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Sixteen artists from various backgrounds, styles, and cultures have converged in Atlanta this week for the fourth-annual OuterSpace Project, a public art series that aims to “explore the creative unknown” via public mural paintings, creative meet-ups, and the Big Bang Block Party grand finale, which takes place at Terminal West this Saturday.
If you've spent any time in Atlanta, you've probably seen a bright turquoise, often square creature with an ever-shifting amount of eyes and a massive set of pearly white teeth staring at you from murals and billboards across town. The character, known as Larry Loudmouf, is the brainchild of street artist Greg Mike, a Connecticut native who has been living in Atlanta for the past 14 years.
In 2016 Monica Campana, the cofounder and executive director of Atlanta street art festival Living Walls, and Marian Liou, the founder of We Love BuHi, a social media love letter to Buford Highway, met while applying for fellowships at downtown’s Center for Civic Innovation. Soon after, they decided to partner and bring Living Walls to Buford Highway.
Hall belonged to a movement of reformers who believed that the values of the marketplace could resuscitate public education. She approached the job like a business executive: she courted philanthropists, set accountability measures, and created performance objectives that were more rigorous than those required by No Child Left Behind, which became law in 2002. When a school met its targets, all employees, including bus drivers and cafeteria staff, received up to two thousand dollars. She linked teacher evaluations to test scores and warned principals that they’d be fired if they didn’t meet targets within three years. Eventually, ninety per cent were replaced. She repeated the mantra “No exceptions and no excuses.”
Encountering vibrant murals throughout intown neighborhoods has been a happy surprise in recent years. But to really understand the magnitude of the Living Walls project that pairs local and international artists with brick and concrete canvases, set out on a quest to find as many as you can.
If you’ve ever doubted that demand for the Atlanta BeltLine exists, it’ll be dispelled the moment you step onto its Eastside Trail—which opened in fall 2012, and runs 2.25 miles from the Old Fourth Ward to Piedmont Park—and jostle for space with joggers, dog-walkers, and kids wobbling on two-wheelers.