ABI Apology to the Community on Westside Trail Art Exhibit

We have seen the photos that were installed on the Westside Trail and we are gravely concerned that those images were a part of this year’s Art on the Atlanta BeltLine exhibit displayed in the community. Art on the Atlanta BeltLine was created to make art accessible to everyone by bringing the exhibit to public spaces and in doing so, be respectful of the community. The photos that were displayed did not reflect our commitment to do that. The community is understandably and justifiably upset and for that we humbly apologize. We make no excuses and are in the process of investigating the process of how this occurred in order to take the most appropriate action to ensure this does not happen again. This includes seeking new ways to involve communities in the art selection process so that it is inclusive and respectful of their rich and vibrant history.

On September 14th at our 3rd Quarterly Briefing we will provide an update to the community on the Art of the Atlanta BeltLine exhibit and we look forward to hearing your concerns and getting your feedback on ways we can improve the process. That meeting will take place from 6-8 pm at Booker T. Washington High School, 45 Whitehouse Dr. SW, Atlanta, GA 30314.

Atlanta Celebrates Photography has offered a statement on their website: ACP Statement about “The Georgia FENCE” at Art on the BeltLine

12 thoughts on this article. Join the discussion below

    1. It is our understanding that the exhibit has been taken down by a citizen in the community and we are in the process of confirming it’s complete removal.

  1. As a native Atlanta, teacher and photographer I found the selection of this artwork to be insensitive and desturbing. It reinforced steretype that have no place in what is suppose to be the revitalize of Atlanta as a whole. I saw it yesterday morning and couldn’t stop feeling disgusted that this was proved by a panel of individuals who should understand the community in which the artwork would be placed. I implore you to include art on the beltline that considers how the images will be interpreted by the viewers. Surely there had to be other artists who sublotted artwork that would be inspirational to the community rather than reinforcin negative stereotypes.

  2. The people who made the decision on behalf of ABI should be dismissed in good faith to prevent future mishaps and support of the beltline communities.

  3. I highly recommend that the Atlanta BeltLine demonstrate inclusion and respect as it gathers concerns and feedback about this process by actually hosting the third-quarter briefing in our community. Changing the meeting from All Saints’ Church to a location near Washington Park and Ashview Heights would better support those who have something to say. We can do so without concern for transportation to your current venue. Possible community venues include Families First on Joseph Lowery and Booker T. Washington High School.

  4. The people who disgraced the black community and furthered negative racial stereotypes are the ones in the orange jumpsuit not the ones who are helping them to find their way back to decency and sharing their redemptive journey with the public. Also, the removal of the art was illegal and once again illustrates how poor life choices and blatant disregard and disrespect for the law are the primary reasons why people end up in the prison system.

  5. The person or persons who made the decision should be relieved all of future decision making! The Beltline should not be a beacon of racism in Atlanta. Yet, at every crook and turn, you all seem to find a way…

  6. ATL Beltline, where is confirmation being sent that this has been taken down? I agree the persons who approved this should be removed from the panel. What protocols and approval processes have you established to ensure something of this nature NEVER occurs? Among the protocol guidelines there should be transparent, continuous meaningful community involvement in making decisions regarding the beltline when it impacts the community <—–which would be always. I am extremely appalled at these acts and you all should be ashamed at allowing this to happen. This will not be an easy fix to sweep under the rug. I'm disgusting, this is deplorable.

  7. I have been a resident of Atlanta for more than 50 years. I was very disturbed by the artwork displayed along the beltline. This shows that those who are selected to be in positions of authority still feel that all blacks are criminals. Why would you post a picture of a Blackman in a prison scene. Would you have approved for this type of artwork of white prisoners to be placed along the beltline in white areas. I’m sure this type scene would not have occurred. Quite racists and intentional. First impressions are lasting so the damage has been done. So disappointed at the City of Atlanta for not stepping up to make sure these things don’t occur. I’m sure this had to be approved by someone.

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