New Neighbor: Rail Arts District

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Alongside the CSX rail line that winds from Avondale Estates to Decatur, a consortium of studios and galleries have banded together in the last few years to form the Rail Arts District. It all began in 2004, when Erik Haagensen and Luba Sharapan moved their MudFire Clayworks pottery studio from Brookhaven to Decatur; the latter’s art community had a good reputation, says Haagensen, and affordable, kiln-friendly space. A metal artist soon opened nearby, then a glass studio, and then one landlord converted an industrial building into Little Tree Studios and actively courted arts-minded tenants. Soon, dozens of creative types, such as the woodworking Studio 2850 and Alcove Gallery, were in place.

Members of the collective hold shows and gallery openings, and together they host the RAD Studio Cruise in February and the annual Art-B-Que (June 11 to 13, art-b-que.org), an art show with bands and barbecue. RAD’s new nonprofit, the Avondale Estates Cultural Affairs Inc., will allow sponsors to write off contributions and the group to compete for grants. To keep abreast of RAD events, visit railartsdistrict.com.

Photograph by Erik Haagensen

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