Homebuilder John Wieland created a contemporary art museum as a gift to Atlanta—and it’s free

The Warehouse, now open on the Westside, is open on the second Saturday of each month and free with advance registration

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Homebuilder John Wieland created a contemporary art museum as a gift to Atlanta—and it’s free
John Wieland is best known as founder and former chairman of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, but as his homebuilding business grew over the years, so did his art collection. What began as a hobby to fill the office walls soon became a bigger passion. Wieland is still involved in the art-collecting, but over the years has recruited experts such as the late David Heath, Fay Gold, and Annette Cole-Skelton to help him acquire works. His son Jack Wieland is the curator for the Warehouse.

Photograph courtesy of the Wilbert Group

The 20,000 homes John Wieland has built in neighborhoods all over Atlanta will always be his legacy to the city, but now he has something more personal for us all. Wieland’s private collection of art is now on display at his art museum, the Warehouse, which opened to the public on April 13. The facility, located at 1643 Chattahoochee Avenue Northwest, will continue with monthly open houses—free with an advance reservation—on the second Saturday of every month from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. As a relevant theme to the museum, all 400 pieces of art relate to the concept of house and home.

Wieland grew up interested in art, partially inspired by his hometown Cleveland’s impressive art museum. Around the 1980s, when he and his late wife Sue were living in Atlanta and started collecting art, Wieland said to himself, “Why am I struggling with what to collect? I build homes.” The idea of home as a refuge, an escape, and a reflection of our society is a big motif, so his collection is also ambitious, with paintings, sculpture, videos, fiber art, and ceramics that reflect the cozy side of home life, but also broader social issues. Everyone should have a home, Wieland believes, a reason he is heavily involved with Habitat for Humanity.

Homebuilder John Wieland created a contemporary art museum as a gift to Atlanta—and it’s free
Howard Finster’s “Bible House” is on display at the Warehouse. Finster was a north Georgia minister who said that God called on him to spread the gospel through art. In his trademark mixed-media style, he used broken mirrors, metal letters, and scrap wood to assemble this small home. “Howard never saw a piece of junk he didn’t like,” says Wieland.

Photograph by Mike Jensen/The Warehouse

The 39,000-square-foot facility houses works of art from all over the world, including pieces by such notable artists as Roy Lichtenstein, Radcliffe Bailey, and Howard Finster. Rooms in the museum are divided by themes that relate to home, such as makeshift houses or subdivisions. Large-scale installations are striking, and 3-D pieces intriguing to walk around, but some of the compilations of multiple images are equally thought-provoking. A series of New York Times-commissioned photos by Gregory Crewdson, for instance, have a cinematic approach: he invited well-known actors such as Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and William H. Macy to pose at the same modest ranch house, but with each photo portraying a dramatic tale.

Wieland bought the property in Atlanta’s Westside in 2010, converting a former furniture store into a storage facility. Its renovations in 2023 made it a full-fledged museum, with offices, a video theater, and lounge areas. Philip Verre, formerly chief operating officer for the High Museum of Art, is the director at the Warehouse, with John Wieland’s son Jack serving as curator.

Homebuilder John Wieland created a contemporary art museum as a gift to Atlanta—and it’s free
The exterior of The Warehouse museum is unassuming, but inside is 39,000 square feet of art treasures.

Photograph by Mike Jensen/The Warehouse

Homebuilder John Wieland created a contemporary art museum as a gift to Atlanta—and it’s free
Atlanta artist Radcliffe Bailey’s Seven Steps East is part of the museum’s collection.

Photograph by Mike Jensen

Homebuilder John Wieland created a contemporary art museum as a gift to Atlanta—and it’s free
Joel Meyerowitz©, Truro, 1976.

Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

As for John Wieland’s role in Atlanta neighborhoods, he might be most well-known for welcoming subdivisions, with brick family homes dotted around cul-de-sacs and neighborhood pools. In recent years, however, his firm JW Collection has focused on higher-density communities—such as One Museum Place, across from the High Museum—that are walkable places to live near city centers.

Is Wieland himself an artist? “No, my form of art is architecture,” he says. “But we aspire to be part of the Atlanta arts ecosystem with this museum.”

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