Artists aim to reduce blight in downtown Atlanta - CBS46 News

Artists aim to reduce blight in downtown Atlanta

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Broad Street, SW Atlanta Broad Street, SW Atlanta

Artists are busy creating murals that city leaders hope will inspire change in downtown Atlanta's most blighted areas through large-scale public artwork.

The city of Atlanta has commissioned the artists as part of Elevate Week 2013, an annual public art commissioning program hosted annually in downtown Atlanta by the city's Office of Cultural Affairs.

Local artist Sarah Emerson is working on a mural on a building on South Broad Street, a block from the Five Points MARTA station. She told CBS Atlanta News that she's thrilled to be working with the city on the project.

"I hope that the community has a sense of ownership of it," Emerson said. "It doesn't belong to me and it doesn't belong to what I think it means. It belongs to the people who live here."

Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs, said the project is a continuation of murals that were painted last year on blighted buildings in the same block. Since then, authorities have conducted drug busts in the area, which has significantly reduced the amount of criminal activity.

"There's now been a new gallery that's opened in one of the buildings that we embellished last year, so we think that it kind of changes the whole feeling about the space," said Love.

Elevate Week 2013 will take place from Friday to Oct. 26. It will feature large-scale public artwork and will offer performance, educational opportunities and cultural experiences free to the public with the mission of catalyzing positive urban growth.

The theme of Elevate Week 2013 is Transit: Time, People and Places. The installations, murals and events will be centralized along North and South Broad Street and the Broad Street Plaza/Five Points Station. Participating artists include locally known muralists and international performance troupes that have never before performed in the United States.

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