved people’s lives and brought about Justice and Equity through his work in the Civil Rights Movement and his community. He promoted unity through working together across our differences. Nothing demonstrated this more than his friendships with law enforcement and Alabama State Troopers, many of whom were the sons and grandsons of the officers who had beaten him as a young activist.

Those who worked with Rev. Orange attest to the fact that he achieved successful results in all his roles, yet never took credit for it.  Shunning the limelight, he endowed others with the title “Leader,” as he led from behind or within.  Those who knew him and loved him still hear the echo of his voice calling them to action with a, “Hey Leader!”

Golden, originally from Caracas, Venezuela, is an illustrator and muralist based in Miami, Florida who now paints around the world. Besides creating his own work, he also works hand in hand with the world’s best and most relevant street artists.

Thomas Higgins, originally from West Point, Georgia, Higgins calls Atlanta his resting place. Known in the art community as TomDavii, a young fine art/contemporary, markers illustrator on the search for something that has been long forgotten; longevity.

George F. Baker III, also known as GFB3, is a Nebraska-born, Detroit Grown, and Atlanta-Raised Creator. Using his instruments of design, illustration, and production, he employs a playful childlike spirit to engage the inner child we all have.

Keif Schleifer is a sculptor, designer, conceptual artist, and principal of KSDesign Collaborative (KSDC). keif travels the world working with numerous artists and communities to create public works of art and is known for executing unusual, difficult, experiential, integrative and/or large-scale projects.

VOTING IS VOICE – created by Troy Lamarr Chew II, for Facebook Artist Activations

Location: The Mall West End, 850 Oak Street SW, Atlanta, GA 30310.

Voting is a fundamental tool of civic expression in a democratic society. In the United States, 2020 marks a pivotal presidential election. Facebook has set a goal to register 4 million new voters. For their VOTING IS VOICE campaign, five artists from across the U.S. were chosen to create original artwork based on the concepts that voting is a powerful tool of personal and collective voice, a multiplicity of voices is important to a healthy society, and we have a collective responsibility to acknowledge and amplify a wide spectrum of voices. Their designs have been reproduced as temporary public murals, one of which will be part of this year’s ELEVATE festival.

Troy Lamarr Chew II uses painting to weave narratives of contemporary Black culture into indigenous African visuals. His references to West African textiles and Hip-Hop culture are an attempt to reconnect African Americans with their African heritage after its intentional erasure through slavery and Jim Crow.

Partners for this year’s festival are Kroger, MARTA, Hammonds House Museum, Selig Enterprises, Goodwill of North Georgia, The Mall West End, Consulate General of France in Atlanta, Georgia STAND-UP, The Atlanta Hawks, Fulton County Registration and Elections, SCAD, West End Tours, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, and Canopy Atlanta. Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta Partners include Rialto Center for the Arts at GSU, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, AREA, Reigning Victory Dance Academy, The Atlanta Ballet, and The High Museum of Art.

The City of Atlanta - Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs’ vision is to enhance the quality of life through arts and culture, and to contribute positively to the social and economic health of Atlanta and the region. Their mission is to promote rich, diverse, and educational cultural experiences; nurture artists and arts organizations; preserve and protect the city’s cultural heritage; and expand Atlanta’s international reputation. ELEVATE is a program of the City of Atlanta - Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

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