In collaboration with the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (ACAC) and the Athens Downtown Development Authority (ADDA), the Athens Area Arts Council (AAAC) is reviving Art Decko, a public art project that promotes creativity in unexpected places. Launched over a decade ago, the first installment of Art Decko featured panels designed by art classes at various local elementary, middle and high schools. The material lifespan of the original panels has ended, creating an opportunity to bring new and exciting pieces by professional artists into the College Avenue Parking Deck in downtown Athens.

Design proposals by nine Georgia painters have been selected from among 100 received submissions. The artists will paint large 4’x8’ panels that will be permanently installed on each level of the deck’s main stairwell, a highly-visible area capable of introducing many downtown visitors to a few of the talented artists who call Athens home.

Congratulations to the following artists!

Ruth Allen

Ashley Anderson

Hannah Betzel

Jared Brown

Dorian Edwards

Will Eskridge

Jeremy Kiran Fernandes

Jeanne Whatley (pictured)

Jacob Wenzka

Multiple designs demonstrate strong consideration of Art Decko’s unique location. Fernandes’ landscape, sketched from the perspective of the parking deck, will overlook downtown Athens as fantastical creatures hover above. Inspired by flight and a bird’s eye view, Whatley’s painting will depict how a crowd of individuals can beautifully blend into an abstracted yet cohesive whole. An homage to the local music scene and legendary band Neutral Milk Hotel, Anderson’s surreal wonderland will be full of imagery that references songs from the critically acclaimed album “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.”

Each artist will be granted $500 for their completed artwork. Additionally, the ADDA is gifting Open Studio Memberships at the Lyndon House Arts Center, an offer that will give each artist a large space to work independently on their panel, as well as access to the facility’s various studios: printmaking, painting, fiber, clay, jewelry, sculpture and photography. The panels are expected to be installed in May.

The Art Decko selection committee included Liz Garrison, Desiree Sharpe and Jessica Smith of the AAAC; Marc Beechuk and Tatiana Veneruso of the ACAC; Linda Ford of the ADDA; and Didi Dunphy of the LHAC. Additional sponsorship was received from local contractor and interior design studio Make Mine Home, Inc. We are thrilled for our organizations to unite together in promoting the presence of public art in Athens.

For further information about Art Decko, visit athensarts.org or email artdeckoathens@gmail.com.

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