The Evolving Role of Public Art on the Atlanta BeltLine

At nine years old, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine has grown up a lot since its days as an under-the-radar exhibition meant to entice people into a then-unpaved Atlanta BeltLine corridor. Part of growing up has meant growing pains for the program, as it has, at times, for the Atlanta BeltLine as a whole. With new leadership for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and a new program manager spearheading the art exhibition, we’ve taken the opportunity to refocus on the most important piece of any Atlanta BeltLine project or program – the people.

Initial art listening sessions in fall of 2017.
Initial art listening sessions in fall of 2017.

In fall and winter of 2017, we held a series of listening sessions in response to community feedback for Art on the Atlanta BeltLine. These sessions helped to inform the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine policy document, which was introduced to the public in a meeting on January 25, 2018. The document is the first-ever comprehensive cultural plan for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and is intended to serve as a roadmap to a more inclusive, equitable, and resilient cultural ecosystem. Its strategies support arts and culture around the corridor and delineate roles for Atlanta BeltLine stakeholders at all levels. Changes to Art on the Atlanta BeltLine‘s program structure can be found in the draft document linked above and are derived from a fundamental shift in program principles to include equity, access, inclusion, interconnection, and growth & leadership.

Citywide Conversation participation on January 25, 2018.
Citywide Conversation participation on January 25, 2018.

The Citywide Conversation at which this document was presented served as its introduction to the public, as well as the planning kick-off for the Art & Culture Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP). The SIP moves beyond the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine exhibition to support strong, livable communities and increased creative activities along the Atlanta BeltLine. The purpose of the plan is to utilize the unique transformative potential of the Atlanta BeltLine to improve neighborhood connectivity and access to cultural amenities. It will also detail opportunities for visual and performing arts, historic considerations/exhibits, as well as actionable funding strategies.

The initial feedback from the Citywide Conversation participants.
The initial feedback from the Citywide Conversation participants.

Planning and design experts CivicMoxie were introduced at this meeting as our consultants in helping to create the SIP. The presentation (which you can find in its entirety here) goes into depth about the purpose and usefulness of an Art & Culture SIP, but the “why” of the plan can be summarized as:

  1. Support and enrich arts, culture, and creative endeavors
  2. Clarify the relevance of arts, culture, and creativity for your community
  3. Support economic and cultural development
  4. Reflect local cultural practices and uniqueness
  5. Encourage collaborations + conversations
  6. Access funding/ grants and use resources wisely

At about 30 minutes in, the meeting broke out into small working groups. Five more study groups will be held to get the public involved in the formation of this SIP. A final Citywide Conversation will wrap up the findings of these meetings and present next steps. The dates and locations for these meetings are in the graphic below.

Click the image to enlarge.

To participate in creating the Atlanta BeltLine’s Art & Culture Strategic Implementation Plan, join us at any one of the Study Group meetings. For more information about Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, visit

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